Michigan’s Carnivals, Circuses, and Fairs: 1890s-1960s
Who doesn't love a carnival? Or circus? Or fair?
For over 200 years, the Michigan area has played hosts to all types of outdoor events: sideshows, street fairs, carnivals, circuses, races, tent shows, pitchmen, parades, wild west shows, displays, and exhibitions of all kinds.
When I was a kid, a carnival show would come to town and set up everything in the middle of the night: all the rides, concession stands, and games. When we woke up in the morning, there was this miraculous showing of fun and lights that seemed to come out of nowhere!
The carnival would last for maybe five days, the last day/night being Saturday. Then we kids would go home, sleep, get up, look out at the field where the carnival was, and it had completely disappeared. EVERYthing was gone. Not a stick of anything remained. It was almost like Brigadoon.
The carnys knew their business and could strip those rides and stands down in seconds and book outta town in minutes. It was kinda impressive.
Below is a photo gallery of carnivals, circuses, fairs, sideshow performers, and more that paraded through Michigan over the last 100+ years. Take a look!
MICHIGAN CARNIVALS, CIRCUSES, FAIRS, AND FESTIVITIES