March 23 • 12:47 PM

Families and fair go hand in hand

About 45,000 people walk through gates at Eastern Michigan Fair to enjoy the week's fun and festivities

Hundreds of families enjoy fair weather and midway fun at Eastern Michigan Fair on Saturday. A few days of rain didn’t dampen attendance numbers. photo by Catherine Minolli.

August 15, 2007
IMLAY CITY — 'Water, water everywhere.' The weather extremes at this year's Eastern Michigan Fair left visitors dodging raindrops while at the same time gulping down bottled water and other drinks. Compounding the steamy temperatures were two days of rain.

Two-legged beings weren't the only ones who needed extra hydration during the week.

Friday afternoon found the Hintz siblings of Lum—Miranda, 11 and Michael, 15—spraying down their hogs with squirt bottles.

"When it gets too hot, they don't get up to drink," Miranda explained.

"They like to kick back in the heat," Michael added.

This was their first year showing hogs in 4-H and both admitted they're hooked on the amiable creatures.

"I'm going to take my auction money from this pig and buy two more for next year," Miranda said excitedly.

Renee Russell, 12 of Metamora, was trying to keep her rabbits, poultry, dogs and sheep cool and participate in multiple shows all in one day.

"I had to jump in between showing my rabbits and poultry on Monday," Russell said.

In other animal barns, large fans kept the livestock cool.

The Morris and DeLaCruz families of Romeo found the best way to keep comfortable was to pace themselves and take advantage of the all day admission price.

"We make a day out of it," Michelle DeLaCruz said while they sat in the shade, enjoying a picnic lunch.

"We won't leave until 10 or 11 tonight."

"You can't go anywhere else for the entertainment or price," Jamie Morris said.

For Elizabeth Morris, the circus was the best part of the day. Sizeable crowds also attended Circus Pages' new shows outside of the tent—the trapeze act and motorbike globe act.

Friends Ellie Boldrey and Sarah Neumann split their allegiance between the fair's standbys.

Mattie Biland, 7, of Lake Orion prepares to make short work of this corndog on Wednesday afternoon.
"I like all the animals," Sarah, 10, of Lapeer said.

"I like all the rides," Ellie, 8, visiting from Indiana, said.

Both girls had been gutsy enough to try just about all of the rides except for the Zipper.

Fair Manager Ian Kempf reported that attendance was about average at 45,000.

"The week went really well despite two days of rain," Kempf said.

Attendance was particularly heavy on Friday and Saturday.

"The new property was great for additional parking," Kempf said of the acreage cleared to the north of the horse arena.

"Everything worked out real well."

Kempf and fair board members had the chance to boast about the organization's history during a special Lapeer County Board of Commissioners meeting Thursday at the grounds.

"We put half the population of Lapeer County through these gates in five days," Kempf said.

Unlike most other fairs in Michigan, Lapeer's is entirely self-supporting and does not rely on subsidization from the county, Kempf pointed out.

Assistant Editor
Castle Creek
03 - 23 - 19
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