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‘Look how far drive it is:’ Fairgoers raise concerns with Jacksonville Fairgrounds relocation

JACKSONVILLE, Fla. — With delays in the Jacksonville Fair’s relocation to the Westside, longtime fairgoers are left wondering if they will have a fair in 2025. Action news Jax spoke with the CEO of Jacksonville Fairgrounds to learn about the new timeframe.

The Jacksonville Fair has been held downtown for nearly 70 years, but that is going to change in 2025.

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It is located near Jacksonville Equestrian Center.

CEO of Jacksonville Fairgrounds, Bill Olson, explained why the fair is relocating.

“Having more space. To be able to do bigger things that we currently can’t do. More livestock shows, and we’re building an entertainment amphitheater.”

Some fairgoers we spoke with told Action News Jax they aren’t happy with the fair’s relocation.

A local named Thomas Register said, “Just look how far drive it is.”

It takes about 30 minutes to get to the new location from downtown.

Register added, “I like it where it is at. It’s convenient, and it’s a great place.”

Another Local named Armandeo Carreras said, “It honestly an outrage if they are moving 30 minutes away.”

Meanwhile, Olson said the project is delayed while fair planners wait on city permits.

He also explained the fair may be canceled in 2025 for just the second time in its 70-year history. The first time was in 2020 due to COVID.

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“The last thing we want to do is skip a year,” Olson said. “We would rather skip a fair than host the fair and not be 100% ready.”

This new property is 82 acres. Officials will be using the Equestrian Center during events. That is an additional 58 acres giving a total of 140 acres.

Olson said this new location will have more parking.

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The one thing we want to do is to make it easy for people to come park their car, enjoy the fair, and easy for them to go back home.”

Fair officials hope to start construction in late June and complete the building by late 2025.

The fair association budgeted $18 million for the new building. The city has budgeted $27 million for project infrastructure.

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