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Is the Michigan State Fair the nation's oldest?

Andrew Norton

Did New York hold a state fair before Michigan? The 2006 Michigan State Fair kicks off tomorrow and runs through September 4th. In performing some research to give a little background information on the state fair I have come across conflicting reports as to whether or not the Michigan State Fair is the nation's oldest state fair. At this page on the website it states -

The Michigan State Agricultural Society sponsored Michigan's first state fair in Detroit, September 25-27, 1849. It was the second state fair in the United States. The first was in New York.

Then, over on this page of the website it says -

The Nation's Oldest State Fair was officially first held in 1849, only twelve years after Michigan attained statehood.

The New York State Fair website claims that their fair began in 1841, eight years before Michigan's inaugural state fair was held. This would go with the first quoted statement above. I just find it strange that there are conflicting reports on the same website (

So the answer would be that the Michigan State Fair should claim the title of "Second Oldest State Fair" unless someone knows anything that contradicts the above information.

On the subject of the Michigan State Fair I should mention something. I have never been to the Michigan State Fair and wanted so see the fairgrounds so I did a search at Google Maps and used the satellite view. That is where this cool overhead picture from the Michigan State Fair fairgrounds came from.

Overhead view of Michigan outline at Michigan State Fair

Apparently, this is a park with the lower peninsula as a fish pond (hard to tell from the picture). According to the map of the state fairgrounds this is designated as the "Outdoor Zone Park."

View a satellite image of the Michigan State Fair fairgrounds via Google.

Check out the Michigan State Fair website for all sorts of information and activities.