All is fair in love and marriage as couples wed on Collier fair midway

A taste of food at the Collier County Fair

Funnel cakes, donut burgers, chocolate bananas and ...

Collier County Fairgrounds

751 39th Ave. NE, Naples, FL

— With a ferris wheel as their backdrop, couples had good reasons to exchange wedding vows Saturday on the midway at the Collier County Fair.

For bride and groom Jennifer Jenkins and Brian McLaughlin, winning a radio station’s contest helped them solve a problem they faced while trying to plan their wedding.

“We kept talking about wedding dates and no one could agree,” she said. “We thought it would be perfect to get married at the fair with everything chosen for us ... it takes the pressure off.”

The young Naples couple was among those participating in the second year of Gator Country’s promotion _ Married on the Midway.

See photos of the newly wedded couple at the Gator Country radio station Web site

The bride and groom found out Monday they won the wedding ceremony and notified their family members about the upcoming nuptials with the hopes that they would be able to attend.

“We drove 22 hours from Maryland and we had to dig out from a blizzard to get here,” said Ellen Jenkins, the mother of the bride. “It was the worst drive we’ve ever had, but we weren’t going to miss it.”

These weren’t exactly the surroundings that Ellen Jenkins had thought she’d see her daughter marry in, but she wasn’t too shocked when she heard the news.

“It’s different, but Jenny is a fun-loving person and it doesn’t surprise us,” Ellen Jenkins said. “It’s her day and if it’s good with her, it’s good with us.”

Another of the three couples exchanging vows Saturday was Kimberly and Lowell Kickliter, of Port Charlotte, who entered the Married on the Midway contest with the hope of renewing their vows after several rough years.

Kimberly was diagnosed with breast cancer in 2004 and after beating that, she found out she had kidney cancer in 2008.

“I just wanted to thank him _ he’s kept me going when I didn’t think I could make it,” she said.

The Kickliters’ first wedding ceremony was a formal affair and the couple and their friends agreed that getting married at the fair is something more fitting with their personalities.

“She (Kimberly) is more down to earth and doesn’t like the fancy dressing up events,” said Patti Green, a family friend. “They like to do things simple and easy _ life’s too hectic as it is.”

For Kimberly Kickliter, renewing their vows was a chance to have another happy memory with her family before she had to share more bad news with them.

“I just found out that I have cancer again,” she said, sharing that she planned to tell others after the ceremony Saturday.

She’s waiting on test results to see if some family members are a match for a kidney transplant, but she is managing to keep an upbeat outlook on her life, including her experience at the fair.

“I’m going to enjoy life and keep doing things that make me happy,” she said. “And how many people can say they got married at the fair!”

__ Contact Catherine Howden at catherine.howden@gmail.com

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