Blog 5: Just Another Day at the Fair

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Speeding rides, fun games and fast food might be a thrill for some, but it was just another day of work those who worked at the fair Saturday, Aug. 6.

After 12 years of working for the Ingham County Fair Grounds, Kimberly Mays said her favorite part of the fair is the tear down. When it came to her motivation to keep working at the fair, her reason was simple:

“My husband is the electrician and I have no choice!”

Despite the rain, at least 1,500 people had showed up to enjoy the festival, according to Mays.

“A lot of people show up no matter what,” Mays said.

With all the towering fair rides and heavy equipment, things can be a little dangerous.

“You have your occasional broken arm, broken leg and stitches,” she said.

Last year, a flagpole fell on her toe when she was handing it up to a co-worker.

“He was up top and I was handing them to him and he didn’t grab one of them and it slipped out of his hands and it got me before I could move,” Mays said.

Outside of that rather dramatic event, things are usually pretty mundane, according to Mays.

“I come out here, I do my job and I go home,” she said.

Kimberly Mays, left and Rachel Ostrander, right


Fellow fair worker, Rachel Ostrander agreed and said, “After so long of being out here, I guess it’s just routine.”

The fair travels all throughout Michigan starting in April and ending in October; the Mason location was the 20th stop, according to Ostrander.

Ostrander said the reason she started working at the fair is because of her fiancé who is a foreman for a couple of the rides at the fair.

“My fiancé has been doing this his whole life, I met him in 2009 and we got together a few months later and decided to come back out to the fair,” she said.

Ostrander said her favorite memory of working for the Ingham County Fair Grounds was celebrating her 21st birthday at the fair.

“I can’t go into too many details about that!” she joked.

The fair is scheduled to travel to 27 locations and Bay City was the busiest location with over 50,000 people in attendance, according to Mays.

“This was my first year going to it–it was packed!” Ostrander said. “There was a non-stop line for hours.”

The revenue generated from a location like Mason would be about $4,000 dollars and at a location like Bay City it would be around $30,000 to $40,000 dollars, according to Mays,

Even though most of those who attended the event were young, the fair provided entertainment for people of all ages.

Ostrander said, “I saw an elderly lady on the Alpine earlier, she was just loving it, she came off laughing!”

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