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Michigan State Fair revived under new name, "Great Lakes State Fair"

After a two-year hiatus, organizers say Michigan's state fair is back - but it will have a new name and location.

Blair Bowman  runs the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.   That's the expo center where the "Great Lakes State Fair" will be.  It opens to the public on Friday.

The fair will be under a roof instead of in the open. But it will have the same livestock and agricultural exhibits, pie-eating contests, and the like.

"It's the longest running tradition of a state fair in the nation," says Bowman, "and reviving that is so important."

Bowman says they couldn't use the Michigan State Fair name for technical reasons.  He says there won't be as many exhibits, but next year could be bigger.

The event will be paired with a circus, beer tent, and amusement park rides.

Michigan's old state fairgrounds are up for sale.

Bowman says as soon as he heard the Michigan State Fair would shut down, he wondered if he could help revive the tradition. 

At first, it appeared the Pontiac Silverdome would host the fair, but those plans fell through, and a group of volunteer state fair proponents called him next.

Thursday night, the fair will offer free admission for military families and children sponsored by the Shriners.



Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Public. She began her career at Michigan Public as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.