Thursday, August 27, 2009

CARTOON OF THE WEEK: Michigan State Fair - the End of a 161 Year Run?

The News-Herald - February 8, 2009
This "Cartoon of the Week" first ran in The News-Herald more than six months ago - in February - when Governor Granholm announced that there would no longer be any budget subsidy available for the Michigan State Fair. News-Herald Editor Karl Ziomek and I share the same summer-end memories of the State Fair growing up and we agreed to this cartoon comment on the prospect of the State Fair going away.

Well, here we are at the end of another summer - number 161 for the State Fair - and we are facing the very real prospect that this is, indeed, the last Michigan State Fair. So, as a tribute to that wonderful tradition I'm re-posting this cartoon.

I'll be at the Fair with my kids, eating corndogs, drinking lemonade, riding the Tilt-A-Whirl, and petting farm animals, just like I've done for the past 50 summers. I'll look for you!
That's the point!

Off the Drawing Board: The Michigan State Fair was a part of my life for as long as I can remember. As a kid, I'd go with my parents and gawk at enormous vegetables, pet animals that I never saw in my Downriver neighborhood, and gobble those gloriously greasy, sugary elephant ears! My dad always gravitated to the new car exhibits and he'd always get himself a new yardstick as he wandered throught the Michigan Mart building. Mom always looked at the baked goods and the knitting and lamented, "I should have entered something this year!"

My favorite "Fair summer" was in 1972 - it was the longest Michigan State Fair ever, 22 days - and I got a job working it! Not a glamorous post, the midway workers got all the attention of the young girls who came to the Fair, I had a somewhat less attractive assignment in the Poultry and Rabbit House. But I was still a Fair worker - with a "State of Michigan" badge and everything! I got to see the Fairgrounds in the misty early morning and I was there late into the night as the animals - and the midway - were bedded down. That's the summer it became MY State Fair. And it always will be.

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