Fairgoers enjoy the Scrambler at the Michigan State Fair at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi Sept. 2.

Fairgoers enjoy the Scrambler at the Michigan State Fair at Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi Sept. 2.

Photo by Erin Sanchez

Thousands attend Michigan State Fair over Labor Day weekend

By: Charity Meier | Novi Note | Published September 6, 2023

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NOVI — The Michigan State Fair in Novi has become a holiday tradition for many people throughout the state.

The fair has been held annually from the Thursday before Labor Day through the holiday itself at Suburban Collection Showplace for the last 11 years.

“We like the fair. The kids love coming here. It’s a yearly thing that we do,” said fairgoer Lexi Queen, of Milford.

The fair features a vast array of entertainment, including amusement park rides, and sideshows such as Rock N Roll K-9s, the Cool Zoo, the Aquatic Acrobatic Show and the Shrine Circus.

The circus offered attendees a chance to get out of the sweltering heat on Labor Day, as temperatures were in the 90s, and to take in the traditional circus spectacles, such as high wire acts and trapeze artists.   

According to  the ringmaster, the circus is the oldest form of family entertainment, as it has been around for 150 years. The Shrine Circus is put on annually by volunteers affiliated with the Shriners as a way to raise funds for their charity work providing medical treatment to children who have serious illnesses and burns.

The show also brought in vendors from across the community to offer everything from specialty candies and other food items to orthotics, jewelry and more.

This year’s fair featured the first public judging of the giant pumpkins. There were also several livestock competitions, quilting demonstrations and much more.

“It’s a lot bigger than I thought it was,” said Robert Williams, of Rochester. “I’m glad I came.”

“The fair went well,” said McKenzie Bowman, the director of communications and customer relations at Suburban Collection Showplace. “We received overall great feedback with little to no complaints. We increased the aisle widths to allow for less congestion, and we increased to 45 rides, the most we have ever had.”

Despite the widened aisles and the increased number of rides, some guests said they felt there should be a few more rides for the amount spent on tickets. The ultimate ticket, which included rides, cost $42.

“We get it, there is a lot to do, but when you’ve got families of five or six, it becomes expensive,” said Queen, who attended the fair with her husband and three children.

She suggested that they be able to get a discounted rate for late-day admission, such as after 5 p.m., especially on the last day.

Her husband, Trevor Queen, said he feels the fair could add even more rides to make him feel like he is getting more bang for his buck.

“If the price goes up, they could add a little bit more stuff. I feel like it’s the same stuff every time, but the price goes up each year,” he said.

However, Bowman said there are several ways to get discounted tickets. Attendees can get $8 off by purchasing tickets at Kroger or $5 off by bringing in nonperishable food items. Those who donate blood with Versiti are given a refund of their fair admission and a Kroger gift card. The public is also welcome to volunteer for a four-hour shift in exchange for an Ultimate Admission wristband, lunch and a T-shirt.

Trevor Queen said his other issue this year was that they limited the height to go on certain rides. He said that as he was taller than the limit, he was not able to help his 2-year-old daughter go through some of the children’s mazes and accompany her on some of the rides, which frustrated him.

Ken Willis, of Lansing, said his only qualm was that after waiting more than 30 minutes in line for a ride during extremely hot weather, his kids were unable to ride the ride, as they just closed it off at 9 p.m. instead of letting those who had waited in line get to enjoy the ride.

Lexi Queen said that she did appreciate the free parking this year and liked that they give complimentary shuttles to and from the lots for those who need them.

“It was definitely worth the drive,” said Willis, who drove in with his family from the state capital. “I wish I would have got here sooner so the kids could have enjoyed it a little longer.”