Gates open Tuesday, July 27, for 2021 event

New and traditional rides and games will line the midway, courtesy of Arnold Amusements. All carnival rides and attractions are included in admission.

IMLAY CITY — In less than a week, the 2021 Eastern Michigan State Fair will be underway. This year, unlike in 2020, the annual event will look like its traditional self with a full-fledged midway, grandstand shows, livestock shows, a petting zoo and much more. Due to the pandemic, last year’s event only consisted of a ‘show and go’ showcase for youth exhibitors.

“We’re excited and ready to have a fair,” said Fair Manager Ian Kempf.

The gates open on Tuesday, July 27 and the 2021 fair runs through Saturday, July 31.

Many of the fair’s popular attractions will return but as is usual, there’s a mix of new and reimagined features too.

The fairground’s midway dome will play host to daily magic shows.

“We’ll have a magic show starting at 1 p.m. every day and shows every hour on the hour all day long through 8 p.m.,” Fair Manager Ian Kempf said.

“Several different magicians will be performing throughout the week and then, every night between 9-11 p.m. Elvis will be performing under the dome.”

Another new attraction that’s sure to draw crowds is balloon artist and stilt walker Neil Sauter.

Neil and his dad, Greg, will spend time every day creating huge balloon sculptures, offering balloon twisting clinics for all ages and creating balloon art by request. Neil plans to stroll through the fairground every evening too.

The Flying Pages will return to the fair but with an all-new Thrill Show that features both high wire acts and the Globe of Death, a steel cage structure used to race motorcycles.

Arnold Amusements will bring new rides and games for everyone to enjoy on the midway, including the new OMG ride.

Returning attractions include Sea Lion Splash with multiple shows every day.

“It’s one of our most popular shows at the fair and one of the best traveling acts in the country,” Kempf said.

The grandstand’s schedule of events includes popular shows that always draw enthusiastic crowds. The lineup includes V8 Oval Track Racing on Tuesday, a Bull Rodeo on Wednesday, Figure 8 Trailer Racing on Thursday, Bump-N-Run race on Friday and Demolition Derby on Saturday.

Also returning will be livestock and animal shows plus Thursday’s annual Youth Livestock Auction which starts at 1 p.m. The sale order is hogs, lambs, beef, feeder calves, goats, dairy baskets, rabbits and poultry.

The FFA’s A Living Experience will again offer a chance for families to get up close and personal with farm animals.

Once again, the fair will play host to special guests this year.

On Thursday, July 29, Special Needs Day will be held from 10 a.m. to noon. Participants will be able to stroll the grounds before the gates officially open that day and then enjoy a free lunch provided once again by Imlay City Ford. Unlimited rides will be provided by Arnold Amusements staff.

Thursday is also Veterans Day. From 12-7 p.m., veterans and active duty personnel can enter the fairgrounds for no charge with valid proof of service.

Also returning are Super Saver admission days on Tuesday and Wednesday. Enter through the gates before 2 p.m. those days, and admission is $10. After 2 p.m. the prices goes up to $15 per person.

Daily admission on Thursday is $15 and $20 on Friday and Saturday.

Admission includes parking, grandstand events, carnival rides, all shows and much more.

For more details about the 2021 Eastern Michigan State Fair be sure to check out the special section inserted in this (July 21) edition of the Tri-City Times. Additional copies can be obtained from the Tri-City Times offices.

For more information about the fair, visit or call 810-724-4145.