How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

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July 15 - July 23, 2022





2019 was amazing!

The 2019 Ionia Free Fair was an amazing success thanks to the great support of our community. We are excited to begin ticket sales for the 2020 season with all of your favorite attractions and some fun surprises!





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IONIA — Hundreds of thousands of people are set to visit Ionia this summer to create new memories as part of a longstanding tradition.

The 2022 Ionia Free Fair takes place July 15-23 at the fairgrounds at 317 S. Dexter St. in Ionia. It features a variety of attractions, exhibits, activities, events, vendors, concessions, live performances and grandstand shows for the public to enjoy — bringing roughly 300,000 people annually to Ionia.

“There are lots of things to see and do that hopefully people can come down, enjoy themselves and stay local this year,” said Lisa Sanford, president of the Ionia Free Fair Board of Directors. 

How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

Sanford said officials have had a full year to prepare for this year’s event.  

“We’re prepared for big crowds,” Sanford said. “We hope everybody can make it out and can’t wait to see everyone at the fair this summer.” 

There was no Free Fair in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Last year’s Free Fair wasn’t announced until May 2021, but Sanford said the turnout was “phenomenal.”  

“There was obviously a lot of pent-up excitement to get out and do things again,” she said. ”People are still excited to get out this year.” 

The full Fair schedule — including showtimes and pricing — is available online on the Free Fair website, 

How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

The midway is open all nine days of the fair. Wristbands for all-day rides are $20 until Thursday, July 14. They will be available for $30 during the fair. 

There will be a variety of shows throughout the nine days of the fair, including Dock Diving Dogs and Arestov’s Acrobatic Extravaganza. New this year is a LumberJack Show. 

“That will be a great addition to all of the entertainment that we have available for free midway,” Sanford said. 

Grandstand shows are as follows: 

  • July 15-16: Monster Trucks 
  • July 17: Figure 8 Derby 
  • July 18: Night of Destruction 
  • July 19: SJO Motocross 
  • July 20: Free Car Show 
  • July 22: Twisted P Rodeo 
  • July 23: Thumb Tractor Pulls 

There will be plenty of shows at the Bud Light E!Park stage, which is located under a massive tent. Entertainment includes Gunnar and the Grizzly Boys, Edge of Sundown, The Four Horsemen Metallica Tribute, Glad All Over, Parting Waters, Flashback, The Rock Show (Journey tribute), Ionia School Dance Recital, Center Stage, Eric Church and Chris Stapleton Tribute, Dave Winters Band and Mega ‘80s. 

“We hope people come down and enjoy all the music that’s available,” Sanford said. 

There are plenty of animal exhibits and shows. The Miracle of Life exhibit has expanded this year, Sanford said. There are horse, dairy cattle, rabbit, goat, waterfowl and poultry shows scheduled. The small market animal sale is set for 6:30 p.m. Wednesday, July 20, while the large animal auction takes place at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 21. Both events are at the Covered Arena.

How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

There will also be special day events to celebrate people in the community. July 18 will serve as Senior Wellness Day, with activities planned from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. July 19 is Kids Day, with games and activities available from 1-3 p.m. July 20 is Cops Day and July 21 is Veterans Day. July 22 will be Ladies Day, where the Ionia County Woman of the Year will be crowned at 10 a.m. 

“All these folks make up the fabric of our community and we’re so happy to be able to bring all these day celebrations back for all these folks,” Sanford said. 

The kickoff breakfast is scheduled for 8 a.m. Thursday, July 14, at the Events Building. The 2022 Ionia Free Fair queen will be crowned at 7 p.m. that day at the Bud Light E!Park. 

The Ionia Free Fair Grand Parade is set for 11 a.m. Saturday, July 16, on Main Street in downtown Ionia. Parade Director Tom Millard, who is a Second Ward council member on the Ionia City Council, said there are 54 entries for this year’s parade as of Wednesday, July 5. He anticipates 90-100 entries. This year’s parade theme is “Back in the Saddle” and will include a horse-mounted color guard, in addition to bands and business participation.

How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

Ionia Mayor Dan Balice serves as an ex-officio member on the Free Fair Board of Directors. He said the event serves as a great community advertisement and provides a lot of fun for the public. 

“We’re really proud of the fact we’ve survived the pandemic thus far,” Balice said. “One year, we couldn’t have any Fair at all. People stepped up and made donations — they were very generous and kept the Fair going. Last year, we had a really good year because people were excited to get out.

“The board this year has done a great job of getting us ready for this year’s Fair. We’re really looking forward to it.” 

How long does the Ionia Free Fair last?

The event also helps the Ionia economy and local businesses, said Ionia Downtown Development Authority Director Linda Curtis. 

“Restaurants, service stations and downtown retail businesses all see increased customer traffic,” Curtis said. “The Grand Parade brings 1,000+ spectators to Main Street — providing an opportunity for retail shops to host sidewalk sales, in-house specials and distribute coupons to be redeemed on a return trip.  

“During the Fair, area campgrounds are at capacity. Campers also shop locally providing a positive commercial impact for all.” 

Kat Reed, executive director of the Ionia Area Chamber of Commerce, said the Free Fair allows local businesses to benefit from increased traffic and exposure. 

“We are so fortunate to be able to call ourselves the home of the world’s largest free fair and for the volunteers and community members that keep the tradition alive,” Reed said. “Events like the Ionia Free Fair do so much for our community by creating pride, tradition and contributing to a vibrant local economy and quality of life.” 

The Free Fair isn’t possible without the help of hundreds of volunteers, Sanford said. 

“It’s just wonderful to see everybody come together and make this event happen,” she said. 

— Contact reporter Evan Sasiela at . Follow him on Twitter @SalsaEvan.

How much is a wristband at the Ionia free fair?

During fair they will be the regular price of $20. Can we still use last years tickets since the fair got shut down early? Amanda Hall Yes you can! As a bonus, on opening day, July 19th, you can get 2 wristbands for 1 super fun pass.

How much does it cost to park at the Ionia Free Fair?

FAIR RELATED How much are parking passes? A 9 day parking pass is $30. Otherwise it's $10 per day. Is the fair hiring during the free fair?

What is kids day at Ionia free fair?

IONIA — Kids Day at the Ionia Free Fair continues to grow every year — providing a fun afternoon of games and activities while connecting families with local resources.

Why is it called the Ionia Free Fair?

The Ionia Free Fair was started by Governor Fred Green, [1927-1930], a former Ionia mayor, and his partner, Fred Chapman. They wanted to offer area residents something different and spectacular with free admission. The fair continues to promote commerce in Ionia, Michigan.