Friday, August 12, 2005


The Michigan State Fair is back for its two-week run and I plan on attending -- I suppose.
Whatever happened to our love for the State Fair? During my youth you had to go to the State Fair on 8 Mile and Woodward. The place was packed. The rides were on jam and big-time acts like the Ohio Players rolled into town for concerts.
I remember walking through a pack of people with my grandmother and Aunt and someone mistakenly hit my arm with a cigarette. The person apologized over and over again. My aunt was pissed, but for some reason I remembered that cigarette burn the rest of my life.
It symbolized a State Fair so alive and jammed that there was very little room to maneuver.
Now the State Fair is a shell of what it use to be. I plan on going more to support a childhood love than really wanting to go.
There needs to be some way to breath life back into a Detroit tradition.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Maybe because it is in a horrible area...!?

10:11 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

The area really isn't that bad, and that's coming from a suburb boy for life (literally as east as I go is Waterford, I'm lost after that). The grounds themselves are in shambles, a lot of the buildings are pretty rough, but the area and people are all great. My dad volunteers there every year, and I know there are a lot of dedicated people that make it happen. The problem seems to be just general apathy to the idea sadly. The mystique of seeing baby pigs born isn't as exciting in our Internet connected world as it was in the 40's when T-Foss was a kid...

10:14 AM

Anonymous Darren said...

The Ohio Players!!!!???

Where are my roller skates!!!

11:17 AM

Blogger Ian C. said...

Is everyone too busy clogging up Woodward with their "classic cars" instead?

11:30 AM

Anonymous Anonymous said...

I wonder what percentage of suburbanites "dare" to go into Detroit other than a Lions, Tigers, or Red Wings game anymore. Sadly if you put the fair a couple of miles north I think you'd have a big increase of attendance. What is it about the 8 Mile boarder that scares people? When are we all going to outgrow such a childish attitude?

2:20 PM

Anonymous Darren said...

You go one mile down to 7 and Woodward to Dutch Girl Donuts and get the BEST donuts anywhere ever!!!

9:22 PM

Blogger T Foster said...

We continue to have the great divide. Some folks are scared of 8 Mile. It makes a huge difference in business if you are just a mile north of the street. It is sad. And the State Fair area has some of the nicest homes in the area. Joe Dumars built a Fieldhouse there. A lot of top politicians and business people live in the area. It is nice.

6:37 AM

Blogger T Foster said...

You are right about Dutch Girl donuts. They are classics. I might have to sneak one during my State Fair visit.

6:38 AM

Blogger The_Real_Right_Way said...

State fairs are slowly dying off like the VCR being replaced by the DVD.

If you have been to Cedar Pointe, going to the state fair is like going to a Detroit Casino after coming back from Las Vegas.

The only way to describe it is, "it's an oversized carnival with stinking farm animals."

I think the Fair might still capture those that go for the cotton candy and kiddie rides. And as you have mentioned, the acts have become second rate. Chances are, the Ohio Players are playing this years State Fair. I like the Ohio Players but I'm not sure "Roller Coaster" or "Fire" would sound quite the same.

And finally to make matters worse, the Carny's that used to have 3 teeth now only have a tooth.

12:11 PM

Blogger Joe (Livonia, MI) said...

I am sure part of it is the location. The area isn't bad but it's not great either. There are signs on 8 Mile warning of "decoys" (I don't think they mean duck hunting), and while there are nice homes, there are also areas of blight. And many suburbanites are just plain scared or ignorant of the city.

But then again, is it really a big deal to people anymore? No, because people are far more mobile than they were when t-fos was a kid. His generation went to places like Edgewater when they were kids. They grew up, and when they got decent jobs, they took their kids to Disney and Cedar Pointe. And it's not as if the State Fair is a really great deal--by my estimate, it would cost a family of four $30 to get through the door, and then you haven't paid for any rides or food.

I think it is simply a victim of our changing times, like so many other great Detroit institutions. The State Fair's story is the same as Hudson's or old Joe Muer's or even Tiger Stadium's.

10:18 PM


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