Michigan, New York and Kentucky State Fairs

Fun Facts about the Michigan, New York and Kentucky State Fairs:

  • According to the Michigan State Fair, it is the oldest state fair in the United States, held 12 years after Michigan was granted statehood, in 1849. James Polk, then Zachary Taylor were our Presidents;
  • And, according to New Yorkers, the New York State Fair is the oldest state fair in the country, held in Syracuse in 1841. They say 10,000 – 15,000 people attended;

The Kentucky State Fair website states that the first state fair was held in New York. Massachusetts held the first fair and stock show in 1816.

State Fairs are Amongst the Most Fun, Safe, Educational and Recreational Family Travel Destinations in the Country.

The best state fairs, in the opinion of the Best State Fairs Guide, have educational events (Michigan), contests (Kentucky) and special days (New York) that celebrate the region’s people, heritage and customs. All over the country, state fairs celebrate that which makes their state special, unique and yes, even weird which is why we consider State Fairs – and those in Michigan, New York and Kentucky – to be amongst the most fun, safe, educational and recreational family travel destinations in the country.

But as we learned when Darrin Gleeman of New York, New York told us about the Ugly Lamp Contest in Kentucky, the unique traditions are what make state fairs the perfect family vacation spots.

While you’re on a road trip or doing the festival tour, take the time to check out these state fairs.

Find an Economical Family Vacation when you visit the Kentucky State Fair by Darrin Gleeman.

“We stopped at the Kentucky State Fair on the way to visit relatives,” says Darrin. “It turned into a three-day stop, and it was still an economical family vacation. Now we can’t wait to go back!” Take a road trip to the Kentucky State Fair for summertime fun with down-home competitions you won’t find anywhere else:

  • The rooster crowing contest is a definite crowd pleaser. My oldest child adored the roosters while my little one cowered into my chest. By default, any rooster that crows the most in 15 minutes wins; (We’re guessing that 15 minutes is the maximum amount of rooster crowing that anyone can stand.)
  • The Ugly Lamp Contest helps you feel better about that old lamp in your home office that you’ve never thrown away. You know what they say, “one man’s trash is another person’s treasure. It’s never been so true here;
  • The Kentucky State fair hosts an annual gospel quartet contest with the winners moving on to a national event to compete;
  • The Kentucky Storytelling Association invites students to spin their favorite yarns; state champs move on to a national competition;
  • The Kentucky State Fair begins the third week of August and runs for 10 days. Over 600,000 people attend each year.

Best Family Vacation Spots: The Great New York State Fair by Dr. Brett Ferdinand.

Brett, a stone’s throw away from New York in Montreal, tells the Guide that “In the old days, the New York State Fair featured really dangerous special events like car racing and stunt flying.” Now one of the safest and best family vacation spots, the fair has a long list of special days that highlight different cultures, occupations and provide educational opportunities, too:

  • Opening day is Governor’s Day, and New York’s Governor makes a special visit to the fair, touring attractions and reviewing competitive displays;
  • Law Enforcement Day at the New York State Fair emphasizes the contributions and the hard work of the NYPD;
  • Fire & Rescue Day teaches the public about the New York Fire Department, allowing visitors a chance to get up close and personal with some of the country’s favorite heroes;
  • Gospel Sunday, Women’s Day, Higher Education Day and Native American Day are just a few of the other special days dedicated to bringing information to the public in a way that’s fun and accessible;
  • The Great New York State Fair is held in Syracuse and begins the third week of August and runs through Labor Day. Over 1 million people attend.

Ideas for an Economical Family Vacation Include the Michigan State Fair by Ed Stevens of Lansing, Michigan.

If you find yourself traveling the great upper Midwest on your family vacation and you’re looking for economical ways to spend time with your kids, consider the Michigan State Fair. Ed tells us that “the fair highlights kids in competitions and events including spectacular baton and dance competitions.” And, the fair provides hands-on learning activities, games and rides for children, making it a favorite family vacation spot every year.

Fun Facts about the Michigan State Fair:

  • The Miracle of Life exhibit, popular at many fairs, is serious business at the Michigan State Fair. In 2006, the fair welcomed more than 500 animal babies including more than 60 piglets!;
  • The Senior of the Year award is held on Senior Day and offers awards for service and leadership to Michigan’s finest senior citizens;
  • The state fair is the oldest in the U.S., after one false start. In 1839, when the fair first opened, only two exhibitors showed! A decade later, the fair was in full swing and it’s never looked back.
  • The fair’s the perfect stop for your road trip this year.
  • The Michigan State Fair, held in Detroit, begins in the third week of August and ends on Labor Day.

We thank our contributors:

  • Darrin Gleeman New York, New York
  • Dr. Brett Ferdinand Montreal, Canada
  • Ed Stevens Lansing, Michigan

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