Michigan State Fair Planned To Be Revived in Novi

The Great Lakes State Fair is in the works for Labor Day weekend at Suburban Collection Showplace.

After a three-year hiatus, a plan is underway to bring the Michigan State Fair back this summer.

The revamped fair would be called the Great Lakes State Fair and would be held at in Novi on Labor Day weekend.

Blair Bowman, owner of the Showplace, announced the plans to revive the fair at the Novi City Council meeting Monday night. He said the proposed fair has been well received, and he wanted to formally let the city know of the plans.

"Michigan is the second largest agricultural producer in the nation, and we should have a state fair," Bowman said.

The first State Fair was held in Detroit in 1849, making it one of the longest-running fairs in the country until it was discontinued in 2009 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who cut government funding due to dwindling attendance.

One previous plan had been in made in February 2011 to revamp the fair as a privately funded event at the Pontiac Silverdome, but the plans fell through for various reasons.

Just last month, Gov. Rick Snyder signed bills that would allow the old fairgrounds in Detroit to be sold and developed, further dashing the hope that the fair would ever come back.

Enter Bowman, who said he contacted the committee that has been trying to reestablish the fair at the same time they were contacting him. He first talked with the committee a couple of years ago when they were looking for alternative fair sites. Now, he said he has committed to offering the Showplace to them for no cost.

The Great Lakes State Fair would have all the components of a true state fair, Bowman said. It would include animals, Michigan-made products and agriculture, a beer garden, an entertainment tent, games, carnival rides and even a circus.

The midway and circus tent would be outside in the parking lot. But the animals β€” from poultry to pigs β€” would be inside the Showplace along with the agricultural products.

Bowman said he and the fair committee hope to offer a one-day pass for the entire event at approximately $28-$30, or $25 if bought in advance. The fair is planned to be held Friday, August 31 through Monday, September 3, with a possible kick-off reception on Thursday evening with Novi Mayor Bob Gatt.

"I've been aware of this for the last month or so, I'm very excited. I think it's something that has great potential," Gatt said.

Denise Stach May 22, 2012 at 12:50 PM
I would be very interested in exhibiting some alpacas at this fair to acquaint people with these remarkable, fiber-producing animals. Alpacas, under Pres. Bush Sr, became listed by ag as livestock, not exotics. Any info regarding the exhibition of animals at this nre "state fair" would be welcome.
Ed Cantarella May 22, 2012 at 01:00 PM
The article has a major error. The Michigan State Fair was held in Pontiac for the first 30-40 years.Just to the north side of the Woodward "Loop" there is a large neighborhood that all the deeds say, " State Fair Subdivision". The old fair grounds were converted to a neighborhood in early 1900s.
Andrew Mutch May 22, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Ed: According to the DNR, the first State Fair was held in Detroit in 1849, which is what the article states. The city of Pontiac's web site states that the 1904 State Fair was held in Pontiac and another source online said that the State Fair was held in Pontiac from 1901 - 1904. http://www.michigan.gov/dnr/0,4570,7-153-54463_18670_18793-53223--,00.html http://www.pontiac.mi.us/departments/hdc_information.html
Dr Cindy May 22, 2012 at 01:52 PM
A state fair is needed, and pigs and poultry are fine, but what about cows and horses? Other 4-H projects? As 4-H is a major player in most state fairs and the state extension service, the MSU facility in Lansing makes more sense. From the pictures, there doesn't seem to be much room for large livestock shows, tractor pulls, etc. How do they plan to handle the manure?
Sam Ray May 22, 2012 at 02:59 PM
It's important that the fair be "fair". It should welcome residents of Detroit,Pontiac, Highland Park, and other communities with diverse populations. The way to do this is to provided free or low-cost transportation to the fair grounds.
J. Michael Lenninger May 22, 2012 at 04:39 PM
Wanna bet parking won't be free? Good news that they have renewed this showcase event. I hope they have unlimited chocolate milk for 25 cents. Let's do a community car pool rather than a subsidized transportation option. But still, $25 a day, PLUS the cost of midway rides, will be expensive any way you look at it.
Dee May 23, 2012 at 12:24 PM
That is a $100.00 for a family of four just to enter! Add parking, food, drinks, rides, etc., it becomes a very expensive day.
Kelly May 23, 2012 at 01:29 PM
Go to the Fowlerville Fair. Your family can get in and pay for unlimited day ride tickets for the kids for cheaper than $100 and still have a spare $20 for food!
J. Michael Lenninger May 23, 2012 at 03:17 PM
FowlervilleFamilyFair.com July 23-28, 2012 with FREE admission for all on Monday, July 23 9am-7pm. 8800 West Grand River Avenue in Fowlerville Michigan.Phone:(517) 223-8186 Fax: (517) 223-0280 Mailing address: P.O. Box 372 Fowlerville, MI 48836-0372 email: fair@fowlervillefamilyfair.com
Kristina May 23, 2012 at 08:30 PM
What the article does not mention is that the $25 day pass includes the fair, the entertainment, admission to the circus and unlimited midway rides. I think that is a bargain, as the last time I got a midway bracelet it was $20 for the day. I am assuming that parking is $5 like every other event that is there.
Barb Stanwyck May 29, 2012 at 07:35 PM
Most state fair sites have well over 250 acres and lots of outdoor space. Suburban Showplace has only 55 acres and much of it under roof. How is this going to work?
Rebecca Jaskot (Editor) May 30, 2012 at 06:11 PM
Thanks, everyone, for your comments. The Showplace held a press conference today, and many of your questions were answered. Indeed, as Kristina pointed out, the $25 ticket price will include unlimited access to rides, admission to a circus show and access to the entertainment stage. You can read more here: http://novi.patch.com/articles/prices-times-announced-for-great-lakes-state-fair
Heather May 30, 2012 at 10:05 PM
Thank you Rebecca for posting that link! That clears up a lot of questions!
Elaine Smith July 07, 2012 at 05:24 PM
How wonderful,I can hardly wait for the state fair.Please advertise a lot so every one will hear about it. Thank you
marilyn lennis March 26, 2013 at 02:17 PM
A Michigan State Fair in Novi sounds great. Far easier to get to than the old Silverdome, as it is right off of Interstate 96. Thank you Mr. Bowman for offering this facility!!! I hope the fair planners can recruit some of the "fiber farmers". There are Michigan farmers who raise Alpacas, Llamas, Camels, Sheep & Rams, Angora rabbits & more for the fiber. The fiber is collected (sheared or combed) than cleaned & processed & eventually spun into yarn. It would be great if they could have some of these farmers bring their animals & products & have various demonstrations. The demonstrations could include shearing, cleaning the fiber , spinning & so forth. As a knitter, I find the whole process fascinating & am grateful for these farmers.


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