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Fair returns to the Golden Isles
Carnival games, funnel cakes and a petting zoo are among the treats found at the Brunswick Exchange Club Fairgrounds off Altama Avenue this week.

The Coastal Georgia Regional Fair has returned to the Golden Isles, providing a good time for all ages through Saturday, said Brunswick Exchange Club President Randy Bellflower.

"It's our major Exchange Club fundraiser, and it all goes to children's charities here," he said, adding that the club's focus is fighting child abuse.

"Everything is so fun here. It's a tradition we've been doing for 61 years now."

Bringing families together is part of the tradition that keeps the Exchange Club active. It's also the motivation for adding new attractions, like Sam's Path Petting Zoo.

Jodie Gray, co-owner of the Petting Zoo out of Hartwell, said attending fairs has become a tradition she enjoys.

"It's fun to get to meet people because all sorts of people come to the fair to have fun," Gray said. "It really just brings the community together. The kids are brought by their parents, who remember going to the fair with their parents."

Bringing animals that many don't usually see up close, such as llamas, porcupines and spider monkeys, helps educate children about different creatures on the planet, Gray said.

Bellflower said the fair is reaching out beyond the boundaries of Glynn County. That's why the event, which used to be known as the Brunswick Exchange Club Agricultural Fair, is now called the Coastal Georgia Regional Fair.

"The reason we changed the name this year is that we want to grow. We want to invite outside groups in and bring more people in regionally," he said.

Increased attendance helps the entire community.

"We don't have exact numbers, but some years ago we had pulled in over a million dollars to put back into the community," Bellflower said.

If you go

Hours and prices for the Coastal Georgia Regional Fair:

* Children age 6 and younger: free

* Ride passes: $1.25 each. Rides require 2, 3 or 4 passes each.

* Thursday, 5 p.m. to 11 p.m.: $5 entry, $15 wristband

* Friday, 5 p.m. to midnight: $5 entry, $20 wristband

* Saturday, noon to midnight: $5 entry, $22 wristband

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