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Don't Rush Me


Great Lakes Agriculture Fair at Silverdome


Fitting in with the real media types



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February 09, 2011 - So there I was amongst all the real reporter types from "big" media places, government types, chamber of commerce folk, downtown development authority figures and the like. There were lots of suits, long coats, shiny shoes, high-fashion boots on the babes and me with a blue Oxford button up shirt, with the top button unbuttoned; sneakers and white tube socks.

I fit right in at the press conference to announce the coming of the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair, 2011 at the Pontiac Silverdome, September 2 thru 5 -- so, I sat in the second row, behind Oakland County Executive L. Brooks Patterson and US Congressman Gary Peters.

Grant Reeves, director for the fair, opened up with talk of enthusiasm and energy overtaking the state and in particular the effort to replace the Michigan State Fair. I think I heard something to the effect that in 10 weeks, volunteer numbers for the event jumped from a handful to over 300 statewide. Like I said, I think that is what Reeves said. I was looking at Brooks and Peters sitting in front of me, with a blond woman in between them.

Peters, a Democrat, was right of The Blond, and Brooks, a Republican, was on the left. The only thoughts that came to mind were . . . while in politics Brooks is to the right, and Peters is on the left, when it comes to blonds, it's just the opposite.

My second thought, I shared with a reporterette sitting to my right, "Brooks is on the left, and Peters on the right . . . must be a sure sign to the apocalypse."

I don't think she got it, and despite my bathing in the morning, she scooted to the right, putting an empty chair between us. I have that effect on women.

After that, I was able to focus on the reason I was drinking free Tim Horton's coffee and eating free Tim Horton's doughnuts -- The fair (A sure way to get reporters to any event is to offer free coffee and doughnuts, and as a breed, we're kinda cheap and love free stuff.)

According to Reeves, the Great Lakes Agricultural Fair will pay homage to Michigan's rich agricultural history while showcasing today's innovations. They want to bridge Michigan's diverse cultural spectrum, too. This gap will be bridged with music.

Each day of the fair will have a theme. Friday, Sept. 2, is R & B Hip-hop day. Music for the day will focus on this genre -- inviting the "urban" culture to the fair. Saturday is country music day. (Which brings to mind a scene from the Blues Brothers movie . . . "What kind of music do you play here?" Elwood Blues asked. To which the bar owner's wife, replies, "Why we got both kinds, Country and Western."). Sunday is Classic Rock day and on Monday, Labor Day, Genisys Credit Union is hosting the Battle of the Bands.

"Now, until the fair," Reeves said, "Bands across state will compete until we come up with the top 10 bands in Michigan."

These bands will battle it out to be the best band in the state. Some in the crowd were 'speculatin' old time rock and roller Bob Segar would make a trip down to the fair (but, keep that hush-hush.)

Reeves also said the bands, which he would not name, will be "big" name bands. The names will trickle out in the future to help build momentum -- and, he said, when you buy tickets for a band, you get tickets to the fair and midway free.

As for fair food, elephant ears will make a triumphant return, however, there will be a gradual turning away from the fried wholesomeness found at most fairs, to the more betterer-for-you (kids, don't try making up words like that on your own.

I am a highly skilled professional wordsmith) kinds of cuisine that food Nazis and doctors recommend. On the upswing, when Reeves announced the food vendors will be Michigan-based foods and commodities, the audience applauded.

It's an ambitious project, but I like ambitious projects, so I'm all in and looking forward to it.

By-the-by, here's who I saw there, that you might know (aside from Peters and Brooks). From Clarkston, Oakland County Commissioner and former Oxford farmer, Tom Middleton; Oakland County Commissioner and former Brandon School Board Trustee Beth Nuccio; Clarkston Chamber Director Penny Schultz and Lake Orion DDA Director Suzanne Perreault.

Don is Assistant Publisher for Sherman Publications, Inc. He has worked for the company since 1985. He has won numerous awards for column, editorial and feature writing as well as for photography. He has two, sons Shamus and Sean and resides in the area. To read archived copies of his columns, click on his name, just under his picture up top . . . He can be e-mailed at: don@dontrushmedon.com
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