Fair celebrates fifth year of local operation

HARRIS – This year’s grandstand entertainment and several new and returning midway acts at the 2014 U.P. State Fair were announced during a media conference Thursday at the Island Resort & Casino.

This year marks the fifth year of independent local operations of the U.P. State Fair, which remains Michigan’s only state fair, and will take place Aug. 11-17 at the U.P. State Fairgrounds.

Vickie Micheau, executive director of the Delta County Commerce Center, which serves as managing agency for the fair, thanked all those present during the conference for their support over the years.

“The U.P. State Fair is the summer’s signature event,” said Micheau. “It brings family and friends together to experience the very best of the Upper Peninsula. With seven days of Skerbeck Carnival rides, top-notch grandstand entertainment, agriculture and vendor exhibits and great fair food, there truly is something for everyone’s enjoyment at the fair and this year will be no exception.”

This year’s grandstand entertainment features performances by FireHouse and Sebastian Bach on Aug. 12, Easton Corbin on Aug. 13, Blood, Sweat & Tears with Bo Bice on Aug. 14 and Joe Diffie on Aug. 15. Additional grandstand entertainment includes Upper Peninsula International Racing Association Races on Aug. 16 and an Armageddon on Wheels event on Aug. 17.

This year a number of free midway acts will make their first appearance at the fair. These include Mitchell Marionettes Showboat Puppet Spectacular – a colorful, comic variety show and self-proclaimed tour de force of puppetry featuring ventriloquism, stringed marionettes and other puppet forms. Also new to the midway are Martinez Studios Sand Sculptures and the Wallenda’s Circus Incredible.

New to the Educational Pavilion is the Art Club 3-D Chalk Art Exhibit, featuring several two-dimensional drawings that appear to jump off the pavement. Returning to the pavilion is Big Big Stuff, where the Bay College Computer Aided Design Team, which has landed in the Guinness Book of World Records, will have the world’s largest yo-yo, golf tee, paddle lock and key on display. The pavilion also features returning exhibits including the Miracle of Life exhibit, Growing UP Foresters, and the U.P. Raptor Rehab Educational Show.

Other free returning acts this year are the Whispering Pines Animal Kingdom; Barn Yard Review; and the ever-popular strolling acts featuring Hammy Faye, Elvis Holstein, Master Robot Ranger, and Bumble Bee the transforming robot. The U.S. Army National Guard will also be on hand for fairgoers to test their strength and endurance with various challenges.

As always, the Department of Natural Resources Pocket Park and Antique Gas and Steam Village will be open during the fair.

This year also features some noticeable changes to theme days. Though Monday continues as Opening Night, with gates open at 5 p.m., Tuesday has been dubbed Garceau, Wenick-Kutz, Magowan Insurance Agency Day, with activities planned throughout the day in the activities tent for customers of the sponsor. Tuesday will also feature this year’s “First Fifth High Five Promotion,” which offers a $5 discount for combined gate and ride wristband purchase for the first five hours after the gates open on the fair’s first full day. The discount is being offered in celebration of the fair’s fifth year of successful independent fair operations.

Wednesday is Blue Cross/Blue Shield/Blue Care Network Day with activities planned throughout the day in the activities tent for Blue Cross Blue Shield customers.

Thursday is Honored Citizens Day honoring a wide range of fairgoers. The day will be marked by Military Appreciation Day where active and retired military and veterans will receive free admission to the fair with DD 214 military service verification card. The annual U.P. Veteran of the Year Award Ceremony will also take place. Thursday will also honor Native American Awareness Day with activities planned to showcase Native American culture in the community. Those who show their CDIB/tribal membership cards will receive a discounted gate admission.

Senior Citizens Appreciation Day will be celebrated Thursday marked by the 21st annual Health and Wellness Fair for Senior Citizens held under the grandstand in the concourse area. Those 65 and older will also be eligible for discounted gate admission.

Gov. Rick Snyder will also be attending the fair Thursday, coinciding with a luncheon that afternoon in the activities tent. Tickets for the luncheon are $20, which includes gate admission. RSVP is required.

Friday is Ladies Day complete with networking, pampering, presentations, prizes, food samples, demonstrations, wine and beer tasting and more in the activities tent.

Saturday is Agriculture Day, featuring the annual Junior Market Livestock Sale. There will also be a U.P. State Fair Car Show in the activities tent.

The fair ends Sunday with discounted admission prices for Family Day.

For more information on this year’s U.P. State Fair, visit www.upstatefair.org.