U.P. State Fair concludes

ESCANABA – This year’s Upper Peninsula State Fair was another record-breaking year due to all the people who worked together to make the annual event a success, commented a fair official this morning.

“This year’s fair went so well, extremely well,” said Vickie Micheau, director of the Delta County Area Chamber of Commerce, the managing agency for the fair.

“The success of the fair is once again the result of the U.P. Fair Authority, the exhibitors, the vendors, the volunteers, and all the fair employees,” said Micheau, also giving thanks to Mother Nature for providing a week of beautiful weather.

“Skerbeck Brothers did a great job again and also had a record-breaking year,” she added.

In addition to the carnival rides, games, exhibits, and foods attracting fairgoers, the grandstand lineup brought near-capacity crowds to the music performances and the races, she added.

Events in the activities tent drew people to the fair, she said, adding, “The Governor’s Luncheon was again a hit.”

Midway entertainment – including the high-flying dogs, the barnyard variety show, the circus acts, and the zoo – attracted attention of all ages, she said.

The Miracle of Life Birthing Pavilion, the Growing UP Foresters, the DNR Pocket Park, and the Upper Peninsula Gas and Steam Engine Village all experienced good turnouts as well, she added.

“We’re already planning for our fifth year,” Micheau said this morning. The authority is looking at what to keep and what to improve for next year, she noted.

This year was the fourth year the regional event has operated independently from the state which cut the U.P. fair and the downstate fair from its budget. Gov. Jennifer Granholm transferred the fair property over to the new fair authority for $1 in 2009 and the state fair authority ran its first fair the following year.

According to the fair’s website, the first state fair opened in Escanaba on Sept. 17, 1928. Since then the grounds have seen many improvements. The site now encompasses 120 acres of land and a couple dozen buildings.

The office complex and grandstand, which seats 3,500, was completed in 1987 along with a half-mile racetrack. A horse barn and indoor riding arena were completed in 1988.

Other facilities include the Ruth G. Butler Exhibition Building, animal barns, a youth exhibit building, a dining hall, dormitories, and horse and cattle show rings.

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Jenny Lancour, (906) 786-2021, ext. 143, jlancour@dailypress.net