After a three-year hiatus, a plan is underway to bring the Michigan State Fair back this summer.
The revamped fair would be called the Great Lakes State Fair and would be held at in Novi on Labor Day weekend.
Blair Bowman, owner of the Showplace, announced the plans to revive the fair at the Novi City Council meeting Monday night. He said the proposed fair has been well received, and he wanted to formally let the city know of the plans.
"Michigan is the second largest agricultural producer in the nation, and we should have a state fair," Bowman said.
The first State Fair was held in Detroit in 1849, making it one of the longest-running fairs in the country until it was discontinued in 2009 by Gov. Jennifer Granholm, who cut government funding due to dwindling attendance.
One previous plan had been in made in February 2011 to revamp the fair as a privately funded event at the Pontiac Silverdome, but the plans fell through for various reasons.
Just last month, Gov. Rick Snyder signed bills that would allow the old fairgrounds in Detroit to be sold and developed, further dashing the hope that the fair would ever come back.
Enter Bowman, who said he contacted the committee that has been trying to reestablish the fair at the same time they were contacting him. He first talked with the committee a couple of years ago when they were looking for alternative fair sites. Now, he said he has committed to offering the Showplace to them for no cost.
The Great Lakes State Fair would have all the components of a true state fair, Bowman said. It would include animals, Michigan-made products and agriculture, a beer garden, an entertainment tent, games, carnival rides and even a circus.
The midway and circus tent would be outside in the parking lot. But the animals — from poultry to pigs — would be inside the Showplace along with the agricultural products.
Bowman said he and the fair committee hope to offer a one-day pass for the entire event at approximately $28-$30, or $25 if bought in advance. The fair is planned to be held Friday, August 31 through Monday September 3, with a possible kick-off reception on Thursday evening with Novi Mayor Bob Gatt.
"I've been aware of this for the last month or so, I'm very excited. I think it's something that has great potential," Gatt said.