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Monroe County Fair Preview

Monroe County Fair Parade

Monroe County Fair
3775 S Custer Road
Monroe, MI 48161
(734) 241-5775

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.

Related: Best Casual Art Classes In Detroit

Crochet Flower
(credit: Anton Anderssen)


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.

(credit: Thinkstock)

Culinary Arts

Many people in the Monroe county heartlands are vegetarian, preferring organically-grown fruits and vegetables with an emphasis on garden-fresh taste and earth-friendly processing. There are a myriad of awards given by the Monroe County Fair for culinary arts. Visitors will see old-fashioned blue ball canning jars filled with red sour cherries, Michigan beets, red raspberry jam, crab-apple jelly, corn relish and every vegetable imaginable. There will be an army of chiffon cakes, spice cakes, carrot cakes, brownies, old-fashioned fudge, toll house cookies and strawberry-rhubarb pies, all made from scratch. The aroma of freshly-baked breads fill the exhibit halls, showcasing the epitome of hand-mixed, homemade goodness.

Billy Currington


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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Cotton Candy
(credit: Thinkstock)


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.

Drew Embosrsky
(credit: Anton Anderssen)


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.

Romero Anton Montalban-Anderssen is the winner of the 2009 first prize in journalism from the Detroit Working Writers Organization. He earned a Juris Doctor degree from Wayne State University School of Law. He has seasonal residency in Detroit Michigan, The Italian Riviera, and Honolulu Hawaii. His work can be found at

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