Midland County Fair returns with a week of entertainment, rides, and education

There’s nothing like summertime in Michigan — especially eating fried fair food and watching the sunset from atop the Ferris wheel. For local residents, the season isn’t complete without a visit to the annual Midland County Fair

The weeklong festivities are scheduled Aug. 15-21 with free entertainment, ticketed grandstands events, midway rides, carnival food, and agriculture education. Midland County Fair Manager Trish Steele is happy the fair is returning in more traditional capacities. 

“We celebrate our 83rd county fair season this year,” Steele says. “We’ve been delivering agricultural education to our community for decades and are excited to return to a full fair offering in 2021.”
Trish Steele is the manager of the Midland County Fair.
Due to COVID-19, Steele says last year’s event was restricted to only exhibitors and parents; there was no public admittance. Socially-distanced showing of horses and livestock viewing also took place. This year, though, traditional fair happenings resume. 

Although carnival rides, rodeos, live music, and fair food annually bring 140,000 to 150,000 people, according to Steele, she says the event also has a huge focus on agriculture education. 

“We offer both youth and open class divisions,” she says. “Youth can enter exhibits that range from still exhibits, art, sewing, taxidermy, livestock, and small animals. We also offer those same divisions for adults in the open class.”
A young girl earns a ribbon at the Midland County Fair.
The summertime tradition takes place on the 118-acre Midland Fair Grounds at 6905 Eastman Ave. Steele says the community has truly made the fair a success the past 83 years. 

“We have a variety of merchants that continue to be part of our fair by having an exhibit or display. We have area businesses that present their products or information. We have other exhibitors who want to share their products or local services,” Steele says. “We also have civil groups like Kiwanis and Moose Lodge who have displays here in our fair as well. And in turn, their revenue is put into programs that they offer, often scholarships or educational programming that further helps everyone in the community.”

This year’s free entertainment includes a reptile show, sponsored by Meijer and Applebee’s. Monday is Merchant’s Day, Tuesday is Children’s Day, Wednesday is Agriculture Day, Thursday is Community Day, Friday is 4-H Day, Saturday is Industrial Day. The entire schedule of events can be found here

Fair parking costs $8 for a single entrance or $20 for a weekly pass. Parking passes can be purchased at the gate or in advance at the fair office. There is no admission price for the fair itself. Grandstand events including a demolition derby, super kicker rodeo, figure 8 derby/burnout, and SJO supercross have varying costs. 
Caramel apples are one of the unique food choices at the fair.
“We are very much looking forward to hosting people from near and far at the Midland County Fair,” Steele says. “We welcome our community to partake in our events that celebrate our agriculture education opportunities.”

Read more articles by Sarah Spohn.

Sarah Spohn is a Lansing native, but every day finds a new interesting person, place, or thing in towns all over Michigan, leaving her truly smitten with the mitten. She received her degrees in journalism and professional communications and provides coverage for various publications locally, regionally, and nationally — writing stories on small businesses, arts and culture, dining, community, and anything Michigan-made. You can find her in a record shop, a local concert, or eating one too many desserts at a bakery. If by chance, she’s not at any of those places, you can contact her at spohn9@gmail.com.