U.P. State Fair saw record-breaking visitors at 2021 fair

South Central UP
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ESCANABA, Mich. (WJMN) – The U.P. State Fair reported record-breaking attendance this year with a total of 97,057 visitors.

The increase is 3% greater than attendance in 2019.

“So many people deserve to take credit for a very successful fair”, said Vickie Micheau, executive director of the Delta Chamber of Commerce who manages the fair. “The dedication and commitment of the U.P. State Fair Authority members, exhibitors, volunteers, sponsors, vendors, Skerbeck Entertainment Group, employees and, most importantly, Mother Nature’s cooperation, simply can’t be overstated.”

The fair is mostly outdoors and attendance can be affected if there is rain. Skerbeck Entertainment Group saw a 30 percent increase on their carnival rides. Mega band sales, a pass that allows unlimited rides during the fair, sold out two weeks earlier than usual.

“It was a very fast sellout,” said Sonja Skerbeck, co-owner and director of marketing of Skerbeck Entertainment Group. “It was a leading indicator to me that a lot of people had interest in coming out and enjoying themselves at the fair.”

Gold Circle ticket sales sold our for Josh Turner on Friday night and Buckcherry on Saturday. On Sunday night visitors watched UPIR racing and the closing fireworks display.

The grandstands also hosted the Junoir Livestock Sales to allow for more space due to COVID-19 concerns. The auction raised over $491,000 for the youth exhibitors.

Skerbeck had invested funds before the pandemic in two new major rides and office
facilities. There was a great turnout in the grandstands, presented by the Island Resort and
Casino, each entertainment night at the fair. Gold Circle ticket sales sold out for Josh
Turner on Friday night and Buckcherry on Saturday. The stands filled on Sunday night
for the UPIR racing and the closing fireworks display.
The grandstands were also used to hold the Junior Market Livestock Sales to allow more
space for COVID-19 concerns. The auction raised more than $491,000 for the youth
exhibitors.

“We had a great crowd, great support for our youth exhibitors. I’m very proud of their
hard work,” said Ed McBroom, chair of the U.P. State Fair Authority.

Michaeu said the fair is important to the overall economy of Delta County and much of the Upper Peninsula.

“This drives the commitment of generous sponsors and U.P. leadership to maintain the existence of the fair and contributes to the pride local communities show by their participation and support,” she said.

Fewer workers impacted the fair this year. Micheau says Scouts and other volunteers stepped in to help get the fairgrounds ready. Additionally, there were issues with handicap parking and accessibility which will be addressed in the coming year by a task force and internet communications issues that arose from the new electronic ticketing system.

McBroom says he considers the fair to be a great success.

“We continue to grow the fair every year. We have a lot of dreams of what we can do to
draw even more people and keep growing the whole event,” said McBroom.

Monday, Tuesday, Friday and Sunday were record setting days for 2021. In 2022, the fair will be held on August 15 – 21.

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