Six Things to See at the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair

The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair is happening next weekend, August 30 – September 2 at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi. Today, Blair Bowman, proprietor of the venue, fills us in on what makes this event one you don’t want to miss.

There is a powerful groundswell of strong “can-do” attitude that has been growing across Michigan these past few years, as a community we are being compelled to re-think many old ideas about the way our missions are accomplished. We believe that the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair is a prime example of this paradigm shift. The original Michigan State Fair was one of the state’s most venerable traditions and public sector events, since 1905—but in recent years it had struggled financially and was eventually discontinued.

At nearly the exact same time, however, a new grass-roots movement toward–and interest in–the great natural resources, agriculture, cottage industry food and beverages, farm-to-table produce and similar endeavors has been dawning across the state. As many old career paths have shifted or ended, waves of new businesses are being born here. The new Michigan State Fair is now being produced as a private sector event at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi, with title sponsor Fifth Third Bank, with no state funding involved. The Fair’s aim is to celebrate and encourage the fresh new direction of the Michigan Agriculture Industry, while also maintaining the beloved traditions of our grand old State Fair.

Here are six things you don’t want to miss:

  • Live entertainment at the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair features talented Michigan sons Marshall Crenshaw, George Bedard and Stewart Francke, as well as a full schedule of entertainers hailing from all across the state.
  • The Shrine Circus at the State Fair, presented by Bright House Networks, features the most famous circus family in the world, the Flying Wallendas!
  • The 2013 Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair will feature a farmers’ market offering locally grown produce for the first time.
  • The State Fair Beer Garden will be pouring Griffin Claw of Birmingham, Vander Mill Cider of Spring Lake, Kuhnhenn Brewing Company and Dragon Mead from Warren and North Peak Brewing Company of Traverse City, courtesy of Powers Distributing.
  • The 2013 Fair will offer more carnival rides in the newly expanded Arnold Amusements Midway, presented by Wal-Mart.
  • One of the most popular, longtime attractions of the Michigan State Fair has been the Butter Cow, a feat of dairy sculpture like no other! The 2013 Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair is very pleased to welcome the return of the Butter Cow, created by Mr. Tom Paul Fitzgerald, of Almont, retired instructor of art sculpting from Wayne State University. Mr. Fitzgerald was the sculptor of the Butter Cow for 18 previous years at the Michigan State Fair.

The Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair has also announced that in collaboration with the Detroit Shriners and the Metropolitan Detroit Convention & Visitors Bureau, the Fair will award $10, 000 in educational scholarship funds to deserving youth in cities across the state. The Urban Youth Agriculture Scholarship Program is aimed at increasing involvement and awareness of youth agriculture programs, and to promote farming, agriculture, and livestock management within the great state of Michigan. Details of all the Fair scholarship programs and applications are available on the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair website.

Read more about the Fifth Third Bank Michigan State Fair on and let us know if you’ll be there!

Blair Bowman is the proprietor of the Suburban Collection Showplace, Diamond Conference Center and brand new Hyatt Place Hotel on Grand River Avenue in Novi, Michigan.

Brick Loads of LEGO Fun Come to Michigan [Plus a Giveaway!]

LEGO KidsFest, a giant traveling LEGO expo, is coming to Michigan for the first time this weekend, October 12 – 14. Today, Aaron Wartner, part of the LEGO KidsFest national tour’s production team, fills us in on this fun event.

Read about it below and be sure to see how you can win tickets to LEGO KidsFest in Novi at the bottom of the post.

Ready your building skills!  The LEGO® KidsFest national tour is stopping for the very first time in Michigan, October 12 – 14, 2012, at the Suburban Collection Showplace in Novi.  This event brings all of the creative hands-on, minds-on fun of LEGO building and experiences together in this three acre activity- and entertainment-packed family event for children of all ages and builders of all skills and interests.

The LEGO KidsFest is a highly interactive experience covering over 150,000 square feet of space.  The event includes LEGO product-based activities as well as activities that can only be had at the LEGO KidsFest.  Here are some highlights:

  • LEGO Model Gallery: dozens of life-sized models made entirely from LEGO bricks
  • LEGO Master Builders: live demonstrations and activities from the crew who get paid to play
  • Creation Nation: build your own creation to add to a custom map of the U.S.
  • Race Ramps: build your own custom car, then race it down the ramp against friends and family
  • LEGO Games Arena: roll the dice to play LEGO board games
  • Construction Zones: creative free build, play and display areas
  • LEGO DUPLO®: younger visitors can explore imagination through building
  • Brick Pile: a gigantic pile full of LEGO bricks for creative play and enjoyment
  • Monochromatic Builds: bricks of a single color to foster group creativity
  • Brickscapes: fantastic displays that combine lots of LEGO and DUPLO sets

Any family who likes to be inspired, get hands-on and have fun together won’t want to miss LEGO KidsFest.  We’re bringing so many activities for Michigan families to test and showcase their creativity and building skills in what is sure to be a family event to remember.

The event began in 2009 in Connecticut, the North American headquarters for LEGO Systems.  The initial idea was to offer a unique LEGO experience for those who live nearby.  We expected 5,000 attendees; 25,000 showed up.  The enthusiasm for the event brought us to the idea of a national tour.  There are a limited number of tour stops each year, and it is rare for us to repeat a market in a consecutive year; Michigan will be our 14th show since we got started four years ago.

Each LEGO KidsFest tour stop is a massive undertaking:  all the bricks and models need to be shipped in and set up; partnerships with various local organizations are established; about twenty representatives of LEGO Systems and the LEGO KidsFest come in to town; and local staff is hired to ensure an excellent visitor experience.

In Michigan, the LEGO KidsFest is pleased to be working with several local organizations, including The Robot Garage, Michigan Science Center, Visit Detroit, Pure Michigan, The Henry Ford, City of Novi, and the LEGO Store at Somerset Collection.

More information on the event is available at

Fun LEGO facts:

    • LEGO is the contraction of two Danish words, “leg godt” which means “play well”
    • There are 915 million ways to combine six eight-stud LEGO bricks
    • More than 400 billion LEGO® bricks have been produced since 1949
    • The LEGO minifigure represents the world’s largest population of people!
    • With a production of about 306 million tires produced a year, the LEGO group is the largest producer of tires in the world

Discover more at LEGO KidsFest this weekend! Tickets are selling out fast, so we’re excited to give you the chance to win two family four packs of tickets to LEGO KidsFest to two lucky fans who tell us in the comments below why their family wants to go to this event. Submit your comments (along with your email address) by tomorrow, Tuesday, October 9th at 11:59 p.m. EST. At that time, we’ll randomly select two winners and send each their prize. We’ll contact you using the email address you provide (we won’t share it or sell it to anybody). Only one submission per person, please. Also, please note that these tickets will be good for the Friday, October 12th session only.

Aaron Wartner is with the LEGO KidsFest national tour. He has been building with LEGO bricks for over 30 years.