The Ingham County fairgrounds has some exciting plans in the upcoming future. New improvements are being made in hopes for a large turnout for the annual fair along with weekend activities throughout the year.
The events director of the Ingham County Fairgrounds, Lindsey McKeever, has recently received news that the fair will be granted $2.5 million from the government to do construction on the grandstands along with other improvements. A new advertising group has also paired with the fairgrounds, Noise New Media will help promote the fair and gain more income.
In 2016 the original grandstand, built in the 1930’s, was demolished due to structural deficiencies. Construction for the new grandstand is set to begin in the next few months and be accomplished by late 2024 and fully open by the time the fair comes around in 2025.
“With the new facility and advertisement, it will allow us to hold more events and have something to do here besides horse shows,” said McKeever.
In 2022, the fair had 27,083 visitors despite having to cancel an event due to weather. Friday alone had 7,937 visitors and the carnival had its highest gross revenue in ride sales.
This summer, the plans are bigger and better. The fair will be having its first full week of events in the grandstands. Events include a monster truck show and fundraiser, a demolition derby, high school marching band performances, a Taylor Swift cover band, a Tracy Bird performance, and motocross. Along with these events, Mondays will be dollar days and this will be the first time the fair has opened on Mondays since 2019.
The expected attendance is 8,000 visitors per day. With the promotion through Noise New Media, digital ads will take 50% of the advertising budget to increase online ticket sales. The rest will go to local businesses.
County Commissioner Monica Schafer supports the fairground improvements. “When I had heard that there was a chance for the fair improvements, I wanted to jump on it because it serves such a purpose with our youth. I am excited for how many things are coming and how many weekends are getting filled,” said Schafer.
The master plan for the fairgrounds is to include an equestrian center, open channel drainage system, removal of the “hoop house,” and a more centralized midway along with the new grandstand.
Construction will limit summer campsites. Prices for a site have been raised from $12 to $13. This means the fair will lose only $2,500 compared to $8,000, according to McKeever.
Todd Tennis, chairperson for the human services committee said the construction is a brilliant way to create usage while raising money for the Fair Foundation that helps support the fair.