If you didn't already know it, Michigan has TWO State Fairs. In fact, the first of the two - the Upper Peninsula State Fair - is happening this week in Escanaba.

The second of Michigan's State Fairs, understandably happens in the Lower Peninsula, but hasn't always been in the same place.

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The Michigan State Fair started in Detroit in 1849, and ran for 160 years in the state's largest city. However, attendance decline from nearly 2.1 million to just 217,000 in 2009. The Michigan State Fair then shut down for two years, until 2012.

Governor Rick Snyder signed a bill that moved the fairgrounds to Land Bank Fast Track Authority, and with the exception of the pandemic in 2020, it's been held there ever since.

This year, the State Fair will be over Labor Day Weekend - Sept. 1st-5th.

WHY, though, are there two State Fairs?

Well, for Michigan, it's pretty obvious - we are split into two parts. And it's very difficult for residents of the UP to make it to the Detroit area, and vice versa.

The Upper Peninsula State Fair was started in 1928 for that exact reason.

But did you know, Michigan is NOT the only state to hold two State Fairs? And they don't even have two parts to their states!

Two states that still kind of make sense would be Texas and Alaska because of their MASSIVE size.

For Alaska, they're mostly regional. It's difficult to travel to the "next" city in that state. Their main fair is just outside of Anchorage in the late summer, but they also have State Fairs in Girdwood, Seward, and the Lower Kenai Peninsula.

Likewise, Texas is HUGE, so multiple State Fairs make sense. The official one is in Dallas, the "State Fair of Texas," which coincides with the yearly "Red River Rivalry" football game between OU and Texas. But also, the East Texas State Fair in Tyler, and the Central State Fair in Belton, bring in people from other areas of the state.

Now, for the strange ones. The following states inexplicably have Two (or more) State Fairs:

  • Oklahoma
  • Illinois
  • Alabama
  • Georgia
  • Idaho (3)
  • Pennsylvania (6)

WHY do they have more than one State Fair? Who knows. Jealousy? Possibly. But none makes more sense than Michigan... except maybe Hawaii.

County Fairs Within 2 Hours of Lansing, MI

Here is your ultimate guide to where and when these fairs near Lansing and beyond are happening.

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