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Michigan State Fair

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

The Michigan State Fair is an annual event originally held from 1849 to 2009 in Detroit, the state's largest city. In 2009 the governor declined to fund it because of other priorities.

Because agriculture still has a major place in the Michigan economy, in 2011 supporters organized the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair, a 501 C (3) organization, in order to continue the event. Since 2013 it has been organized by the private Michigan State Fair LLC and held in the Suburban Collection Showplace in the Metro Detroit suburb of Novi.


Card promoting the 1914 Michigan State Fair
Card promoting the 1914 Michigan State Fair

The first official Michigan State Fair was held in 1849 in Detroit, Michigan. The first state fair had been held on October 1, 1839 in Ann Arbor, Michigan. It was moved to Detroit in 1849.[1] The state had claimed that this was the oldest state fair in the United States,[2] but the first such fair was held September 29–30, 1841 in Syracuse, New York.[3] Subsequent Michigan state fairs were held in other cities until 1905, when it received what was its permanent home for decades at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.

In 1904, Joseph L. Hudson, together with three of his associates, organized to acquire a site for the fair. They formed the State Fair Land Company, which acquired 135 acres (0.55 km2) between 7½ and 8 Mile roads, east of Woodward Avenue. Having no interest in running the fair, Hudson sold the land to the Michigan State Agricultural Society for one dollar ($29.00 in today's money) on April 18, 1905. The Agricultural Society accepted the land and purchased an additional 32 acres (130,000 m2), extending the fairgrounds to 167 acres (0.68 km2). Throughout the following years, additional land was purchased and sold. The present size of the fairgrounds in Detroit is 164 acres (0.66 km2).

Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, also known as the Hockeytown State Fair Coliseum, is a 5,600-seat multi-purpose arena located on the fairgrounds. In 1899 a one-mile track was constructed at the fairgrounds and originally used for Thoroughbred flat racing and Standardbred harness racing. In the mid-20th century, two NASCAR races were held on this track. Tommy Thompson won the 1951 event and Tim Flock won in 1952.[4]

On October 30, 2009, Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed legislation to provide funding to the Michigan State Fair.[5][6]

Attendance had peaked at 1.2 million in 1966. In 2009 fair attendance had declined to 217,000 visitors.[7] The state fair was not held in the following two years.[8]

On April 9, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 515 and House Bill 4803, which would authorize the transfer of the fairgrounds land to the Land Bank Fast Track Authority, which would oversee the land for future development, including plans for a station for the proposed commuter rail service.[9][10]

As the agricultural industry is Michigan's second leading economic industry, many people were disturbed by the failure of the state to support a state fair. They organized Great Lakes Agricultural Fair, a 501 C (3) organization, in 2011 to ensure such events continued.

The Great Lakes State Fair took place August 31 through September 3, 2012, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in the Detroit suburb of Novi.[11][12]

In 2013, Fifth Third Bank became the name sponsor, so the event was called the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair, again held in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace. Organizing the fair was taken over by Michigan State Fair LLC.[13]

Seven years later, a virtual fair was held as live shows & other events were cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

See also


  1. ^
  2. ^ "Askville". Archived from the original on 2016-01-21. Retrieved 2015-09-09.
  3. ^ "New York State Fair :: The Encyclopedia of New York State :: Syracuse University Press". Retrieved 2016-09-11.
  4. ^ "Michigan State Fairgrounds NASCAR results". Racing-reference. Retrieved 2009-05-09.
  5. ^ Bell, Dawson (October 30, 2009). "Granholm cuts State Fair from budget". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved November 2, 2013.
  6. ^ Bell, Dawson (October 30, 2009). "It's official: State Fair a goner". Detroit Free Press. Archived from the original on November 3, 2013. Retrieved August 8, 2015.
  7. ^ The Future of the Michigan State Fair Archived 2009-09-13 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Michiganians struggle with loss of state fair". WXYZ News. Retrieved 2013-11-02.[dead link]
  9. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (April 9, 2012). "Snyder: Former state fairgrounds in Detroit would be 'natural location' for commuter rail station". Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  10. ^ Oosting, Jonathan (April 9, 2012). "Snyder to sign bills fast tracking sale of Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit". Retrieved 2015-08-08.
  11. ^ "Great Lakes State Fair announcement today". WXYZ News. May 30, 2012. Archived from the original on July 8, 2012. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  12. ^ "Great Lakes State Fair Replacing 'Michigan State Fair' in 2012". 2012-06-01. Archived from the original on November 4, 2013. Retrieved 2013-11-02.
  13. ^ "State Fair: 20 more acres of fun for 2014". Birmingham Observer and Eccentric. August 24, 2014. Retrieved 2015-08-08.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 7 June 2021, at 21:49
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