By Pamela Nick

It’s July 4th and already my heart begins to race just thinking about my favorite day trip that’s coming upon us soon. I’ve saved my money since January and have reminded my sons, “It’s coming . . .”

They always say, “Mom, not this year, we’re not going!” usually pointing out the hike in cost, until they see the sad look on my face, remembering all the fun we’ve had since they were children. “Okay mom.” They always give in.

However, this year we will not again smell the fresh coffee early in the morning. The thought of corn dogs, elephant ears and curly fries – with vinegar – are only a memory. Watching all the families walking through the Michigan Mart, making sure they see everything, waiting for that deliciously freezing glass of white or chocolate milk, which at one time was free – All You Can Drink! Strolling down the street past all the great vendors, seeing the kids with all sorts of carnival toys that could only be found at The Michigan State Fair grounds.

How could we have lost such a tradition? August came and went, September, and now pumpkins are out and leaves are changing color. Oh, how I miss petting the pigs and cows, seeing the champion roosters and flopped ear rabbits. Never again, to sit in the coliseum, watching the horse shows and the Detroit mounted Police, eating my second corn dog and sharing my fries with my boys, longing for fresh lemonade.

In the distance, outside of the Coliseum, hearing the band playing in the park, seniors dancing to the sounds of the Big Band era, small children swaying back and forth, eating ice-cream, remembering the men sitting on the ground, playing blues guitar, people smiling and dropping money into their tin cup. Then on to the rides and the many rows of games to play – hoping only to win a giant stuffed animal. Evening begins and something fabulous happens; the music becomes louder and all the lights begin to appear, twinkling throughout the park.

As you drive by the fairgrounds now, the gates are locked, the park is empty, no music is playing, no aroma of coffee or food is in the air, just a dusty parking lot and a very lonely feeling for all. I hope some day, some how we can bring this great Michigan tradition back.