After Covid pause, St. Mary's Polish Country Fair in Orchard Lake may be gone for good

Despite a tradition spanning 50 years, the days of the St. Mary's Polish Country Fair in Orchard Lake are likely over. It was first shut down for the pandemic, and it may stay that way.

Sources close to the fair and school say it’s been scrapped this year due to the tragic modern environment of School violence and threats made on social media, among other reasons.

Cinda Lark’s Memorial Day Weekend plans would have most likely included an annual trip over to the Polish Country Fair at St Mary’s in Orchard Lake - but not this year.

"I miss it and my kids miss it," she said. "They’re home for the summer from school and whatever and oh my gosh I…would love to go and be there.

"Every single year that’s what we did. We went to the fair. From the time they were little and they rode on the little rides to the time that they grew up and we would still go and enjoy the music at night, the bands. I still went on all the rides. I’m kind of an adrenaline junkie myself."

A Change.Org petition was launched with the hopes of bringing the Fair back after a turbulent few years.

A Facebook post documents the time it was originally canceled at the height of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2020.

The 2021 fair would have been its 50th year, but organizers did not have enough time to put the celebration together.

It was also nixed in the months that followed the Oxford High School shooting. Before all of that, reports of fights prompted many to grow concerned.

"There were some incidents that I’m aware of and of course sending my kids over there, and you’re always a little worried. I think there was like a knife thing one time," Lark said. "And unfortunately I think in this society and this day and age we deal with that. And it’s really sad that there are people that get all excited and maybe they aren't there to have fun but to cause some harm, and it’s really sad because that ruins it for everybody else."

Similar circumstances have impacted other events around Metro Detroit- including the Berkley Days attractions shut down early because of young people fighting, community leaders said.

Meantime in Orchard Lake…folks we talked with take comfort in the good times they had.

"We really enjoyed the fair, all of us parents and stuff like that because everybody pitched in and just had a good time and stuff like that," said a former volunteer there."They had like West Bloomfield Police, Orchard Lake Police, and just everybody kind of like pitched in. I worked it for like 16 years - I’d have to say that it never got to the point where it got out of control. We had a good time."