For an update on the Civic Center and the fair, watch this Oct. 19, 2023,

media briefing, and read the update here.

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*Market Swine Registration is only open to Exhibitors that attended the Swine Tagging Event on Saturday, Oct. 22, 2023*

2024 Creative Living Rulebook - Registration Information Coming Soon 

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The Lee Board of County Commissioners is working with county staff to visualize a new, reimagined future for the Lee County Civic Center complex. The county has conducted and completed a facility-condition assessment study. The county is pleased to provide residents with the opportunity to explore an interactive map and share their thoughts using the new Civic Center survey. A summary of Board actions as well as information about the next steps for the complex will help keep you informed. The Board is committed to maintaining activities for 4-H and the Southwest Florida Fair. Check back frequently to keep up with evolving plans and further opportunities for public input for this important county site.

Study Summary

An assessment study of the Lee County Civic Center site located at 11831 Bayshore Road, North Fort Myers, FL was conducted by a team of specialized local architects and engineers licensed in Florida.

The study evaluated all 14 buildings of the approximate 100-acre property. The executive summary provides an overview of the completed comprehensive structural and architectural assessment and, along with input from the community, will help determine the best course of action for the facility to continue to host various activities.

Click to view executive summary
View executive summary

The Lee County Civic Center includes 163,255 square feet of floor space and was constructed to accommodate a variety of shows and events. The center has hosted concerts, agriculture events, fairs, trade shows, high school graduations and other events since its opening in 1978 and includes the county's fairgrounds. Lee County owns the Civic Center and the surrounding property. The property has been managed by the Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair Association since 1996.

Although improvements and repairs have been made during its lifetime, an assessment of the facility's condition was needed to determine the best course of action to be able to continue to host various activities and support both 4-H and South Florida & Lee County Fair. 

Interactive Site Map & Drone Footage

Click on building numbers to view more details.
Estimated costs may be adjusted to reflect inflation.

Share Your Thoughts

View the Civic Center Survey Results

Recent Board Actions

12/5/23 BoCC Workshop: Civic Center Complex

11/7/23 BoCC Meeting: Approve purchases of equipment and supplies for the Lee County Civic Center

10/17/23 BoCC Meeting 4-H, Fair and Civic center Discussion

The discussion Tuesday, Oct. 17, included a brief staff update. The motion approved included:

  • Authorize staff to continue to work with 4-H partners to prepare an agenda item for a regularly scheduled Board meeting that will identify the cost of the equipment that is needed to maintain the 4-H youth activities.
  • Authorize staff to negotiate with the third-party fair show vendor for Lee County to host the 2024 Annual Southwest Florida & Lee County Fair; prepare an agenda item for Board approval once terms and conditions have been determined.

8/15/2023 BoCC Meeting Liaison position no longer necessary for Civic Center

7/21/2023 News Release: Public meeting set to discuss the Lee County Civic Center complex

5/2/2023BoCC Meeting Civic Center Discussion

The discussion Tuesday, May 2, included a brief staff update.

4/18/2023 BoCC Meeting Civic Center Discussion

The motion approved Tuesday, April 18, 2023, included:

  • Authorize staff to coordinate terms and conditions with the Fair Board for the 2024 Annual Lee County Fair.
  • Authorize staff to prepare a transition plan for assuming day-to-day operations of the Civic Center property at the end of the existing agreement that preserves the Board's ongoing commitment to the 4-H program as well as maintaining planned events to the extent possible.
  • Authorize staff to present community engagement feedback regarding the long-term options for the Civic Center property at a Board of County Commissioners' workshop.

4/4/2023 BoCC Meeting Civic Center Discussion

The motion approved Tuesday, April 4, 2023, included:

  • Authorize staff to initiate process to make life and safety repairs to the Civic Center building as well as confirm County Administration authorization to make repairs to Tinsley Pavilion, Davidson House, three barns – horse, beef and swine barns – as well as the Grand Pavilion to maintain the ongoing 4-H youth programs.
    • Note: The Tinsley Pavilion and Davidson House repairs will be completed by April 14, 2023, and reopened for 4-H use.
  • Re-confirm Board commitment to maintaining 4-H activities and the 2024 Southwest Florida Lee County Fair at the site.
  • Commit to continuing discussion with agenda item at regularly scheduled meeting April 18, 2023.

3/21/2023 BoCC Meeting Civic Center Discussion

The motion approved Tuesday, March 21, 2023, included:

  • Community Engagement will use a landing page, resident survey and other communications tools.
  • All buildings on the Lee Civic Center Facility property are closed effective immediately with the exception of the Civic Center main building, which will remain open until the conclusion of the Ft. Myers Gun Show, April 1-2.
  • County staff will present options at the next regularly scheduled Board of County Commissioners' meeting on April 4 that include recommendations for the 14 structures at the site.
  • County staff will provide options related to the Fair Board agreement with the county, which will automatically sunset Sept. 29, 2023, per the agreement. 

2/7/2023 BoCC Meeting Commissioner Greenwell Appointed to be Liaison with staff for Civic Center

2/15/2022  BoCC Meeting Approving Contract for Assessment

2/15/2022  News Release: Lee Commissioners award contract for civic center assessment 

History of the Civic Center

The Civic Center site has a long and storied history in North Fort Myers. The Lee Board of County Commissioners voted to spend $420,875 to purchase what was then known as Kickapoo Ranch, encompassing 96.2 acres, from Clarence Duffala on May 15, 1975.

In November of 1978, the main building opened and has been home to concerts and events including Bob Hope, Ice Capades, Royal Lipizzaner Stallions, Harlem Globetrotters, Jimmy Buffet, U2, Bon Jovi, Aerosmith,  Styx, Beach Boys, The Pointer Sisters, Foreigner, Bryan Adams and more. The complex has been home to the Southwest Florida and Lee County Fair since 1979.