ORCHARD LAKE, Mich. – Summer starts in Orchard Lake, Mich. this Memorial Day Weekend with the 45th annual St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair. Hosted and sponsored by the St. Mary’s Preparatory Moms & Dads Club, the fair takes place Friday, May 27 through Monday, May 30 and benefits the students at the more than 130-year-old high school.
Attracting more than 125,000 visitors each year, the nation’s largest high school fair will offer a wide range of entertainment from top local bands, such as headlining acts the MEGA 80’s and Country Night’s Annabelle Road. The event also will feature a Vegas-style gambling tent, large selection of mouth-watering authentic Polish cuisine, a new DIA Away exhibit, dancing and carnival rides.
This year the fair will be open: 5 p.m. to 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday – Sunday; and 11 a.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. The Vegas tent will run from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday; 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. Attendees must be 18 or older, with a valid ID, to enter the fair after 6 p.m. unless accompanied by a parent.
“The fair has become a tradition for thousands in the community and an amazing show of support for the students at St. Mary’s Prep,” said Cormac Lynn, headmaster of St. Mary’s and host of the annual event. “Thanks to the fair, the school’s largest fundraiser, and the generosity of the Mom’s & Dad’s Club, we are able to provide scholarships, support student initiatives and maintain and improve our 120-acre campus and 26 historic buildings.”
For the first time ever, families and community members will have the opportunity to “Think Like an Artist ” by visiting the DIA Away exhibit at St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair.
DIA Away is a fully furnished, vibrantly designed 53’ double-expandable trailer that provides a rich educational program beyond the museum’s walls. Inside, fairgoers will discover some of the ways artists think and then have the opportunity to try out creative thinking skills at digital and hands-on stations.
With the addition of the DIA Away exhibit, fair planners decided to slightly rework the fair layout. The Vegas tent will be moved to the far west wall of the fair. DIA Away and the Kids’ Zone will take the place of the Vegas tent, west of the midway. The bingo tent will be relocated to the immediate right of the fair entrance.
“People who have been to the fair year after year will be surprised,” said Kevin Foe, event director for the festival. “The changes just made sense. We wanted to keep the Kids’ Zone activities grouped in a single area, even with the expansion of the zone.”
Activities for all ages include traditional Polish and American food, live entertainment, and family-centered games and rides.
Polish food takes center stage at St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair. An expansive menu, with prices ranging from $2-12, boasts authentic Polish favorites such as kielbasa, pierogi, kapusta (sauerkraut) and golabki (stuffed cabbage). Pierogi varieties include farmer’s cheese, sauerkraut, potato, mushroom and potato/cheddar.
For guests who want to sample many of the Polish favorites, the $12 Polish combo includes: Polish sausage served on a bun, kapusta, the choice of three pierogi, golabki and a dill pickle.
A large selection of traditional American fair food, such as hamburgers, fresh baked goods, smoothies and ice-cold adult beverages, will be available in the St. Mary’s Grill throughout the weekend.
Separately, a Beer Garden will offer adult attendees a selection of Michigan-brewed beers including: Saugatuck Brewing Company’s Oval Beach Blonde Ale, Cheboygan Brewing Company’s Blood Orange Honey Wheat, Right Brain Brewery’s Northern Hawk Owl Amber and more.
From Top 40 to country and jazz to polka rock, there is a wide variety of music to enjoy at this year’s fair:
Friday, May 27 (Country Music Night):
|5:00 p.m.||Toppermost (Beatles Tribute)|
|7:15 p.m.||Cooper Anstett (Pop)|
|9:30 p.m.||Good Gravy (Top 40)|
Saturday, May 28:
|12:00 p.m.||St. Mary’s Jazz Ensemble / Nighthawks Jazz Orchestra (Jazz)|
|2:00 p.m.||Hanba (Acoustic punk)|
|3:00 p.m.||Smokin’ Mirrors (Rock)|
|5:00 p.m.||The Polish Muslims (Polka rock)|
|8:00 p.m.||MEGA 80’s (80s hits)|
Sunday, May 29:
|12:00 p.m.||Big Daddy (Polka)|
|1:30 p.m.||Hanba (Acoustic punk)|
|2:30 p.m.||Big Smooth (Blues and Southern Rock)|
|4:00 p.m.||The HIPS (Of Detroit) (Top 40, Motown)|
|6:15 p.m.||Annabelle Road (Country)|
|9:00 p.m.||Gunnar & The Grizzly Boys (Country)|
Monday, May 30:
|12:00 p.m.||bugs Beddow & the Good STuFF (R&B/soul/rock & soul/blues)|
|2:00 p.m.||Persuasion (Top 40)|
|4:15 p.m.||Mr. Moody (Top 40)|
LAS VEGAS STYLE GAMBLING AND BINGO TENTS
The Vegas tent will return for visitors 18 years and older with several casino games: traditional Black Jack, Craps, Roulette and Big Wheel. It will be open from 6 p.m. to 1 a.m. Friday, 3 p.m. to 1 a.m. Saturday and Sunday, and 3 p.m. to 7 p.m. Monday. DJ Double Trouble will keep those on the new Vegas tent dance floor hopping all day. He’ll really crank it up for the Vegas after party from 11 p.m. to close on Saturday and Sunday.
Admission to the tent is $5 per person with proper identification. A cash bar with adult beverages will be available for individuals 21 years and older, who will be required to wear a wristband.
Parent volunteers and professionals will serve as dealers for all tables. Those who wish to gamble can pay cash in exchange for playing chips. The cash-out limit is $500.
Fair visitors also can try their luck at a fast-paced game of Bingo in a separate tent and win cash prizes. Bingo cards are $2 each.
CARNIVAL RIDES, GAMES AND KIDS AREA
From spinning to reaching new heights, North American Midway Entertainment has the excitement covered. The fair offers nearly 50 midway rides this year with plenty of thrills, including: Freak Out, the giant pendulum masterpiece that swings riders up to 127 degrees while revolving at a speed up to 15 rpms; an 80-foot roller coaster; the spinning Himalaya; a classic merry-go-round; and a even antique cars for kids to drive.
There’s also a separate Kids’ Zone with crafts and fun activities for youngsters. Offered Saturday through Monday, the Kids’ Zone will be open 12 p.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sunday and 12 p.m. to 4 p.m. Monday. Creative Arts Studio of Royal Oak will provide the opportunity for visitors at the fair to create mosaics and wax hands. Face painting and balloon twisting will be provided by the award-winning clowns, Derby and Lovely. Using only hypoallergenic FDA compliant makeup for the face painting, the paint washes off with soap and water. Magic shows featuring the ridiculous Rusty Bathwater, a former Ringling Brothers clown, will take place Saturday and Sunday at 12:30 p.m., 2 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 5 p.m., and Monday at 12:15 p.m., 2 p.m. an 3 p.m.
For the first time ever, children will have the opportunity to make cards and write letters to send to soldiers through a partnership with Operation Care Package Michigan. There will also be other fun activities in honor of military at the fair this year.
UNIQUE SHOPPING VENDORS
A fair tradition, nearly 50 retail vendors will be selling unique and locally crafted items such as handmade Polish pottery, T-shirts, jewelry and handbags.
The fair will include free parking on the grounds of St. Mary’s. General admission is $6 per person or $15 for families of up to six people. Children up to age three are free. Both cash and credit cards will be accepted. Those wishing to enter the fair after 6 p.m. each evening must be 18 years of age or older and show valid ID, unless accompanied by a parent or legal guardian.
All-day ride passes can be purchased at the midway ticket booth during the fair for $30 or, through May 26, for $25 on the fair’s website. Online tickets, which include a $2.50 fee per transaction, will be valid from open to 10:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday and all day Monday. Please note: the price of all-day ride passes does not include fair admission.
Backpacks will not be allowed into the fair and proper attire is required.
“The Moms & Dads Club plan year-round for this annual fundraiser, and being able to help the students is so important to us,” added Foe. “It really is such a pleasure to see our students, their families and members of the community come together to have fun and celebrate the start of summer and Polish traditions for such a good cause.”
The return of the St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair is made possible with the generous support of many sponsors, including Kroger, La Fontaine Automotive Group, General RV Center, The Lodge, Powers Distributing, Debrincat, Padgett, Kobliska & Zick, and Marx Layne & Company
ABOUT ORCHARD LAKE ST. MARY’S POLISH COUNTRY FAIR
The St. Mary’s Polish Country Fair, the traditional start to Michigan summer, serves as host to more than 125,000 fun seekers each Memorial Day weekend. The four-day fair will be held Friday, May 27 through Monday, May 30 and will be open 5 – 11 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. – 11 p.m. Saturday and Sunday; and 11 a.m. – 7 p.m. Monday. Orchard Lake St. Mary’s is located at 3535 Commerce Road in Orchard Lake at the intersection of Commerce and Orchard Lake roads. All weekend entertainment schedules and any additional public information can be found at StMarysPolishCountryFair.com, on Twitter @St_Marys_Fair and on Facebook at Facebook.com/StMarysPolishCountryFair. For further questions, call the information hotline at 248-706-6775.