Michigan Agricultural Fairs are an economic and social asset to over 86 communities. They are the ultimate showcase of Michigan Agriculture. With an attendance of about 4,535,289, they are a major factor in Michigan Tourism.

Fairs are an under-utilized resource in the Agricultural industry. Over half of the state’s population passes through fair gates looking for a renewed contact with agriculture. Fairs can provide the avenue to show their visitors the good things that are happening in agriculture today and what they can look forward to in the future…

Fair attendance in Michigan is more than 4.5 million people. Michigan fair volunteers contributing a total of 682,495 hours annually to help make the fair a success.

Eighty-six county or local fairs, participate in the Michigan Department of Agriculture County Fair Program. Livestock auctions generated sales amounted to $16,456,107, most of which is used by our youth to advance their education in agriculture. This is an indication of continued community support for the livestock programs in the face of record low livestock prices at the market.

The Michigan Department of Agriculture is actively involved in providing programming to meet the demands of putting on successful fairs.

  • The Michigan Association of Fairs and Exhibitions, the Michigan Department of Agriculture (http://www.michigan.gov/mda) and Michigan State University provide fair management, staff and volunteers workshops on:
  • Fair & Event Management
  • Educational and Agricultural exhibits
  • Effective Youth, 4-H and Fair relations
  • Emergency Management during events at fairground facilities
  • Public & Animal Health at the Fair
  • Maintaining the facilities for visitors and events of all types

FairTime is a joint project between MAFE, MDA and the Michigan State University Museum. Through this partnership, high quality resources and experiences are available to the fair industry – strengthening the fair’s educational offerings on agriculture and increasing opportunities to expose the large lay-population to agricultural history and contemporary issues.

During this project enough money was raised through grants to fund the development of 3 traveling exhibits:

  • America’s Fairs Educating Communities
  • Our Livestock Heritage Serving a Nation
  • Horse and Harness Racing; Early Fair Time Entertainment

In addition to the traveling exhibits, a Resource Book titled Agricultural Fairs in America: Tradition, Education, Celebration, has also been produced. This book has been distributed to fairs and libraries throughout the state.