Deggeller Attractions have been thrilling riders at Clay County Fair since 1987

Fairgrounds already coming alive for April 1-11 run

By Don Coble
Posted 3/24/21

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The fairgrounds was springing to life Monday morning.

A group of 15 men already were placing the foundation for the roller coaster, Riptide, in the center of what will …

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Deggeller Attractions have been thrilling riders at Clay County Fair since 1987

Fairgrounds already coming alive for April 1-11 run

Posted

GREEN COVE SPRINGS – The fairgrounds was springing to life Monday morning.

A group of 15 men already were placing the foundation for the roller coaster, Riptide, in the center of what will be a busy midway when the Clay County Agriculture opens on April 1.

In the far corner of the property, a dozen trailers with rides were parked. Volunteers and workers were posting banners and signs on fences. Admission gates were decorated with vinyl coverings, and fair general manager Tasha Hyder was busy bouncing from one corner of the massive 85-acre property to make sure preparations stayed on schedule.

“There will be a fair this year,” she said boldly and definitely.

Monday included a visit from a North Carolina-based nonprofit that raises money for older stock-car driver in their retirement. The group will place a race car simulator in one of the Exhibition Halls. Patrons will be allowed to drive laps in race-like conditions without the threat of hitting the wall at 200 mph.

Deggeller Attractions was part of the first Clay County Agriculture Fair in 1987, and it’s provided amusement rides and a carnival atmosphere since.

There were just a handful of rides at the first fair. This year, there will be more than 40, including the new Atlantis fun house, according to Janice Deggeller.

“I was told on that first year, they drew out the plans on a napkin,” Deggeller said of the layout. “The fair has grown by leaps and bounds since.”

Deggeller recently finished a stop at the Bradford County Fair and currently is working at neighboring Putnam County. Since that fair isn’t has large as Clay County’s many of the premier rides were forwarded nearly two weeks in advance directly to Green Cove Springs.

“From now until we open, we will be setting things up,” Hyder said. “This is a very busy time for us.”

And for Deggeller, which has adjusted to COVID-10 protocols to better assure the safety of its patrons.

What’s different this year are new armbands which will allow riders to enjoy most of the rides without buying individual tickets. By using armbands, riders can avoid standing in line for tickets and avoid person-to-person contact.

“We’re very excited. There’s a lot of new protocols,” Deggeller said. “There’s going to be a lot of new fun stuff there, like our armbands with RFID chips. You can put the app on your phone or you can tap your armband against the monitor. We will have one of these monitors at every ride. We’re excited about that, especially with the future of apps.”

The cost of armbands ranges from $12 a day to $30.

With the tap of your phone or armbands, patrons can enjoy some of Deggeller’s most popular attractions like the Riptide, Century Ferris wheel, Cliffhanger, Enterprise, Fireball, Hydra, Vertigo, Typhoon, Starship, Spaceport, Zipper, Zero Gravity, Yoyo and Atlantis. Deggeller also will have plenty of family rides available, like the Bumper Boats, Haunted Mansion, Magic Haze, Merry-Go-round, Crazy Chopper, Scooter and Tilt-A-Whirl, as well as children’s rides like Bootcamp, Circus Train, Elephants, Farm Tractors, Happy Swing, Bananas, Nemo, Speedway, Teacups, Puppy Roll, Jump Around, Orient Express rollercoaster and the Rocking Tug.

“We have a brand-new fun house called Atlantis,” Deggeller said. “It was delivered last year, but we couldn’t use it. There will be other new rides we’ll be booking in.”

Hyder said there will be hand sanitizing stations positioned throughout the property.

Deggeller said if earlier fairs this year are a guide, the Clay County Agriculture Fair will have large, happy crowds.

“I think people are fatigued a little bit,” she said. “People are tired of sitting at home. The fair puts on a good product. They do a really good job. From what we’ve seen, there have been no spikes [of COVID-19] at other fairs. I think with the vaccines and everything happening and personal responsibility like washing your hands, it’s not that hard of a thing to do, it’s going to be fine.”

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