Column: U.P. State Fair marks milestone
ESCANABA — This year marks a milestone for the U.P. State Fair. It’s the 10th anniversary of the seamless management transition of the oldest state fair in Michigan from state government to a regional governing body, the U.P. State Fair Authority. When the state appropriation ended, the authority was established with representation from each of the 15 counties in the Upper Peninsula and the Hannahville Indian Community to keep the nearly 100-year-old tradition alive.
There is a lot of excitement about this year’s fair and we hope, with the help of Mother Nature, to once again break all previous attendance numbers!
Once fair-goers pass through the gates, they’ll find amazing food, great concerts, wheeled events, spectacular carnival rides by Skerbeck Entertainment Group, winning livestock and artistic exhibits, an antique village, exotic animals from around the world at the Whispering Pines Mobile Zoo and so much more. There is something for everyone.
The free midway entertainment this year includes the Flying High Pages, which is a thrill show with high flying trapeze and Globe of Death motorcycle acts. The Great Lakes Timber and Lumberjack Show featuring chainsaw carving, axe throwing, wood chopping, crosscut sawing, log rolling and loads of clean family humor will be set up to entertain on the front lawn of the grandstand offices. Back again this year, are three popular sculpturing attractions, mARTinez Studio Art Club sand artists, cheese carver Sarah Kaufmann and Woodworks Chainsaw Carvers. Marvel SuperHeros, Spider-Man and Captain America, will make appearances on Saturday and Sunday during fair week.
Grandstand shows, presented by the Island Resort and Casino, will entertain fair goers every night of the week. Country star Carly Pearce entertains on Monday, followed on Tuesday with the U.P.’s Talent Show, 906 Got Talent. Wednesday is Forgotten Highway, Peacemaker on Thursday, Theory of a Deadman on Friday, Billy Ray Cyrus on Saturday with UPIR Racing and Fireworks closing out fair week on Sunday.
Gold Circle tickets are sold out for Theory and close to sold out for Billy Ray Cyrus, that’s a positive sign that fair goers are anxious for this year’s fair experience. The good news is that there are plenty of grandstand seats available free of charge with paid gate admission for all nightly shows, including Theory and Billy Ray Cyrus.
Other notable events taking place during the fair are the ribbon cutting on Monday at 3 p.m. (before the gates open at 5 p.m.) for the new multi-purpose building and the crowning of the U.P. State Fair Queen and her court on the Meijer Entertainment Stage at 6:30 p,m.
Senior Citizens Day, featuring a Wellness Fair from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. is set for Tuesday under the activities tent. Michigan’s Attorney General, Dana Nessel, will kick off Senior Day with welcome remarks and information about her robust senior agenda.
The annual Veteran of the Year Award Ceremony, Lunch with Governor Gretchen Whitmer sponsored by Chamber of Commerce members, and the Native American Celebration all take place on Thursday.
There are new and exciting plans for Ladies Day on Friday. In addition to the traditional recipe and quilt contests, this year’s activities will include motivational presentations by “Together We Rise by Inspired Actions Coaching” and Goat Yoga.
The Antique Car Show and Jr. Market Livestock Auction are set for Saturday. The week ends with Scout Day activities and Family Entertainment sponsored by Meijer on Sunday.
Check out the website, UPStatefair.org, for updates, judging schedules and other information about the 2019 U.P. State Fair ~ the Best Way to Top of Summer.
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Vickie Micheau is the executive director of the Delta County Chamber of Commerce