CHESANING — The Saginaw County Fair is coming back — after scaling down drastically last year during the pandemic — with new offerings and high hopes for a big 108th year.
The fair, set for 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Aug. 3-7 at 11350 W. Peet Road, will feature the full range of attractions, from midway to animal exhibits to grandstand events.
“We are absolutely planning for a full fair,” Rachael Wirostek, the fair’s executive director, said Wednesay. “It feels good to continue our tradition. I couldn’t be happier.”
Like many other summer festivals this year, which have seen record attendance, Wirostek feels confident the Saginaw County Fair will draw a lot of attendees next month.
“We are hoping, for sure, that the fair will be bigger and better than ever because of the lack of opportunity before to do things together,” she said.
With no state COVID-19 restrictions currently in place, Wirostek said those who want to wear face masks of course may do so, but they are not required. If state restrictions tighten, the fair will implement appropriate rules, she said.
So, what’s new this year? For one thing, there will be a Pumpkin Patch Biergarten tent — the first beer tent at the Saginaw County Fair since moving to Chesaning in 2002.
Another new event: No Limit Motorsports, with support from sponsor Garber Chevrolet Buick, is bringing SXS/UTV racing to the grandstand at 7 p.m. Aug. 5. There will be racing classes, including for children, beforehand.
“It’s an opportunity for any level of skill or experience to compete,” Wirostek said.
In addition, country radio station WCEN-FM 94.5 is hosting a county fair talent search at 7 p.m. Aug. 3 in the grandstand. There are two categories of the competition, for 16 years old and under and over 16.
The winners of each age group at the Saginaw County Fair — along with winners from other county fair talent searches around the state — will be invited to compete at the state level Aug. 21 at the Ogemaw County Fair.
County fair winners receive a prize package worth over $100 and finalist winners get prize packages worth over $250.
“This is going to be huge,” Wirostek said, adding on Facebook: “We know Saginaw County has the winner, let’s show them what we’ve got.”
One more new item: the Custer Cowboys will conduct a mounted shooting display in the horse arena at 7 p.m. Aug. 4.
“They are phenomenal — super-amazing to watch,” she said.
What the fair won’t have this is a Bingo tent, because the organizers were unable to recruit enough volunteers. Maybe next year, she said.
A slew of old favorites are coming back, including the Big Rock Amusements midway and carnival, and fireworks blasting off every night of the fair at 10 p.m.
Animal Oasis will once again put on a petting zoo featuring exotic animals. In previous years, Michigan’s largest petting farm has brought alligators, camels and birds of prey to the fair. There will be pony rides, and goats and sheep to feed.
The Saginaw County Fair has always been highlighted by open and youth animal exhibits, and this year is no exception. There will be youth horse shows every day, Wirostek said. A market animals auction will take place on Friday, with proceeds going to livestock department improvements.
Well over 100 volunteers put on the fair each year. Wirostek herself began volunteering seven years ago, when her daughter began showing horses.
“It takes an army of us to make it happen,” she said. “We’re overly grateful for all of their time.
“We are one family, and we are one mission.”
For details about events, find the Saginaw County Fair on Facebook.