Dave and Carol Stelts, of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, grew the fair’s giant pumpkin contest winner. The pumpkin weighed 1,638 pounds.

Dave and Carol Stelts, of Enon Valley, Pennsylvania, grew the fair’s giant pumpkin contest winner. The pumpkin weighed 1,638 pounds.

Photo by Patricia O’Blenes

Crowds enjoy Michigan State Fair and share opinions to improve it

By: Charity Meier | Metro | Published September 8, 2022

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METRO DETROIT — Large crowds flocked to Novi over the Labor Day weekend Sept. 1-5 for the Michigan State Fair.

It has now been 10 years since the fair was reinvented at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.

Fairgoers came from all over the state to enjoy the fair and some of its time-honored traditions, such as the butter cow, a vast variety of entertainment, popular carnival rides and food.

“I think it’s great. I think it has a lot of great rides and great, fun things to do, and the livestock is still here. The competitions are still here,” said Ann Marie Jarvis, of Northville, whose son, Joe Jarvis, 21, won a $20,000 artist development package by winning the Superstar competition at the fair. “I love the location. I think it’s convenient for everything.”

The fair included some new attractions this year, including the Porkchop Revue, which was seen on the television show “America’s Got Talent.” The show highlights how smart pigs (and other animals) are by having them perform tricks such as jumping through hoops, jumping rope, riding scooters and more. The show also provided guests with photo opportunities.

Another new facet to the fair was the Cool Zoo. The zoo showcased a variety of exotic animals such as a lemur, boa constrictors, parrots, ferrets, turtles and many more.

The fair also featured an array of vendors from all over the country, offering deals on a variety of everyday products such as sunglasses and purses. Some vendors showcased specialty products that guests could not necessarily find at their local store.

“I haven’t been to the state fair in many years, and this is my first time coming to Novi. I understand it has been here for about 10 years. Compared to what it was when my kids were little when it was in Detroit, it seems like it’s a little smaller,” said Vee Wilkerson. “Maybe it is just my perception. I’m used to having a big stove out there. There were certain traditions that were at the State Fairgrounds when they were in Detroit. It seems a little smaller. ”

Wilkerson said she felt there were a lot more food vendors than amusements. However, she said it was a nice outing and that everyone seemed friendly.

Another fairgoer, Kim Metzner, of Wixom, said she had been to the charity opening on Wednesday and really enjoyed walking around the fair and talking to people throughout the weekend.

“It’s great,” she said of the 2022 Michigan State Fair. “I like the old fairgrounds better. There is more in the big building, more farms, more things to do, but still (Novi) is close to home and we still get to go see the animals.”

Metzner said she did not have a suggestion for making the fair better, as she knows they don’t have the land to have more animals.

Her friend, Ron Foster, echoed her sentiments, saying that he really enjoyed walking around and talking to people.

Some people offered suggestions as to how to improve the fair. The most common problem stated by many fairgoers from Detroit was a lack of transportation to the fair. They said that the old fairgrounds were on a bus route, and that many people from the city do not drive, so it is difficult to get to Novi.

“The only thing about it; you can’t get out here if you don’t have a car. That’s the only disadvantage to it. Moving out here is a disadvantage to a lot of Detroiters,” said Mishawn Earl, of Detroit. “The food is still the same and the rides is still the same, and I appreciated that.”

She suggested a shuttle service from where the bus route ends on Grand River to the fairgrounds as a way of attracting more fairgoers. Another fairgoer suggested lowering the cost of everything, as people are still trying to recover from the pandemic.   

“Everything is too damn expensive,” said Felicia Davis, of Detroit. “With the way times are right now, there should be a little more room in there.”

“This is my first time here in 20 years since they moved from Detroit, and I enjoyed myself. I love seeing everybody happy and having fun with their families and friends. Let’s keep the experience going,” said Michael Kelley. “Hopefully, they’ll extend the hours next year till 10 (p.m.) for today only (Labor Day).”

Kelley also said he’d rather have the fair in Detroit so that more people would be able to attend. He concurred that transportation is a problem with the Novi location.