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Thousands expected at Dickinson County Fair

Most popular county fair in the Upper Peninsula

August 29, 2008
By NIKKI YOUNK, Staff Writer

NORWAY - The Dickinson County Fair is consistently the most popular county fair in the Upper Peninsula, and this year's celebration is already meeting people's high expectations.

Fair board secretary/treasurer Dottie Sydor said that the event normally brings in 50,000 to 60,000 people over the Labor Day weekend and she expects even more interest this year.

As a comparison, board officials from the Houghton County Fair said that approximately 26,000 people attended their fair last year. They have not officially counted the tickets for this year's event yet, but they believed that sales were "slightly up at the gates."

Article Photos

Jonathan Schmutzler of Kingsford waits to see if his color will come up a winner at the Dickinson County Fair Thursday. The fair continues through Monday, Labor Day. For more photos, visit the CU site at
Theresa Peterson/Daily News Photo

Additionally, Marquette County Fair Board Secretary Wanda Bergdahl said that more than 13,000 people attended the Marquette Fair earlier this month.

Menominee County had an even smaller fair, with an attendance of roughly 2,500.

Officials at the U.P. State Fair in Escanaba no longer estimate total attendance. However, estimates for attendance for the 2007 and 2006 U.P. State Fairs were estimated at more than 90,000.

Fact Box


Count Fair

- ASA race, 6 p.m. Sunday.

- Homemaker

of year, 1 p.m.


- Demolition

Derby, 8 p.m.


The U.P. State Fair includes exhibits from all of the peninsula's 15 counties.

"I think our fair is so popular because it's held on Labor Day weekend and people want to get out and have fun before fall officially begins," Sydor said. "We call it the last hurrah and then basically, winter starts."

She expects that some of the fair's new attractions, such as the American Speed Association (ASA) Midwest Tour race on Sunday and the truck pulls on Monday, will draw large crowds.

However, Sydor is not willing to say that any one attraction is responsible for the Dickinson County Fair's success.

"Everything brings its own crowd - you have the kids who come for the bracelet nights and the demo derby has its own crowd," she explained. "We also get a lot of buyers from all over the Midwest who come to the market livestock show."

Dickinson County's proximity to Wisconsin may also factor in to the fair's success. Sydor said that many Wisconsin residents attend the celebration annually and that they might not want to travel as far as to Houghton or Marquette.

The fair is also popular with residents of other Upper Peninsula counties. For example, Adam Wing of Ishpeming traveled to the fair on Thursday to look at the animal exhibits. Vendor Gene Carley of Manistique brought his collection of records, CDs, and other music memorabilia from his store Leftovertures to sell in the commercial exhibits building.

Norway resident and fair participant Julie Bietila thought that the fair's cozy atmosphere might make it more accessible to people.

"The U.P. State Fair is just too big and sprawled out," she said. "This is more like the county fairs that you hear about in stories where you know everyone."

The fair schedule includes:

Family Day is today

Team Extreme Motocross shows will be at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

JW Custom Carvings demonstrations will be from 1 p.m. to 9 p.m. The popular Demolition Derby begins at 8 p.m. in the grandstands. Cost is $10 for adults, $7 for senior citizens, $4 for students and $2 for children 10 and under.

Agriculture Day is Saturday

Horse Pulling Weigh In is at 8 a.m. Horse shows and dairy judging are at 9 a.m. The carnival opens at 11 a.m. In the grandstands at 11 a.m is the horse pulling contest.

Team Extreme Motocross shows are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m. Horse Speed Events start at noon, JW Custom Carvings demonstrations are from noon until 8 p.m.

The popular 4-H Buyers Meet & Greet is from 4:30 p.m. to 6 p.m., and the Youth Livestock Auction begins at 6 p.m.

The free country music concert featuring Next Myle, Bad Axe Rodeo and Night Train will be from 6 p.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday in the grandstands.

Senior's Day is Sunday

A youth horse show is at 9 a.m. with horse judging and registration for the Spring Lake Animal Shelter Fun Dog Show at 11 a.m. The show will start at noon.

The carnival opens at 11 a.m.

JW Custom Carvings demonstrations will be from noon to 8 p.m.

Team Extreme Motocross will have shows at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5 p.m.

In the grandstands will be the American Speed Association (ASA) Midwest Tour Race. Practice starts at noon with time trials to follow at 4 p.m.

The ASA race begins at 6 p.m. There will be a 50-50 drawing during the event.

U.S. Rep. Bart Stupak, D-Menominee, will be at the fair all day Sunday and plans to watch the ASA race.

Homemaker of the Year will be announced at 1 p.m.

The Ladies Day Demonstration is from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m.

Horseshoe Pitch Singles will start at 1 p.m. and horse speed events will be at 2 p.m.

Youth Day is Monday

Tickets for carnival rides are half price 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. The carnival continues until 5 p.m.

Team Extreme Motocross shows are at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m. JW Custom Carvings demonstrations are from 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Truck pull weigh-in is at 8 a.m. with truck pulls in the grandstands at 11:30 a.m.

Registration for the 4-H Council fun horse show is at 8 a.m. and the show is at 9 a.m.

Horseshoe pitch doubles and 4-H Style Show and demonstrations are at 1 p.m.

Nikki Younk's e-mail address is



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