The Michigan State Fair in Detroit was canceled two years ago due to budget cuts. This year there's a new fair, with a new name and location. It's privately owned and operated.
The Great Lakes State Fair kicked off in Novi today. Oakland County Commissioner Kathy Crawford was at a preview event last night.
“The old state fair the grounds and everything were familiar to me, that’s what I grew up with, so this is new, but at least it’s here, at least we have a semblance of the state fair. And it’s just young, you know, I know it’s going to grow. And we're very excited to welcome everyone to Novi,” she said.
The fair is located at the Suburban Collection Showplace, in Novi. It has all the essentials - livestock and agriculture exhibits, a midway with rides, games and food, and daily circus performances.
Visitors say it’s pretty good, so far.
"My favorite thing about the state fair is the circus,” said 12-year-old Kera Stoehr. "Because, I want to be an acrobat when I get older."
In 2009, Michigan hosted its last state fair after 161 years.
It was the second oldest in the country. But the event was losing too much money. Between 1970 and 1995, the fair lost on average 2 million dollars a year. Attendance was down 39 percent over the final eight years. In 2009, Governor Granholm ended all state financing.
Since then, not much has happened with the Fairgrounds. On Monday, Governor Snyder will sign bills which will authorize the state to sell the property. The 157 acre property is located just south of Woodward Avenue. Any money made from the sale of the Fairgrounds will be added to the state’s general fund.
And now... add the lack of a State Fair to that list.
In this age of austerity, Nevada has decided to cut its State Fair. Michigan cut its Fair back in 2009.
The Associated Press reports Nevada and Michigan are the only two states without a State Fair.
From the AP:
The board of directors for the Nevada State Fair says there won't be one this summer.
Board members say budget shortfalls leave them no choice but to bring an end to the fair for the first time in 136 years.
Executive director Rich Crombie said in a statement Wednesday that a last-ditch fundraising effort had produced only a fraction of the estimated $250,000 needed to keep the fair from folding up its tent.
It means Nevada will join Michigan as the only states in the nation without state fairs.
Crombie says they are debt but don't intend to file bankruptcy. He says the hope is to continue to raise money for another state fair in the years ahead. The first Nevada fair was held in 1874.
The Michigan State Fair, said to be the country's oldest, was closed in 2009 because of declining attendance and budget shortfalls.
Michigan Radio's "Picture Project" has some fantastic images of Michigan's now defunct State Fair.
Detroit Mayor Dave Bing is expected to reveal his plan for getting police officials to live in Detroit this morning. As Michigan Radio's Sarah Hulett reports:
Detroit had a residency requirement until 1999, when the state Legislature outlawed it. Now more than half the officers on the police force live outside the city limits. Mayor Bing has said he believes neighborhoods are safer when the cops who patrol them live there too.
Not all police officials agree with Mayor Bing and say they can live outside city limits and still be effective for the residents of Detroit.
Michigan Radio's Sarah Cwiek will have more Mayor Bing's proposal later today.
A replacement for the Michigan State Fair?
The Michigan State Fair was canceled in 2009 after budget cuts and declining attendance. Now the Associated Press is reporting that another cast aside in Michigan might fill the gap.
The AP reports that the "Great Lakes Agricultural Fair" would be held in and around the Pontiac Silverdome and would be run without any state funding. From the AP:
Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and U.S. Rep. Gary Peters are expected to be among those on hand Monday to unveil plans for the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair…The annual festival would feature a farm market, live animals and musical performances.
Ford to increase production
If the amount of Super Bowl ads from car makers didn't clue you in, here's another sign that automakers are expecting much better sales this year. The Detroit Free Press reports that Ford Motor Company plans to boost factory production in the U.S.:
Ford Motor Co. says it will increase U.S. factory production by 13% in the first quarter due to higher sales. Ken Czubay, vice president of U.S. sales, says Ford is studying additional shifts at plants that are now running on overtime. The Dearborn-based automaker said retail sales to individual buyers rose 27% in January. Global marketing chief Jim Farley said to expect further increases through the year.