Ionia Free Fair

Committee works to raise $250K for Floral Building at the Ionia Free Fair grounds

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A treasured community landmark on the Ionia Free Fair grounds needs expensive renovations, and a local woman has stepped up to lead efforts to raise the necessary funds.

Ionia City Council extends Free Fair lease

With $100,000 hanging in the balance, the Ionia City Council unanimously approved a second amendment to the lease agreement between the city and the Ionia Free Fair Association.

City Manager Precia Garland told council members at their meeting last Monday that the IFF Association Board plans to apply once again to the Michigan Department of Agriculture and Rural Development (MDARD) for a grant. However, to be eligible, the board must show it will have control of the property for at least five years following the date of the grant award.

2021 Ionia Free Fair turnout ‘phenomenal’

The Ionia Free Fair made a huge comeback July 16-24, one year after the coronavirus pandemic caused its cancellation for the first time since World War II.

“The 10 best days of summer” were technically nine and still “a tremendous economic success,” Ionia Mayor Dan Balice told members of City Council at their business meeting last Tuesday.

JUST IN: COVID-19 cases connected with Ionia Free Fair

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The Ionia County Health Department is conducting an investigation of cases of COVID-19 illness  associated with the Ionia Free Fair, which was held July 16-24. 

At least 10 cases of COVID-19 have been associated with this year’s attendees, including individuals  who were at the festival while they were symptomatic and infectious, according to Ionia County Health Officer Ken Bowen.

Trio of champions

Ionia Free Fair Showmanship Sweepstakes awards three grand champions

Thirty showmanship winners piled into the covered arena at the Ionia Free Fair on Friday, hoping to emerge victorious at the sweepstakes event.

Standing before the crowd after showing 10 different animals to judges for approximately two hours, those dreams became a reality for Anna Dahms, Maycee Reed and Bryant Janetzke.

Ionia Free Fair livestock auction raises $424,000-plus

A combination of having a few years experience and the right animal made it a bit harder for 9-year-old Nathan Kennedy to step into center stage with his boar Rusty.

The stage was a sandy floor of an arena, surrounded by bleachers of potential buyers at Thursday’s Ionia Free Fair Youth Livestock Auction.

Ionia Free Fair sees big turnout for annual Kids Day

In years past, Kids Day at the Ionia Free Fair has often been one of the busiest days of the week.

Families typically spend time bringing their children to the event and exploring a host of different activities specifically geared toward them and their developmental needs.

Raising dough

Longtime auctioneer Perry Gregory helps raise record funds amid laughs at Ionia Free Fair Cake and Pie auction

With every pastry and dessert purchased during the Ionia Free Fair’s 34th annual Cake and Pie auction Monday, so too went home an experience not to be forgotten thanks to auctioneer Perry Gregory. 

Gregory, 72, has spent decades donating his time to the fair and never misses the opportunity to participate in the auction, helping raise funds for the fair’s Home Economic Department.

Flying fast at the fair

Plenty of rides, games and food return to Ionia Free Fair carnival midway 

Hurling a trio of friends around and around, spinning in circles with no end in sight, it appeared the scrambler carnival ride might have offered up more turbulence than the three young girls could handle Sunday night.

However, upon exiting the ride, Lillyan Reed, 13, Ireland Brown, 13, and Kennedi McDiarmid, 12, all of Ionia, shared nothing but giggles and excitement as they re-entered the line for the ride to enjoy it again. 

Community partners bring Kids Day to Ionia Free Fair on Tuesday

One of the most popular events at the Ionia Free Fair each year is a day just for kids, and this year’s Kids Day bound to go down in fair history as one of the best.

Kids’ Day is scheduled for 1 to 4 p.m. on Tuesday at the fair’s E! Park. As in the past, the event will finish with a raffle for free bikes.