By Susan Bromley
The Oakland County Fair is going on now through July 16 and is ready to mesmerize.
Among the featured entertainment this year is Michael Blaine, a hypnotist and retired New York law enforcement lieutenant who has been entrancing audiences for 25 years around the country with his comedy hypnosis act.
“I’ve been doing it so long, I could literally do it in my sleep,” said Blaine, who adds that he had been through hypnotherapist certifications. “I’ve had guys singing like Shania Twain and also convinced a guy he was giving birth. It’s whatever comes to mind. Everyone has a unique personality and the subconscious mind comes out to play. There is nothing scary, it’s all good, clean fun and family friendly. I’ve performed at some of the biggest fairs around the country and I’m pretty proud of my reputation. Come experience the magic of the mind.”
There is plenty else to experience at the fair this year, too.
The fair, which began at Pontiac fairgrounds in the Civil War era and moved in 1971 to Springfield Oaks County Park, 12451 Andersonville Road, Davisburg, will feature 650 exhibitors, who are bringing more than 5,500 exhibits, ranging from animals to arts and crafts.
LC Scramlin, fair manager, said livestock entries are up in all areas, including horses, and he is excited to watch kids compete and learn.
“Talk about a family tradition— it’s a way of life,” said Scramlin. “Everything that happens in life happens here on the fairgrounds and happens as a family.”
He fondly recalls when his own children were young and competing at fair, with some of his favorite remembrances the times when things went wrong, including the year they had a calf with ringworm that they had to withdraw, or the time his son came down with mono, or the steer that died the week before fair.
“We can laugh now and realize there are challenges and remember how we got through it,” he said. “This too will pass and that is the magic. All your ups and downs in life happen here. Parents root you on, helping when you win and helping when you lose. This is great entertainment for the community.”
Main events include Night of Destruction, Figure 8 races, a circus, a rodeo, open horse show, off-road derby, monster trucks, and television show Duck Dynasty’s Jeb Robertson, who returns this year with wife Jessica to talk about their life experiences.
Besides hypnotist Blaine, daily events at the fair include the Big Rock Carnival; a returning Marvelous Mutts show which features rescued dogs performing tricks; the ever-popular racing pigs; the Miracle of Birth barn; a virtual reality display; pinewood derby races; a magic show by Anthony Grupido; and a plethora of contests.
Melanie Peterson, in her first year as the chairman of daily events, says she got “carried away and added a whole bunch of things.” Some of the things she is most excited about at fair include a cornhole tournament, a Gemini concert, Family Feud and all the new contests.
“There is no better place to be from July 7-16 than the fair,” said Peterson. “You get to learn about the animals, anyone can enter, it’s not just 4-H anymore. Everyone can participate in some way.”
The fair has a different theme each day. For more information and a complete schedule of events, visit www.oakfair.org.
By Susan Bromley