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Is Ingham County (MI) Fair and other county fairs things of the past?

My wife and I decided to go to the Ingham County (MI) Fair last night in Mason, the county seat, just a few miles south of the State Capital City.  It had been a really hot day and we were both ready for a change of pace and scenery.

150_3 After eating our Egg Beater veggie omelets at the Big Boy in Mason, we paid our five bucks each and saw the county fair, the 2007 version.  It actually wasn't much different than any other county fair I had been to.  It was fun to see the sheep, the cows, the bulls, the pigs and other critters.

We went through the commercial buildings where businesses, non-profit organizations and politicians set up shop trying to attract consumers, potential volunteers and voters.  Then we did a pass around the midway and did our obligatory look back at the times when our kids would go on the rides. 

I saw a lot of young people caring for their animals.  They looked very engaged in what they were doing.  Looking at young kids try to lead a bull around or take a group of goats for a walk was fun to watch.Bull_4   Had to be farm kids, right?

I just wonder if county fairs have passed their time when it was the event to go to.  I didn't get any sense of verve and excitement that I remember from my youth.  In the 21st century, have people found replacements for the fair?

I wonder how much public money we spend on fairs and I wonder if it's time to pull the plug on an event that may have lost its reason for being?