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2013 Fair Results

A number of factors and groups all came together to set the table for a record-breaking year, with Mother Nature doing her part to insure that potential became reality for the 2013 Upper Peninsula State Fair.
That’s the final assessment from Vickie Micheau, executive director of the Delta Commerce Center. The center contracts with the U.P. State Fair Authority to manage the fair and facility throughout the year. This year’s fair ended Sunday.
“With the weather being just about perfect,” paid fair receipts were up almost 4 percent from last year with attendance close to 80,000 and Skerbeck Carnival reported ridership was up nearly 10 percent from the year before, Micheau reported.
“So many people deserve to take credit for a hugely successful fair. The dedication and commitment of the U.P. State Fair Authority members, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, Skerbeck’s, employees and, most importantly, Mother Nature’s cooperation, simply can’t be overstated,” Micheau said.
“It’s been an incredible year for the Upper Peninsula, and the fair has just extended that positive momentum. I’m giving credit to both residents who want to stay home and have a wonderful time and visitors who love to visit our small towns, fresh air and beautiful natural resources,” said Steve Masters, director of the Bays de Noc Convention and Visitors Bureau and member of the management team.
Since taking over reins of the fair from the state four years ago, the Authority continues to spit and polish the fair, insuring grandstand attractions (free with paid admission to the fair) and midway entertainment lure a cross section of residents and visitors. State funding for both the state fairs in Escanaba and Detroit ended due to budget cuts, with only the U.P. fair continuing under regional leadership and funding.
“All counties in the U.P. deserve a big, blue ribbon for keeping the historic U.P. State Fair as a positive, successful attraction for the entire peninsula,” Micheau said.
“The grandstands were near capacity for the musical entertainment that featured country and rock musical performers.  This year’s fair also included food vendors that seem to offer more variety – all contributing to a positive fair experience.  Fair vendors, including local community groups and businesses, also reported a big increase in revenues,” according to Sheila Krueger, associate director of the Chamber and member of the management team.
Micheau also credited the popularity of livestock exhibits and the Miracle of Life Growing UP Foresters Building along with discounted gate admission on special days as being part of the continued recipe of success for the fair.
“Still, all of this would be greatly minimized if we didn’t have the incredible good fortune of another year of fantastic weather. This is the fourth year running for beautiful weather at the fair. We know it won’t last forever, but this success is laying a good, strong foundation that will be put to good use when we have a fair week with not so favorable weather,” she said.
Monday “was the first morning in a long time that I didn't feel the need to check the hourly weather forecast,” she said.
Planning for next year is already in the works. “Don’t worry. Give us just a little time to catch our breath, and we’ll start very soon and take everything we learned from this year’s fair and use it to create a fifth-year event that’s even more fun and attractive,” she said.
The 2014 fair is scheduled for Aug. 11-17.