Archive for the ‘2014 michigan state fair’ Tag

State Fair expected to be even better this year

The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair, running Aug. 28 through Sept. 1, is expected to be bigger and better this year.

“We are trying to grow on the foundation of the past several years in a measured way,” said Blair Bowman, proprietor of the Suburban Collection Showplace and Michigan State Fair, LLC. “The fair will be bigger and better because of the success of last year and the response we have received from those participating and attending.

“Ultimately, this is a celebration of the great things Michigan has to offer,” he added, “and we are honored to lead that celebration.”

In 2013, the state fair saw more than 80,000 attendees at The Showplace. This was double the turnout from the previous year, when the event was called the Great Lakes State Fair.

A press conference was held Tuesday at the venue to announce new elements and expanded attractions.

There will be a 25-percent increase in the size of the carnival, with several new rides, as well as the footprint expansion of the fair to include 20 additional acres. The Shrine Circus will now have two tents and more shows throughout the weekend.

There will also be a 30-percent increase in both the Urban Agriculture and 4-H Gold Ribbon College Scholarship programs, which will include all the proceeds from Guernsey Dairy’s endless chocolate milk attraction. More livestock exhibitors will be on hand as well.

The Kroger Co. of Michigan is participating as a new presenting sponsor of the Michigan-Made Pavilion at the Fair, which offers exhibits, sampling and vending opportunities for an array of food, beverages and other products manufactured in the state.

In addition, a new talent competition called Super Star Michigan Talent Contest will be introduced this year with a cash prize, mentoring opportunities and a recording opportunity with one of Detroit’s most well-known producers going to the winner.

Because of demand, the pricing structure at the fair will also be different, with more individual options available.

These are just a few of the changes to come. To help guide the growth, fair organizers have brought on a new executive director, Stephen Masters. He joins the fair from his recent positions as executive director of the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau in Escanaba and management team member of the Upper Peninsula State Fair.

“It’s exciting to be part of this,” said Masters, who brings a wealth of relevant experience to the role, according to Bowman.

To learn more about the fair, go to

As read on:

State fair ‘found its home’ in Novi – Labor Day weekend event’s attendance climbs to 75,000

From the VIP kickoff Thursday evening until the last visitor left Monday night, it was obvious that the return of the Michigan State Fair is here to stay.

“The fair has definitely found its home in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace,” said Blair Bowman, owner of the facility. “It will be back next year bigger, better and more fun!”

Attendance climbed dramatically from last year. The 2012 Great Lakes State Fair tallied around 50,000, while this year’s Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair hit between 75,000 and 80,000, according to Bowman.

That’s impressive given that the event is up against Arts Eats & Beats in Royal Oak and the Detroit Jazz Festival, which combined drew around 600,000.

Likewise, the state fair’s animal and agricultural livestock exhibits jumped 150 percent and there was nearly double the seating capacity for the circus.

“The customer feedback was overwhelmingly positive,” Bowman said. “Literally, we were being thanked by more people when leaving than we were thanking people for coming.”

As pleased as Bowman was with the turnout, he was equally impressed with the community giveback element of the Labor Day weekend event. More than 150 individuals volunteered, as did folks from the Detroit Shriners. Sponsors included Fifth Third Bank (presenting), Bright House (circus), Walmart (midway) and St. John’s Providence (entertainment stage).

“We could not have had better partners and provided a better experience than we did for this year’s event,” Bowman said. “The city of Novi community support was incredible as well with the fire department, police department and city administration all pulling together to help provide support for the event.”

Up-and-coming local acts provided music during the daytime, while established musicians – all with Michigan ties – performed during the evenings, including headliners Marshall Crenshaw, George Bedard and Stewart Francke.
A fair goer’s view

Leslie Adams flew in from Florida to attend a family gathering over the holiday weekend with her sons – Luke, 25, Fed, 24, and John, 23. They attended the fair Saturday night along with their four cousins, sampling corn dogs and elephant ears and hitching rides on Salt & Pepper, Pharaoh’s Fury, Bumper Cars, Orbiter and even the Big Slide.

“I have not attended a real state fair in years and this was just a lot of fun all around,” Adams said, adding that her group was impressed with the animals on display in the livestock area.

She and her brother and his wife enjoyed some beer and wine in the entertainment tent, catching Steven Mullan & The Toledo Kids.

“He was adorable with a fresh voice and was fun to listen to,” Adams said, “but the big draw was Marshall Crenshaw and his band, the Bottle Rockets. He is a great performer and they had a terrific sound. I was familiar with some of his songs, but really enjoyed the whole show. The kids even came in at the end and listened for a while.”

Adams said her overall impression of the state fair was that it was clean and organized and parking was easy.

“It reminded me of when I was a kid,” she said. “Plus, all of our kids (young adults) had a good time, too. I hope it continues to grow – and I hope I am in town next year.”
A family affair

For Mike Watts, the fair’s executive director this year, it was most gratifying to see all the families – including his own.

“My nieces stayed for eight hours,” Watts said, “and my neighbor’s autistic adult son had his caregivers bring him back for a second day because he enjoyed it so much.”

Watts said during the process of promoting the fair, he was interviewed by media almost daily and he encountered something that had never happened to him before.

“At the beginning of every interview or segment, they thanked me for bringing back the state fair and that made me feel very special,” Watts said. “I know that the thank you was to all of us who worked on pulling this event together and I expressed that repeatedly, but it was a wonderful experience for me.”

Bowman said it is a certainty that the Michigan State Fair will return again to the Suburban Collection Showplace in 2014.

“Plans are already under way for major new features, including significant new rides within the midway, a larger arena and an increase in our major scholarship initiatives that were launched this year,” he said

As read on: