Michigan State Fair attendance up 15%
Attendance at this year’s Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair was up 15 percent from the previous year, officials said Wednesday.
More than 92,000 people attended the event, held Labor Day weekend at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.
Attendance rose despite the threat of severe weather, officials said.
“The new Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair continues to enjoy steady, measured growth,” Steve Masters, the fair’s executive director, said in a statement. “That has been our first priority, as we want to ensure a positive experience for all the families that attend. Judging by the smiles and enthusiastic response to our expanded attractions, we are on the right course.”
Officials attribute this year’s increased attendance to new and expanded attractions such as the Kroger Michigan-Made Product Pavilion, as well as more livestock and Home Arts exhibits and 20 more acres of midway rides.
The fair also awarded more college scholarship funds this year. Thirty-four students received a total of $30,000 in 2014 Urban and Rural Agriculture Scholarships, a 50 percent increase from $20,000 last year.
The scholarships are made possible by the fair’s sponsors, including Bright House Networks, C.F. Burger Creamery, Fifth Third Bank, the Detroit Shriners, Kroger of Michigan and Guernsey Farms Dairy.
Michigan has had a state fair since 1849. However, the state shut down the annual event — held on Woodward Avenue between Seven Mile and Eight Mile in Detroit — after 2009, citing budgetary constraints.
Three years ago, a private entity, Michigan State Fair LLC, resurrected the fair and moved it to the Suburban Collection Showplace.
Blair Bowman owns both the fair operator and the venue.