A popular annual Southwest Florida fair has been cancelled after cost to hold it at a Lee County park spiked by $2,000. The Medieval Faire has been held in January at Lakes Regional Park in Fort Myers in years past, but Lee County has raised the fee from $9,000 to $11,000 for 2018. Riverside Kiwanis, the organizer of the event, said that they can no longer afford the fee.
"It's an institution, and they weren't going to be able to do it," said Tony Scamardella, a Kiwanis member who has volunteered at the fair for years.
He said proceeds from the event go towards scholarships for local students. He's concerned that it might difficult to get performers and vendors to return to Lee County in the future if the fair is cancelled for 2018.
"Once we lose them, it's going to be almost impossible to get them back," Scamardella said.
Timothy Engstrom, a spokesman for Lee County, told Fox 4 in an email that the cost of setting up, tearing down and repairing damages from the fair has gone up.
"The last two years, the organization was charged $9,000 with a $1,500 deposit," Engstrom wrote. "In 2015, the county kept the deposit due to damage in the park from the event."
Scamardella hopes that a sponsor might step in, and be the knight in shining armor that saves fair.
"We need the sponsorship to really help us out with this," he said.
The fair's chairman, Terry Short, told Fox 4 that Riverside Kiwanis had reached out to potential sponsors in the area, but had not heard back from any of them.