U.P. State Fair kicks off Monday

Haley Gustafson | Daily Press Food vendors begin to line the midway at the Upper Peninsula State Fairgrounds in Escanaba Friday afternoon. The fairgrounds will soon be bustling with people and a wide variety of activities as the U.P. State Fair returns Monday and continuing until Aug. 20.

ESCANABA — The Upper Peninsula State Fair returns to Escanaba on Monday and will conclude Aug. 20. The theme for this year’s fair is “Michigan’s 906 State Fair: Spreading Smiles Across the Miles.”

According to Vickie Micheau, executive director for the Delta County Chamber of Commerce, the 2017 state fair is sure to please all who attend. Micheau is also a part of the fair authority and management team.

“This is the eighth year that the U.P. State Fair has been independently run, and we are looking forward to the best fair yet,” said Micheau.

Kicking off the week-long event will be Preview Night on Monday with a reduced admission fee at the gate. During this night, fairgoers will get a glimpse of what’s to come over the course of the fair, which hosts rides, games, food vendors, live animal displays, and much more along the midway.

“We are truly a U.P. wide organization with 15 counties represented on our (fair) board, plus the Hannahville Indian Community,” said Micheau. “Our exhibitors represent every county along with several from downstate. It is through this kind of support and sponsorship that we are able to continue the tradition of holding the Michigan State Fair in the Upper Peninsula.”

Lining the midway at the fair will be a variety of entertainers, including returning favorites and new faces. Three new acts join the midway’s performance line-up including the Great American Duck Races, Chicago Honey Bear Dancers, and Jump with Jill.

The Honey Bear Dancers will appear on the Meijer stage Tuesday through Saturday, while the duck races will have daily shows Monday through Sunday. Jump with Jill will appear on stage on Sunday.

“We are so pleased that this year (Meijer) will be sponsoring our entertainment stage, with family friendly performances throughout the day,” said Micheau.

In addition to the new midway attractions, there will also be sand sculptors, chainsaw carving, cheese carvers, and more. The Antique Village, located on the fairgrounds, will also be open to the public throughout the fair, along with the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Pocket Park, said Micheau.

Taking the grandstand stage first on Tuesday of the fair will be 906 Got Talent, which will feature local and regional talent acts.

On the third day of the fair, senior citizens will be honored with reduced admission for those 60 years of age and older during Senior Citizen’s Day. The day will include a wellness clinic and presentations in the activities tent and in the grandstand concourse.

Later that evening at 8 p.m., country/gospel music quartet The Oak Ridge Boys will grace the grandstand stage. The Oak Ridge Boys are known for hits such as “Elvira,” “Y’all Come back Saloon,” and “Thank God for Kids.”

Thursday of the fair will host Honored Citizen’s Day. The annual lunch with Gov. Rick Synder will be served at 11 a.m. There is a cost to attend and seats must be reserved in advance.

Active military, retired military and veterans will have free admission to the fair on Thursday, with a valid form of service identification.

Thursday is also Native American Day with reduced admission for CDIB/tribal membership cards. A pow wow and cultural exhibit will be featured in the activities tent.

Taking the grandstand stage will be opening act Forgotten Highway followed by country music duo LOCASH at 9 p.m. The popular country music act sings hits such as “I Love This Life,” “I Know Somebody,” and “Ring on Every Finger.”

On Friday, Ladies Day will take place at the fair. The Ladies Day program will take place in the activities tent from 9 a.m. to noon and includes a quilt raffle, recipe contest, presentations, vendors and giveaways.

The singing act to take the stage on Friday will be The Prince Experience at 8 p.m. Gabriel Sanchez, the lead singer of the Prince tribute band, will be singing some of Prince’s chart-topping hits such as “Purple Rain,” “Kiss,” “Little Red Corvette,” and “1999.”

Saturday will focus on the agricultural end of the fair with Agriculture Day. Over the course of the day, the Junior Market Livestock Show will take place along with an antique car show in the activities tent. In the evening, the band Red Eye will open for the main act of the of the grandstand, country music act Sawyer Brown. The band is known for hits such as “Some Girls Do,” All These Years,” and “Thank God for You.”

The final day of the fair on Sunday, Aug. 20 will be featuring Scout Day, with scouts in uniform receiving free admission at the gates. Scouting demonstrations will also take place throughout the day in the activities tent.

Meijer Family Day will be featured Sunday, with Jump with Jill performing on the Meijer Entertainment Stage.

Concluding grandstand entertainment will be UPIR Racing on Saturday evening.

At the conclusion of the week-long event will be a fireworks display provided by Skerbeck Entertainment Group at dusk.

Micheau and the rest of the fair management team said they are confident that this year’s fair will be successful, adding there is something for everyone to enjoy.

“It looks like the weather will be on our side this year, and we look forward to lots of people joining us at the U.P. State Fair,” said Micheau. “We are confident that with all our new attractions and reliable returning attractions, that there will be something special for everyone at the fairgrounds.”