Rides, entertainment, food and fun await at the Midland County Fair

Summer is winding down, but there’s still time to enjoy some annual outdoor fun. This year marks the 85th annual Midland County Fair, and it’s the perfect chance to enjoy some free entertainment, midway rides, and tasty fair food. 

The week-long event kicks off on Sun, August 13 and runs through the 19th, and is hosted on the 118 acres of the Midland County Fairgrounds (6905 Eastman Avenue). The event typically attracts roughly 145,000 visitors to the grounds each year. 
Nic Hall is the manager of the Midland County Fair.
Nic Hall has volunteered and worked the fair for over 25 years, but this is his first time in the manager’s role. Hall says, “The fair provides a gateway in educational purpose, to all things agricultural, but also, it’s a nice end-of-summer type of event. Before we go back to school and get back into the grind of things, kids and youth are able to come out and have a good time.”

The educational aspect of the fair showcases the hard work for weeks and months for many exhibitors. “Kids and adults are able to showcase animal projects and still exhibit projects that they’ve been working on for several months or years,” Hall says. 

New this year is the horse pulls on Wednesday night at the Grandstands. Other events include two nights of Super Kicker Rodeo, a Bump & Run event, a Figure 8 Derby, and a Super Cross event. A fan favorite for many fair visitors are the midway rides, says Hall. “North American Midway provides one heck of a midway,” he says. “They keep things nice and clean, and they’re safe rides.”

The fair attracts about 145,000 persons each year.
Other entertainment is provided to families at no cost, including most nights, three free daily performances with MuxLow Exotics, a reptile encounter show. Monday is Merchant’s Day, Tuesday is Children’s Day, Wednesday is Agricultural Day, Thursday is Community/Family Day, Friday is 4-H Day, and Saturday is Industrial Day. Free live music by the Rodeo Band (classic country), Jim Quales (variety), The Funatics, Eyezenheart Project (variety), and Amanda Kari (country) takes place in the Gazebo nightly. The full calendar of fair events can be found here

Hall says he is partial to many of the fair events, but most of all, loves seeing many friends and family enjoying time together in the community.

“The beautiful thing about the fair here that I personally love is the community that we’re in,” he says. “It takes everybody to have a successful fair: staff, volunteers, exhibitors, judges, the amusement company, and the patrons.”

There's no shortage of places to eat at the fair.Admission to the fair itself is free, but tickets are required for grandstand events and midway rides. Tickets are $15 for grandstand events for adults, and $10 for kids 10 and under. Presale carnival ride wristbands are $25. Daily carnival ride wristbands are $30. 

Fair parking costs $5 on Sunday (1-9 p.m.). Monday through Saturday, 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. 

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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 sarahspohn.news@gmail.com.