Everyone loves a fair -- and why not? Funnel cakes! Cotton candy! Ride operators with about as many teeth as a jack-o-lantern, rocking bitchin' mullets, and frayed tour T-shirts from their days lugging speakers as roadies for Winger! Games so impossibly rigged that Jesus Christ himself wouldn't be able to win a goldfish! It's all as American as Taco Bell and fake tits, and starting this Friday, it's in your backyard, as the South Florida Fair kicks off a 17-day run at the South Florida Fairgrounds (9067 Southern Blvd, West Palm Beach).
The event, which runs through January 30, is Florida's top-rated fair, and Palm Beach County's largest and oldest outdoor event. This year's theme is "South Florida Fair goes Hollywood." What agricultural displays and high dive performances have to do with Hollywood, we're not sure, but shut up and enjoy the world-class ice skaters, family shows, community competitions, Starz of the Future, and NASCAR autograph sessions. But that's only the beginning -- there are enough events and attractions to wear out a methamphetamine addict, or your average 8-year-old.
The entertainment lineup reads like a Jeff Foxworthy wet dream with more country acts than a DVD box set of Hee-Haw. Travis Tritt, Phil Vassar, Julie Roberts, Trace Adkins, Sawyer Brown, Mel Tillis, and the Country Gold Show will be headlining throughout the fair on the Sound Advice Amphitheatre stage. Also, don't pass on getting passed by the 40-foot long, four-foot high replica of a human colon, presented by the Cancer Research and Prevention Foundation. It's modeled after a real colon taken from colonoscopy film footage; visitors can actually slither through the colossal organ to see healthy colon tissue, colon disease, polyps, and various stages of colon cancer. It's the perfect pit stop after a couple of corn dogs and your fourth elephant ear. And of course there will be carnies as far as the eye can see, operating the fair's 200 games, attractions, and rides. Admission at the gate is $15 for adults and $8 for children. Call 561-793-0333, or visit www.southfloridafair.com. -- Paul A. Leone
An Upright Citizen's Brigade
of Post-Punk and Weird Electro
Sure, the thing to do in Fort Lauderdale is bitch that there's never anything cool to do. But upright citizen Seamus Griffin says it's "irresponsible to moan and groan" unless you've at least tried to remedy the situation with a noise-rock, avant-electro extravaganza! This Sunday, Griffin, with his friends Brendan Grubb and Dr. John, feed our brains something more nutritious than Zeta rock and crunk juice. Working together under the moniker 100% Artcore, they deliver a show called Sleepwalk.
One DJ on the bill is named I Regret to Inform You You Have Two Months to Live. That's Grubb, who'll spin "electronic noise." He'll also perform solo as the Wicked Dream Foundation using keyboards, a water jug, a propane tank, and a computer. Griffin? He'll spin "noise rock" under the alias yOKO9k. And Dr. John will mastermind the sound both with his band, the Marauders (a very odd collaboration of post-punk and prog rock), and solo -- as the Cruel Sea ("Casio-core") and later as DJ Cornbread (when he transforms the club into a '60s Moog lounge). Quit whining and join the experiment from 10 p.m. to 3 a.m. Four beans gets you in the door. Call 954-567-2955. -- Deirdra Funcheon
Mad Props to the Three Wise Men
Shaq leads the parade
Every year, Miami's Hispanic community celebrates Three Kings Day with a parade and festival. The event, which commemorates the Biblical story of the three kings who followed the star of Bethlehem, has become one of the most popular Hispanic events in America, with attendance exceeding 500,000 people.
This year, the event's 34th, Miami Heat center Shaquille O'Neal will serve as Parade Grand Marshal. Not since he was cast in the role as a rapping genie have Shaq's talents been used so spectacularly. Shaq, who also presided over Fort Lauderdale's Winterfest Boat Parade and served as honorary coin-tosser at the Orange Bowl championship game, could easily make a living as a professional parade grand marshal if this basketball thing ever falls through. The Three Kings Parade starts at noon Sunday and runs along SW Eighth Street, from Fourth to 22nd avenues in Miami. Following the parade, there will be a festival and live concert. It's all free. Call 305-442-7520. -- Jeff Megahan
Two Day-O's for King
Harry Belafonte, best known as a stage and film actor and Caribbean folksinger, is also no stranger to human rights activism. In 1963, Belafonte, Dr. Benjamin Spock, and Dr. Martin Luther King led a demonstration of more than 125,000 people to New York's United Nations building in support of peace and equal rights. This year, Belafonte remembers King by visiting the Lauderhill Boys and Girls Club on Saturday afternoon and speaking to diners at Diamante's Banquet Center (6501 W. Commercial Blvd., Fort Lauderdale) at 6:30 that evening. Tickets cost $50 and are available by calling 954-730-4218. Also in observance of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, a "Yesterday's Legacy, Today's Challenge" parade will begin at 9 a.m. Monday at NW Seventh Avenue and Fourth Street in Fort Lauderdale, then proceed north along Seventh to Sunrise Boulevard. Starting at noon, a festival featuring food, crafts, poetry readings, and live entertainment will be held at Holiday Park (1300 E. Sunrise Blvd., Fort Lauderdale). Call 954-660-7603. -- Riki Altman