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Kalamazoo County Fair website

Fair Ground, 2900 Lake Street
Kalamazoo, MI 49048-5822

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From I-94, take EXIT 80, SPRINKLE Road NORTH, and
 continue past three stop lights - then turn LEFT
 on Business Loop I-94. Turn RIGHT on LAKE street
 and follow signs to the Fair Ground

The Kalamazoo County Fair has been an important county event since 1846

click on links to see photos !

Recreation Park, Race Track and Fair Buildings, home of the Kalamazoo County Fair.    Early in the 20th Century, Recreation Park was an important venue on the horse racing circuit with weekly race.  The county fair was held at a number of locations before it was moved to Recreation Park.

Photographs from the 2000 Kalamazoo County Fair


The carnival area
Fair and Castle  Ferris Wheel Candy Castle Candy Castle #2

click on links to see photos !

Animal Husbandry 
Tent and Carriages Sheep Horse Washing

Early Farm Equipment
Equipment #1 Equipment #2

Note the long belt running from the tractor to the harvesting machine.  This was the power take off feature of tractors in that era.  It allowed the tractor to power other equipment.  Power was "taken off" from the riding wheels and switched to another wheel or shaft.

click on links to see photos !

Carnival Rides
 Here are a few views from the August, 2006 Fair contributed by Christopher Hurley
Logo  Enterprize
Orbiter Zipper, Sizzler, Ring Of Fire Polar Express

2009 Midway Area Night Shot
Taken by Terrence Alexander

Kalamazoo county Fairground to get three million plus in upgrades

Kalamazoo Gazette

Wednesday, June 21, 2006
By Cedric Ricks
cricks@kalamazoogazette.com 388-8557

Kalamazoo County officials Tuesday night approved a 10-year master plan that calls for $3.3 million worth of renovations for the Kalamazoo County Fairground and a new name for the property.

But questions were raised by some about plans to add exposition space at the fairground, especially since the Midlink Business Park in Comstock Township is considering converting part of its space into an expo center. Whether the market can support more expo space and how it would be funded also were questioned.

David Rachowicz, county parks director, said the renovations at the 125-acre fairground property, located on Lake Street, would be funded over a 10-year period and start this year. Improvements will include upgrades to current buildings, construction of outdoor restrooms, building a new 4-H office with concession stand and upgrading the property's electrical wiring for future expansions.

Rachowicz said the plan proposes expanding the number of fairground campsites to 325 from 55. The property's west yard area will be improved and a new outdoor event area will replace the fairground's horse track. The plan also proposes spending $3.79 million to nearly double the more than 37,000 square feet of exposition and office space, to 73,000 square feet.
The renovations, excluding the possible additional expo space, will be funded out of the $254,000 in accommodation taxes the county gives the parks department each year, along with funds the parks department has on hand, grants and donations.

Annually, Kalamazoo County raises about $1.7 million through the accommodation tax, a charge that visitors to the county pay when staying in motels or hotels. The county's general fund won't be tapped for any of the improvements.

The property will be renamed the Kalamazoo County Expo Center & Fairground.

Some improvements for parking and reconfiguration of roads on the fairground property will also be part of the renovations, Rachowicz said.

Rachowicz said the master plan also calls for making $246,000 in streetscape improvements on Lake Street. He said he is looking for grants to fund those improvements.

The plan was generally well-received by county officials, but it did draw concerns from representatives of the Kalamazoo County Convention and Visitors Bureau and Midlink Business Park because of the plan to add exposition space at the fairground.

Wayne Kruger, chairman of the Convention and Visitors Bureau, said a feasibility study should be done to assure the area can support additional exposition space at the county fairground property.

Although the county's hotel tax is used to promote tourism, the lion's share -- $1.3 million -- goes to the Convention and Visitors Bureau.

County Commissioner Deb Buchholtz-Hiemstra told Kruger that the county had no plan to change the percentage of accommodation tax that the Convention and Visitors Bureau receives.

Rachowicz said the plan for more expo space is only a conceptual idea that needs community backing to become a reality. ``We think there is a need here in the county for the additional space,'' he said before the meeting.

Pattijean McCahill, marketing director for Midlink, said the business park is looking at consumer shows that would need anywhere from 80,000 to 100,000 square feet of exposition space. Officials at Midlink started thinking seriously about an expo center after the business park successfully hosted the Home Expo back in March, she said.

County Administrator Don Gilmer questioned whether Midlink should be considering using space in its business park for an expo center, instead of new businesses. He said Midlink is also part of a Michigan Renaissance Zone, which permits tenants to have their taxes abated.

``I'm sure this community wants to know whether or not this Renaissance Zone that we are fortunate to have in our community will be utilized to attract real jobs that are going to be permanent, good-paying and ongoing,'' Gilmer said.

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