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In and outs of the political campaigns, focusing on Michigan and Lansing, Tim Skubick will report regularly throughout the primary and then general election campaigns.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Somebody save the State Fair

        At 10 p.m. on Monday night the carnival trucks will haul away the rides, the farmers will pack up their livestock and head for greener pastures, and a tradition that began in 1849 will come to an unceremonious end.
        Or will they really kill the Michigan State Fair?
        All the published reports over this past weekend did everything but kick some dirt on the grave declaring it dead, caput, history.
        Not so fast.
        Sure it does not look good as an October 1st date for boarding up the joint draws nye, but what the papers missed was the llth hour behind the scene maneuvering.
     A 0 "I'm optimistic," beams Mark Gaffney who chairs the soon to be mothballed Michigan State Fair Commission unless he can pull this one off.
     Seems Gaffney and other fair enthusiasts have quietly been talking to the Palace of Auburn Hills and Mike Ilitch of Pizza, Pizza fame.
     "No one is coming to the table yet," Gaffney reports but he is not tossing in the towel either.
      Gaffney is begging the governor to give him just a little more time, but Gov. "I-have-to-shut-the-fair-cause-I-have-no-money" won't budge.
      "It's a chicken and the egg," Gaffney laments expressing major frustration with his governor.  She wants a deal before she grants a stay of execution, but Gaffney needs more time to get the deal.
=C 2     His hope is to convert the 16 4-acre fair grounds into a year around venue with the revenue from that used to reassemble the fair next year.
     Here's the irony.  It will cost the state about $300,000 to maintain the status quo while the search for a savior continues.  It would cost $700,000 to shuttle the place, so some say why not take a gamble.
    The governor appears to be in no gambling mood even though  she has professed to be very pro-Detroit, which of course where the fair grounds are.


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