Chelsea Fair celebrating 75 years with updates, special events
AnnArbor.com file photo
And nowhere is that more true than in Chelsea, which is celebrating its 75th annual community fair this year with an enhanced version of the weeklong event that’s embraced by the entire community.
“We’re doing it up a little bigger than usual this year because of the anniversary,” said Jamie Lane, the fair committee’s assistant secretary. “We’ll have everything people have come to expect, plus a few nice touches to help celebrate the anniversary.
This year’s fair runs from Aug. 21-25 at the Chelsea Fair Grounds on Old US-12, just west of South Main Street.
But how does a community fair celebrate 75 years?
Expect some additional bunting, and a newly decorated hobby barn, as well as a 75th Anniversary square dance to help commemorate the milestone, which is expected to draw at least 75,000 visitors throughout the week.
Perhaps most notably, Lane said, organizers have invited all the past fair queens to the Fair Queen program on Aug. 24. Of the 61 past queens, she said, all but two of those still living have been contacted. Past queens who attend will also be included in the fair’s parade on Aug. 25.
Of course, all the usual attractions will be part of the fair, too, including tractor pulls, livestock judging, lumberjack shows and a nightly bingo tent. As always, the fair’s midway will be provided by North American Amusements, which Lane said is widely recognized as the nation’s top carnival company.
The popular demolition derby events will take place on Aug. 21 and 22, followed by the main attraction, the figure 8 demolition derby, which will take place on Aug. 23.
“That’s the highlight for me,” Lane said. “Not only is it full of action, but it really takes some skill to participate in.”
As other fairs across the state and the region have dwindled during recent decade, Chelsea's fair has remained a vital facet of that community's summer. Lane credited some of that ongoing success to the fact that board members many years ago purchased their own fairgrounds, providing an affordable and reliable setting to stage the event each year.
But the real reason for the ongoing success of the Chelsea Community Fair is spelled out in its title: the Chelsea Community.
“I grew up in Chelsea and the fair was always the culmination of summer,” Lane said. “Back then, we didn’t see our friends very much during the summer, but you knew you’d see them at the fair just as summer was winding down.
“Thank goodness we’ve been able to keep it going and keep it successful for all these years."
Admission to the fair is $7, including free parking. Children 10 and under are free. Check out chelseafair.org for a full schedule of events.