Marion Fair begins June 17, includes week-long fun

MARION – As the Marion Fair draws near, fair board president Howard McCrimmon is confident people will be pleased with a slew of excellent ‘happenings’ at the week-long, annual event yet again.

The 73rd year of “the Family Fun Fair” will feature popular favorites such as a horse show, country concert, demolition derby and numerous free activities for the youngest fair-goers.

“It will be fun. It always is,” McCrimmon said. “That’s why we call it the fun fair.”

The fair will run from June 17 to 23, with the large grandstand events such as the gospel concert “The Calvary Men” from 7 to 9 p.m. on June 17, the farm stock tractor pull at 6:30 p.m. on June 19 and the Super Kicker Rodeo at 7:30 p.m. on June 21.

The fair’s largest draw is the country concert, McCrimmon said, and the fair is known for showcasing up-and-comers on their way to making it big.

This year, country music artist David Nail will take the grandstand stage at 8 p.m. on June 23.

The concert is one stop in Nail’s summer tour which includes a performance at the Country Music Hall of Fame in Nashville, the Tupelo Elvis Festival in Mississippi and numerous fairs and festivals from Wyoming to Maine.

“We always have young talent who are not fairly known. They take off after they’re here,” McCrimmon said.

In the past, the country concert has featured Lady Antebellum, Toby Keith, Tim McGraw, Jason Aldeen, LeAnn Rimes, Little Texas, Billy Gillman and more.

Though ticket sales are down slightly from last year, McCrimmon expects many tickets to be sold in the remaining days and at the concert.

A special, running up until the day of the concerts, offers one free grandstand ticket to those who purchase three.

“Thats quite a lot of savings for people,” McCrimmon said. “We’re trying to help them out.”

Tickets for the concert can be purchased at Drouse Chiropractic in Evart; at Lake Osceola State Bank in Reed City; at McCrimmon Farm and Feeds in Marion; at Saturn Gem and The Music Station in Cadillac; at The Missaukee Sentinel in Lake City; and by calling the Marion Fair box office at (231) 743-6451.

Many family-friendly activities will be available during the week.

“We’ve got a lot of activities for the kids. We’ve got games on several days and Christmas in July on Saturday,” McCrimmon said. “Those are all free for kids.”

A family fun and games session will be held on Tuesday at 5 p.m. in the arena. On Thursday, kids can enjoy free games and contests at noon and a scavenger hunt at 5 p.m. A free kid’s pedal pull will be held at 1 p.m. on Friday.

The Marion Fair will also feature the traditional midway with carnival rides and attractions provided by Schmidt Amusements.

Along with the usual favorites, the Marion fair board has made some changes in the schedule this year.

Absent from the lineup this year will be the celebrity milking contest. The board decided not to hold the contest this year after Mike Lee, who was a fair board member for 30 years and in charge of the contest, retired this year.

Another change made this year will be the addition of a cowboy supper for an additional $3 during the Super Kicker Rodeo at 7:30 p.m. on June 21

Available at the supper will be roast pork sandwich, beans and a biscuit.

“You don’t have to buy the dinner to get in, you can buy just the rodeo ticket for $12,” McCrimmon said. “We’re trying it out this year to see how it goes.”

McCrimmon said he has high hopes for this year’s fair as long as the weather cooperates. The “monsoon” that fell on last year’s activities dampened fair event participation, and he hopes that will not happen this year.

For more information and a complete schedule of events, call the Marion Fair box office at (231) 743-6451 or visit www.marionfair.com.