50th Annual Village Fair Will Open to the Public May 30-June 2
On Monday, the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber also received permission to open the fair a day early — on May 29 — for a private party.
Get out your calendars and start thinking spring: the 50th annual Birmingham Village Fair is officially set for May 30-June 2 in Shain Park.
Still, if you hear the music and see the ferris wheel turning a day early this year, it's not a mirage but no, you're probably not allowed in.
On Monday night, the Birmingham City Commission approved the dates for the fair, held every year by the Birmingham Bloomfield Chamber. Commissioners also approved a request to hold a private party at the fair on May 29, with entrance restricted to party guests only.
According to Chamber President Joe Bauman, the party is a bat mitzvah thrown by a Birmingham family. The fee the family is paying the Chamber, Bauman said, will more than cover the expenses for running the fair an extra night.
In fact, Bauman said the income they'll receive for hosting the party will allow the Chamber to give more money back to their nonprofit partners.
Typically held the weekend after Memorial Day, the Birmingham Village Fair features carnival games, funnel cakes and more than a dozen rides. A portion of the fair's profits are distributed to about 15 local nonprofits, including Birmingham Youth Assistance and the Birmingham Rotary Club.
In addition, many community groups — including local PTSAs — are able to sell ride wristbands ahead of the fair, making the fair another fundraiser.
According to Bauman, this isn't the first time a group has used the fair for a private party. In 2007, Bauman said the Young Presidents' Organization did the same thing.
"(This private party) will help us have money ahead of time so that we can make sure the nonprofits get sufficient funding," Bauman said.
Commissioners were initially wary about letting the fair be used for a private party, particularly concerning the precendent set. Commissioner Stuart Sherman noted that Ford has used Shain Park for private parties during the Woodward Dream Cruise. The city also rents out city parks for weddings.
Bauman assured commissioners that even though the fair would be opening a day early, the city wouldn't be liable for any more costs or damages, and fair set-up would be exactly the same as previous years.
"The only thing I'm concerned with is that the fair is an imposition in a lot of ways. It's loud and it takes up part of our downtown," Commissioner Mark Nickita said. "If this is a precedent, we need to reevaluate this if it comes up again."
Do you think the Village Fair should be used for private parties?