The Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show has been a part of Osceola County Heritage for nearly 74 years promoting Agriculture and the education of area youth, and this year they are expanding their entertainment and educational offerings for the entire family.
Throughout the years, the 501c3 Non-Profit organization has seen many changes, embracing the modern-day fair and working hard to advertise and develop their annual Osceola County Fair in an effort to continue to serve its youth exhibitors and farming and ranching communities as best possible. Since 2005 they have awarded more than $72,000 in educational scholarships, hosted an annual livestock auction grossing an average of $400,000, and each year distributes more than $50,000 in premiums, ribbons, and awards. With the support of extremely generous businesses and individual donors, KVLS & the Osceola County Fair has been able to both entertain the entire Central Florida Community, while preserving the traditions of many earlier generations.
KVLS returned to those roots and concentrated on educating even more individuals about the importance of Agriculture. General Manager, Miranda Muir stated, “Most people do not realize how profoundly their lives are impacted by farmers and ranchers and it was our mission to get back to the basics of our event, educating all ages and all walks of life about agriculture.” As such, the 2018 Osceola County Fair was themed #AGVOCATE. The hashtag helped celebrate the Fair, many new events and areas, and Osceola County’s roots while introducing the public to modern agriculture, the science and technology involved, and attracted a new market of individuals. The theme was designed to merge the trends of today with the celebration and education of the agricultural industry.
In an effort to educate, showcase and #Agvocate we unveiled our most ambitious project to date, the H.A.Y.L.O.F.T. (Helping All Youth Lean of Farming and Technology.) The 11,000 square feet, interactive, hands-on agriculture education exhibit featured various stations where our young guests were able to simulate milking a cow, grooming a sheep, driving a tractor, planting vegetables, roping a calf, gather eggs and race a thoroughbred. The H.A.Y.L.O.F.T. also included Tom Umiker’s All About Ag exhibit and our LEGO play area in addition to a great tractor display provided by Everglades Farm Equipment. Strolling act, Dan Dan the Farmer Man and his Cornball Clodhopper Rainmaker Machine was a great addition to our #AGVOCATE initiative and was a huge hit with our guests.
As always, our biggest #AGVOCATE initiative has always been our livestock programs; our barns and tents were at capacity this year, our 4-H and FFA exhibitors never seem to disappoint in or out of the showring. Their commitment, dedication and passion for livestock and agriculture is proof that our future is in good hands.
Making their Osceola County Fair debut was Team Rock Ninja Experience. This team of martial arts experts wowed with high-flying, jaw-dropping performances that showcase an extraordinary display of extreme breaking and theatrics. Imitation Sensations - Ann-Margaret, Ricky Nelson and Elvis kicked off our Salute to Seniors and Opening Day events. Returning for an encore performance this year was Thomas and Friends Meet & Greet and Sing a Long Adventure and The Conjurer. Fair favorites, Eudora Exotic Petting Farms, Rosaries Royal Racers and Nashville recording artists Kari & Billy also returned to entertain guests.
The Miss Osceola Pageant, in its fourth year, saw an increase in contestants. Morgan Boykin, our current Miss Osceola did a fantastic job representing the Osceola County Fair and helping us to #AGVOCATE this year. At press time we have not crowned our new Miss Osceola, however, we will announce the 2019 Miss Osceola, Saturday, February 17th via our Facebook page.
As always, the Strates Carnival once again stepped up to the plate and provided over 80 exciting rides and amusements for guests to enjoy. It is always a pleasure to work with a great team of individuals who not only are invested in your event but who are also a part of our community.
As the lights go off on the Ferris Wheel for the last time Sunday we all can honestly say the 74th Annual Kissimmee Valley Livestock Show & Osceola County Fair was a personal labor of love for the entire staff, board, membership and exhibitors. And after getting at least 9 hours of sleep, we will back on our feet ready to tackle 2019.