Michigan State Fair
The Michigan State Fair is an annual event originally held by the state of Michigan in Detroit and currently operated by the private entity Michigan State Fair LLC in the Suburban Collection Showplace in the Metro Detroit suburb of Novi.
The first official Michigan State Fair was held in 1849 in Detroit, Michigan. The first state fair was October 1, 1839 and was in Ann Arbor. It moved to Detroit, Michigan, in 1849. The state incorrectly claimed this to be the oldest state fair in the United States, but the first such fair was actually held September 29–30, 1841 in Syracuse, New York. Subsequent fairs were held in other cities until it received its permanent home in 1905 at the Michigan State Fairgrounds in Detroit.
In 1904, Joseph L. Hudson, together with three of his associates, decided to give the State Fair its permanent home. They formed the State Fair Land Company, which acquired 135 acres (0.55 km2) between 7½ and 8 Mile Roads, east of Woodward Avenue. Because Hudson had no interest in running the fair, he sold the land to the Michigan State Agricultural Society for one dollar on April 18, 1905. The Agricultural Society accepted the land then purchased an additional 32 acres (130,000 m2), extending the fairgrounds to 167 acres (0.68 km2). Throughout the following years, additional land was purchased and sold. The present size of the fairgrounds is 164 acres (0.66 km2).
Michigan State Fairgrounds Coliseum, also known as the Hockeytown State Fair Coliseum, is a 5,600-seat multi-purpose arena located on the fairgrounds. Two NASCAR races were held at a one-mile track at the fairgrounds. Tommy Thompson won the 1951 event and Tim Flock won in 1952.
On October 30, 2009, Governor Jennifer Granholm vetoed legislation to provide funding to the Michigan State Fair. Attendance peaked at 1.2 million in 1966. In 2009 the fair attracted 217,000 visitors. The state fair was not held in the following two years.
On April 9, 2012, Governor Rick Snyder signed Senate Bill 515 and House Bill 4803, which would authorize the transfer of the fairgrounds land to the Land Bank Fast Track Authority, which would oversee the land for future development, including plans for a station for the proposed commuter rail service.
In 2011 Great Lakes Agricultural Fair, a 501 C (3) organization, was created. The agricultural industry is Michigan's second leading economic industry.
In 2013, Fifth Third Bank became the name sponsor so the event became the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair, again held in Novi at the Suburban Collection Showplace. The private entity organizing the fair became Michigan State Fair LLC.
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