Clarke Historical Library
Central Michigan University

Finding aid for
Ionia Free Fair (Mich.) Organizational records

Finding aid created by
Marian Matyn

Summary Information
Title: Ionia Free Fair (Mich.) Organizational records
Creator: Ionia Free Fair (Mich.)
Inclusive dates: 1949-1956, and Undated
Extent: .5 cubic foot (in 1 box)
Records include fair newspaper articles, contracts, correspondence, requests for privileges, floor plans, and miscellaneous.

Call number: MSS.
Language: The material is in English
Repository: Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University
250 East Preston Street
Mount Pleasant, MI 48859
Phone: 989-774-3352
Fax: 989-774-2160

Access and Use
Acquisition Information:

Acc# 1612

Access Restrictions:

Ionia Free Fair (Mich.) Organizational records are open for research.


Copyright is unknown.

Preferred Citation:

Ionia Free Fair (Mich.) Organizational records, Folder # , Box #, Clarke Historical Library, Central Michigan University


Arrangement is chronological.


Organizational History:

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. It includes a beauty contest for Fair Queen. In the 1940s-1950s, the Queen won a three-day trip to Chicago. Fair booths are operated by local and national companies. Three days of harness racing, two days of auto racing, a parade, and grand stand performances entertained crowds numbering up to 15,000 occurred during the 1940s-1950s. Governor G. Mennen Williams visited at least one fair.

The Ionia Free Fair continues to be the World’s largest event of its type. In the 2001 it hosted more than 500,000 persons who saw headline entertainers, a spectacular midway, and a variety of animal and household exhibits. Admission to the fair is still free. (Historical information is from the collection. This information is from the City of Ionia website, viewed August 2002.)

Collection Scope and Content Note

The collection includes newspaper articles (copies), contracts and correspondence concerning the renting of booths and the parade, requests for privileges (form requesting booth space if any remained), floor plans for booth layouts, rules for the election of the Fair Queen and her court, and miscellaneous, 1949-1956, undated.

Subject Terms

    • Ionia Free Fair (Mich.)
    • Ionia County (Mich.)--Fairs.
    • Ionia County (Mich.)--History.
    • Ionia (Mich.)--Fairs.
    • Ionia (Mich.)--History.
    Contents List
       Container / Location    Title
    Ionia Free Fair (Mich.) Organizational records. [series]:
    Box   1 F   1
    Contracts, 1949
    Box   1 F   2
    Queen Contest, 1949
    Box   1 F   3
    Rental on booths, 1949
    Box   1 F   4
    Contracts, 1950
    Box   1 F   5
    Correspondence, Concerning booths, parade, etc., 1950
    Box   1 F   6
    Correspondence, Regulations concerning the Queen contest, 1950
    Box   1 F   7
    Contracts and requests for privileges, floor plan of Merchant Building, 1951
    Box   1 F   8
    Contracts, requests for privileges, 1952
    Box   1 F   9
    Correspondence concerning booths, parade, 1952
    Box   1 F   10
    Contracts and requests for privileges, 1953
    Box   1 F   11
    Correspondence concerning booths, 1953
    Box   1 F   12
    Contracts, etc., 1954
    Box   1 F   13
    Correspondence, 1954
    Box   1 F   14
    Contracts, floor plan for Merchant Building, 1955
    Box   1 F   15
    Correspondence, 1955
    Box   1 F   16
    Miscellaneous, 1956
    Box   1 F   17
    [Website information], August 2002
    Box   1 F   18
    Contracts, undated
    Box   1 F   19
    Floor plans for Merchant Building, undated
    Box   1 F   20
    Newspaper articles (copies), 1949, undated
    Box   1 F   21
    Queen contest, undated