Ionia Free Fair

Ionia Free Fair, Montcalm County Fair receive state grants

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Michigan Department of Agriculture & Rural Development (MDARD) Director Tim Boring recently announced that 23 county fairs and expositions across the state were selected for more than $1.5 million in available grant funds to make needed building and other capital improvements on their fairground facilities; including, but not limited to structural improvements or other renovations to buildings.

River rises over Ionia Free Fairgrounds

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Grand River rose two feet over flood stage at Ionia Free Fair

Rain storms last week caused the Grand River to rise to a peak of 23 feet, two feet over flood stage, inundating the Ionia Free Fairgrounds with muddy river water that was almost three feet deep in some fair buildings.

As of Wednesday, the river had receded to 17.6 feet, according to the National Weather Service, and cleanup efforts have been underway since Tuesday, the first day since the storm that it was considered safe enough for humans to enter the fairgrounds.

TEN QUESTIONS: Ag-tech horseman

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Who are you? Brian Gardner, 50. I live with a Sheridan address, Greenville school district and when I had a landline phone it was a Fenwick number which puts me in an old plotted but disappeared community called Amsden.

Ionia Free Fair Foundation wants to raise $1 million

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Carnival rides, fair food, concerts, 4-H competitions or just for kicks — whatever the reason, attending the Ionia Free Fair has been a rite of passage in West Michigan for several generations.

Those generations, however, have beaten the fairgrounds into submission. The facility is in a flood plain and the buildings are rotting, the a

Gingerbread Showdown

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Fourth-generation Ionia 4-Her competes on Food Network’s ‘Holiday Baking Championship’

Desiree Gorby, a Lowell resident whose family has participated in 4-H at the Ionia Free Fair for four generations, recently competed on the season premiere of the Food Network program “Holiday Baking Championship: Gingerbread Showdown.”

The show is a baking competition in which three teams comprised of two individuals construct elaborate, edible scenes out of gingerbread, candy, frosting and other delicious goodies. Gorby’s episode aired on Nov. 4 and is titled “Christmas 2999” because each entry was required to have a futuristic, space age theme.

Ionia Free Fair 4-H Sweepstakes winners divulge the secrets to their success

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The most prestigious and nerve-wracking competition at the Ionia Free Fair is when the contestants who already won in the various animal categories get together and learn how to show all 11 fair animals.

It’s called “Sweepstakes,” and winning that competition is extremely difficult.

Ionia woman is first 4-Her to show every single animal at the same Ionia Free Fair

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At this year’s Ionia Free Fair, a young Ionia woman aged out of her 4-H career in tremendous style: She ran for queen, she entered homemade jams and a quilt and she was the first person ever to show every single animal during fair week.

And Trish Powell’s immediate and extended family were there every step of the way to cheer her on, wearing special matching T-shirts.

World’s Largest Food Truck Rally returning to Ionia

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Skip breakfast, grab a bib and wear clothes you don’t mind spilling sauce on, because the World’s Largest Food Truck Rally is coming back to the Ionia Free Fair on Sept. 24.

The event will open at 11 a.m. and close at 7 p.m. That is a solid eight hours to sample a variety of cuisine from more than 50 trucks that have registered so far.

Ionia County Board of Commissioners hear update on Free Fair fundraiser

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The Ionia County Board of Commissioners on Tuesday heard an update about an ongoing fundraiser to renovate and upgrade the Floral Building at the Ionia Free Fair

The 1929 building needs a new or upgraded roof ($100,000), entryways, windows, kitchen and restrooms. Further complicating the committee’s work, Lisa Brown pointed out to commissioners, is that the building’s location in a flood zone eliminates them from even applying for certain grant funds.

Snapshots from the Ionia Free Fair

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The first “real” fair since the pandemic returned to Ionia this past week, and it was an overall success with all the rides, games, food and entertainment that people in West Michigan have come to expect since the event was first held in 1915.

Fairgoers enjoyed excellent — if hot — weather all week.