Plans for Great Lakes State Fair coming to Novi this summer are moving forward with steam.
Blair Bowman, owner of Suburban Collection Showplace, has been working with the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair board, a 501(c)3 organization, to bring the Michigan State Fair back this summer at his venue. He and several of the organizers gave more details about the event, including ticket prices, parking and the events schedule, at a press conference Wednesday morning.
The event has also nabbed a Pure Michigan designation, meaning the state will help market the fair — although it currently is not providing any financial support.
Kent Roberts, vice president of the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair board, said the group has been working to fill the void left when the fair ended in 2009 after the government pulled its funding.
"We're not really trying to duplicate the old state fair, we're trying to put together a 21st Century version," Roberts said.
He said the fair will focus on showcasing Michigan's agricultural industry and heritage and giving residents the opportunity to learn more about them.
The fair will include horses, cattle, goats, pigs, sheep, rabbits and chickens inside the Showplace along with the agricultural exhibits. A midway, beer garden, entertainment stage and circus will be outdoors.
Entertainment is still being planned and will be announced within four to six weeks on the State Fair website. The group is still putting out feelers and working on contracts.
Novi Mayor Bob Gatt publicly made an open request to Kid Rock at the press conference, challenging him to make an appearance.
"If he's listening or his folks are listening, for this even to be successful we could certainly use him. Show up for one day or show up for one hour — just be part of this. That's my challenge," Gatt said.
Bowman said they are trying to make the fair an affordable family event.
A one-day inclusive ticket bought in advance will cost $25, which includes access to agricultural and livestock exhibits, the vendor area, entertainment tent and beer garden, plus unlimited carnival rides and one showing of the circus. Parking will cost $5.
Profits from the Great Lakes State Fair will mostly go back to the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair board to use for future fairs.
"It's our hope that as this evolves and grows, that this will feed right back into the industry," said Roberts.
Here is a full list of ticket prices:
Tickets bought in advance (beginning July 1 at GreatLakesStateFair.org):
- $25 for adults and children 12 and older
- $20 for children 2-12
Tickets at the gate:
- $30 for adults and children 12 and older
- $25 for children 2-12
Tickets for just livestock, indoor exhibits and entertainment in advance:
- $6 for adults and children 12 and older
- $5 for children 2-12
Tickets for just livestock, indoor exhibits and entertainment at the gate:
- $8 for adults and children 12 and older
- $6 for children 2-12
There is no charge for children 2 and younger.
Space, crowd accommodations
Bowman said the Showplace could accommodate hundreds of thousands of people over four days, but expects this year's fair will draw 10,000-15,000 people per day.
Approximately 220,000 square feet of indoor space will be used for the fair, plus another seven acres outside. Including parking, the fair will cover a total of approximately 85 acres.
Gatt said the Showplace can handle anything and that it is the perfect venue for something like this. He said it has been tested with large events in the past.
If the new fair grows to become a huge event, Bowman said that he would be supportive of it moving to a larger venue in the future if necessary.
"I don't want it to start here and then go someplace else, but if it needs to go to a more traditional fairgrounds, then great. But I think we can not only start here, but I think we can help grow it here and stabilize it for the long-term," Bowman said.
Roberts told Novi Patch that although some people might be disappointed that the fair is no longer in Detroit, he is happy that they could keep the event in Southeast Michigan.
Although some residents have expressed concerns about hosting animals in the Showplace, Jackie Scramlin of the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair Board said she has taken animals to other indoor shows, and that protective covering will be put down in the Showplace to ensure the safety of the animals. Manure will not be a problem, she said, and they are looking into having it go to compost.
Parking & Transportation
More than 2,000 parking spaces will be available for parking at the Showplace, plus another 1,500 next door, Bowman said. Shuttle lots are also available if necessary.
Parking costs $5 per vehicle.
The fair currently does not have any public transportation set up to shuttle residents from the Detroit area to Novi, although Roberts and Bowman said they are open to it if any business or organization would like to partner with them.
- Friday-Sunday 8 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Monday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Agriculture and Indoor Vendor Area
- Friday-Sunday 10 a.m. to 9 p.m.
- Monday 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Entertainment Tent, Outdoor Vendors and Beer Garden
- Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. to midnight
- Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
- Friday-Sunday 11 a.m. to 11 p.m.
- Monday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Detroit Shrine Circus Performance Times (Daily)
- 2:30 p.m.
- 5 p.m.
- 7:30 p.m. (Friday-Sunday only)
*All times subject to change