New location for Ag Dash 5K

The annual run/walk event to benefit the Southeastern Youth Fair is moving to Tuscawilla Park this year.

Some of the 2023 Ag Dash participants leave the starting line. [Photo courtesy Southeastern Youth Fair]

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Posted January 29, 2024 | By Susan Smiley-Height,

If you love supporting local youth, agriculture and running, then lace up your sneakers for this year’s Ag Dash 5K, with all proceeds to benefit the Southeastern Youth Fair.

The Feb. 17 event will step off from a new location this year, at Tuscawilla Park, and mounted cowboys and cowgirls will be there to greet you at the start/finish line.

“The Southeastern Youth Fair Ag Dash has been an incredible fundraiser, supporting the fair for the past five years. It’s a really fun way to support the fair as a family—you can walk, jog or run,” said SEYF Executive Director Sara LeFils.

“Runners get to experience part of Ocala’s history with part of the route running down Magnolia Avenue. It’s also a unique race experience for our seasoned runners because I don’t believe any other finish line has mounted cowboys cheering them on,” LeFils added.

The run will begin at 8 a.m. Medals will be awarded to the first 200 finishers. Awards be given for overall male and female and top male and female in age groups 10 and under, 11-19, 20-29, 30-39, 40-49, 50-59, 60-69 and 70 and over. The 2024 race medal spotlights the Dog Agility & Obedience competitions at the SEYF.

SEYF Ambassador Emma Duhs presents one of the 2023 Ag Dash top winners with a Publix gift card. [Photo courtesy Southeastern Youth Fair]

“Runners get to collect a different animal silhouette medal each year. We introduce them in the order that the animal shows were introduced into the Southeastern Youth Fair.  We started with a steer and this year’s medal is a dog,” LeFils noted.

Online registration is $30 through 9 a.m. Feb. 16. Those who pre-register can pick up their packet from 5 to 7 p.m. Feb. 16 at Seminole Feed at 15 NE Watula Ave. Ocala.

Race day registration will be $35. For those who can’t make the race in person, there is a virtual option and all you need to do is run or walk 3.1 miles on Feb. 17 in any location.

The SEYF is a not-for-profit fair for 4-H and FFA students in Marion County and is held each February. This year’s fair will run from Feb. 22-March 2. It remains the oldest all-youth fair in the country that operates without a midway. The fair is held at the Southeastern Livestock Pavilion at 2232 NE Jacksonville Road, Ocala. The foundation of the SEYF was the Steer Show, which began in 1941. The event as it is known today started in 1978.

The guiding principles of the SEYF are on “fostering a unique experience for a child to act as a producer, to market their animal from beginning to end protecting that project as best we can; for the buyer’s sake with a high-quality product, for the child’s sake in protecting their initial investment, and with a goal for the highest possible return for the child, creating educational experiences for Marion County youth.”

The market lamb, steer and swine projects are educational and financial for the participants. They teach life skills such as responsibility, daily management, record keeping and marketing of the animal and themselves. Individuals, businesses, community clubs or groups can bid at the auctions.

“We are extremely excited about the 2024 Southeastern Youth Fair. We will continue live streaming our livestock shows and offer the option to bid online for our sales. We have over 850 youth exhibitors entered and almost 3,000 entries this year,” LeFils shared.

“As always, admission is free and we look forward to seeing our community of supporters come out to cheer on our youth in agriculture,” LeFils added. “I can promise you that seeing these kids and all of their hard work will make your day and give you encouragement for our future.”

To register for the Ag Dash 5K, go to

To learn more about the Southeastern Youth Fair, go to

2023 Ag Dash winners and cowboys. [Photo courtesy Southeastern Youth Fair]

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