Monroe County Fair
3775 S Custer Road
Monroe, MI 48161
Dates: July 29 to August 4, 2012 from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Price: Adults – $5, Children (6-12) – $2, Children 5 and under (with adult) – Free
Like Detroit, Monroe County was a colony of France, but unlike Detroit, kept close to its French provincial roots. As a child, supermodel Christie Brinkley found inspiration in Monroe County’s charming ways of life – agriculture, folk arts, French history, animal farms and graceful country living – which blossomed into her passionate activism for the environment and human and animal rights. The Monroe County Fair, beloved by Brinkley as a child, is still held to preserve and perpetuate the interest of agriculture, horticulture, arts and sciences.
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One of the the themes on display at the Monroe County Fair is floriculture, an artistic expression of an idea incorporating flowers. Various displays will present this artistic form in the Garden Clubs on Wednesday. One in particular is Class 897. Class 897 will have a floral theme amidst an old-fashioned lemonade stand. An example in this class is a stand constructed of old barn planks; a linen tablecloth with embroidered lemon-yellow ribbons and beads, finished in a delicate hand-knotted lace; a blown-glass pitcher containing the outline of a lemon artfully retained inside the glasswork; an Italian ceramic plate hand-painted with citrus from Napoli; and garlands of sunny yellow gerberas flanking the sides of the table.
Monroe’s famous historical resident, cavalry commander George Armstrong Custer, is one of the icons of the area. Therefore, cultural traditions dating to the mid 1800s are still cherished, such as the romanticism of the old west. Every night, family-friendly entertainment takes place in the grandstand, similar to the days of “Buffalo Bill Cody’s Wild West” show. This year, country-western singer Billy Currington headlines Monday night’s spectacular; he is a big draw for the young country demographic. Other events popular with the young country crowd will be world champion FMX riders presenting a “steel rodeo” featuring Cowboy Kenny Bartram, N.T.P.A. tractor pulls, demolition derbies, monster trucks, “flying” dogs, alligator wrestling and monster combines. These are the modern equivalents of cowboy and Indian spectacles staged by Buffalo Bill – chaotic theatrics performed by chivalrous daredevils.
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Area churches will serve old-fashioned family dinners during fair week. However, the most popular foods will be the traditional carnival food like old-time cotton candy, “elephant ears” covered with blueberry jam, strawberry ice cream served in waffle cones and freshly-squeezed lemonade. Warren Siebarth, Manager of the Monroe County Fair, surveyed patrons a few years back and discovered that munching on festive carnival food was one of the things people looked forward to the most when visiting the event.
The Monroe County Fair hosts the largest 4-H exhibition in the state of Michigan. Children love to stroll about the buildings to pet sheep, angora rabbits, horses, kids (goats) and the entire menagerie from Noah’s Ark. Early exposure to the proper care for animals builds character in young minds and instills a sense of responsibility.
The sections and classes of arts and crafts take up multiple pages in the fair catalog. From Swedish weaving to filet-crocheted table covers and oil paintings to Christmas ornaments, this venue is touted as Michigan’s finest art fair. You will see original designs that have never been displayed elsewhere and oceans of tables laden with hand-worked items that represent graceful country living.