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Friday, April 25, 2014

What is Open Class???

Do have a talent that you may never have considered a talent?  Do you can the vegetables and fruit from your garden? Do you bake your Great Aunt Florence's Upside Down Pineapple Cake for every Holiday and the attendees rave every time? Do you draw, paint, or write for a fun past time? How about sew, crochet, knit, or scrapbook?  All of these plus so much more can be entered into the Fowlerville Family Fair under "Open Class".  In Open Class you do not have to be a part of any club, group or organization. Even if you are, individualization is key in Open Class from youth to adult.

Open class entries are available for Youth and Adults.  If you are 65 years of age and over, age has it's benefits at the Fair! Because of your achievement in years you are now eligible for a FREE entry. Everyone under 65 years old, you will one day have your added benefit, for now, the fee is $10 for up to 25 entries! Yes 25 different crafts, foods, vegetables, and so much more. For $10.00 you will not only receive the luxury of showing off your hard work, you will also receive a week long gate admission pass to the fair. Everyone receives this pass regardless of age.

How do you enter you ask? I will tell you!  The first week of May stop into the Fair Office or one of the several business listed at the end of this post to pick up an entry book. Thumb through the available classes fill out the form in the back of the book and turn into the fair office with payment where applicable. New this year, on line entries! Enter all classes and pay fees via the link on our web site.  If you have any questions, please feel free to call us. We will walk you through it! The fair office also has designated computers set up in the office for those that do not have the access to Internet for on line entries. Non-animal (Home Arts) entry forms are due July 1st. Projects to be turned in July 17th for judging.

Open Class also has livestock classes for Dairy Cattle, Beef Cattle, and Sheep. Entry fees for those are more complex. There is still the $10 entry fee although a per head fee and stall fee are in addition. A complete list of rules and pricing can be found on the Fair's website or in the Entry Book.

Bragging rights between farmers is what created fairs to begin with. Why not keep the tradition alive and enter into the fair your works of wonder? Your very own Bragging Rights to your friends and family about the Blue Ribbons and premium check you received!  Oh did I forget to mention the premium check??? That is right, we pay you for every ribbon you receive! Can you believe it? Awards and money! Why wait until next year? Enter now for your chance in the Best of Show showcase!

Open Class Books Available
 at following sponsor's locations after the first week of May:
Midtown Service: Fowlerville
The Roost: Howell
State Farm: Fowlerville
Harmon Real Estate: Fowlerville
Fowlerville Family Fair
Livingston County 4-H Extension Office: Howell


Monday, April 21, 2014

Working Along With Always Something to Do.

Diligently trudging along, all with the same common goal... FAIR WEEK. Some have inside paper work, some have grounds work, and building repair, some feeding animals, some working on projects of sorts, sewing, gluing, knitting, painting...

With the ever continuing chilled weather it is difficult to keep summer on mind. It makes it seem further away than it really is. With only a mere 91 days left until the opening of the 128th annual Fowlerville Family Fair, some are starting to feel the pressure. Some of us do not even have that many days to prepare as the work must be completed long before the start.
There are some aspects that are coming together nicely, and others, well... the fair will happen whether we are ready or not.

The new and improved website is up and running now. There are a few things left to fix, and add, but all in all we are happy with this change. Thank you to a wonderful "Friend of the Fair" for completing this for us in such a stressful time. While visiting the website, make sure you sign up for our email update list.

A few events happening at the grounds:

April 26th, Saturday the Grand Equestrian 4-H Therapeutic Riders Program will be holding a Scrap Metal Drive. This fundraiser has been a huge success in the past and will allow the TRP to continue the program for special need youth in Livingston County. The scrap metal drop off is at the Fairgrounds on Saturday April 26th from 10:00am - 3:00pm. Bring old scrap metal (anything large or small) to DONATE for recycling. Please NO refrigerators, freezers, or air conditioners.  If you have any questions, please call Dortha Bugard 517-521-3570.

April 27th, Sunday LCRC is hosting a Radio Controlled Swap Meet. Anything RC operated will be available, along with parts and pieces. Anyone is welcome to shop or watch demonstrations. The Swap is open 9:00am - 2:00pm. Spaces to rent are still available. There is a $5 gate fee 15 and under are free and Military & Veterans are free with identification.

May 3-4 VMCCA Auto Swap Meet. Vendors fill the grounds with wonderful treasures.

May 15 Farm Bureau Ag Awareness Day.  1000 3rd grade students from around Livingston County travel to the fairgrounds for a day long Agricultural Education.

May 17 4-H Indoor/Outdoor Garage Sale.  Tables can be rented for $25 and is open to the public with free admission.  The $25 fee is a 4-H fundraiser.

May 31 - Wal-Mart of Fowlerville Community Event with all proceeds to benefit the Children's Miracle Network. 2pm-5pm a wonderful Family Event!

Please feel free to contact the fair office for more information. 517-223-8186 or


Thursday, April 10, 2014

What you probably never knew...

Thursday, April 10, 2014

   We receive the same questions regarding the operations of the fairgrounds and how operation funds are received, on a regular basis. Without proper information, rumors begin, and before long the misinformation causes ill feelings. The Fowlerville Family Fair strives to create great feelings and build wonderful relationships within the community. We are YOUR fair.


     The Fowlerville Family Fair is operated under the direction of the Fowlerville Agricultural Society Board of Directors. The Board of Directors are elected through the general membership at the annual meeting held in the first week of November. General membership is open to any Michigan resident willing to pay $25.00 for a three year period. The Board of Directors serve a three year term without term limitations and are a group of 15 with an added position from the Livingston County 4-H that serves as a liaison and receives full voting rights. Executive Board positions are an annual term with no term limits. The Board of Directors operated under Articles of Association and has Bylaws in place.
      In Michigan there is two different kinds of fairs. One is a Michigan Act 11 of 1929 Fair. An act 11 fair is a one that operates under the direction of the county in which it is located and often times a line item is set in the county's budget to assist in operations of the fairgrounds, both off season and for fair. The fairgrounds under Act 11 is owned by the county.

     The other kind of fair is the Michigan Act 80 of 1855 Fair. This is a Agricultural or Horticultural Society that usually operates as a not for profit organization. Most often there is not county or local funds that support the fair and grounds. The fairgrounds are either owned by the society or the society rents the grounds to hold the fair. The Fowlerville Family Fair is an Act 80 of 1855 Fair, and owns the fairgrounds. In 2009 the State chose to discontinue funding for all fairs in Michigan. Most of the 88 fairs in Michigan are like the Fowlerville Family Fair and operate solely on earned income. Earned income can come from renting the facility, sponsorships/donations, fair admission and winter storage.  In 2012 the State voted to place a line item into the budget for fairs, although it is done as a competitive grant for matching funds to be utilized as capital improvements to the grounds and must benefit the community in some way.

     Not all fairs are 4-H and FFA associated. After the loss of premium monies from the state in 2009 many chose to go with an Open Fair where association to either organization was not required. Fowlerville chose to maintain their relationship with the Livingston County 4-H. With this decision the costs of having 4-H on grounds increased but the hand off is educating the youth of the county in Agriculture and Home Arts.

    What we do on an annual basis is for the community. The majority of operations are completed by volunteers whom give hundreds of hours on an annual basis and truly have the fair in their best interest.

With this week being National Volunteer Appreciation Week, 
YOU make this all possible, and are irreplaceable.

Ladies Day 2012 - National Anthem Observance
Check back soon. Great things to come!
Find Your Happy in 101 Days!

Friday, April 4, 2014

The Beginning of the End - April 4, 2014

The Beginning of the End
Friday, April 4, 2014

Pre-Fair is always the most stressful within this industry.  We have more deadlines than anyone could ever imagine, and they are set so far out of the fair week that sometimes it becomes difficult to get into that mode.  That is if you do not live, eat and breath everything fair. For those of us that do, every week can be a fair week. It is what we strive so hard for all year and our worlds practically revolve around the fair. This happens throughout the globe The fair name may change and the faces are different, possibly and likely different times of the year, but at heart we are all the same.

To give a peek into our world and to allow you to see what it takes in the day to day struggles and achievements of working and managing the Fowlerville Family Fair.

We begin planning for fair before the current fair is even over. Deadlines begin in November for the following year. The majority of entertainment is booked and contracts signed before the end of January. Vendor contracts are all reviewed and mailed out the last week of January and simultaneously taxes are completed for the previous year.

February brings a team of sponsor seeking enthusiasts, entry book revisions, and more vendor reviews. Board of Director monthly meetings are more intense and the contracts are being buttoned up. The phone calls flood the office in booking off fair events and rentals from weddings to stunt shows.

By the time March is wrapped up, the majority of the calendar is full with events nearly every weekend, some being private party events and some public events. The fairgrounds operates full time from April through October. April is Winter Storage removal and they return in October.

The Fowlerville Family Fair employs only one full time year round employee, and up to five seasonal part time employees that cover both the grounds and office. These employees usually begin work in May and are complete with their duties by the end of September, sometimes sooner.

I am often asked what my favorite and least favorite part of working for the fair and until recently I could only answer my favorite then I realized that they go hand in hand. My favorite is the fact that I and the many volunteers and staff create memories for thousands of people for a living. The least favorite part is that every fair every year must come to an end.