Fire Prevention & Protection

Event Planning in a Downtown District

Issue 1 and Volume 173.

FIRE PREVENTION BUREAU ❘ BY MICHAEL KENNEDY Since 1960, the Ann Arbor, Michigan, Art Fair has evolved into one of the largest outdoor art fairs in the United States; its daily attendance is estimated at more than 100,000 visitors (photo 1). This number nearly doubles that of Ann Arbor’s resident population, which poses significant fire service operational challenges within a downtown district. (1) Large events can dramatically increase the number of people in a city. (Photos by author.) Many of the businesses located within the footprint of the Ann Arbor Art Fair state that their revenue during the event’s four days equals that of the winter months. Thus, the economic and political importance of ensuring the safety and success of this event is paramount for those who plan it. Planning for the Ann Arbor Art Fair is a year-round effort, which is a delicate balance among artist exhibition, visitor experience,…

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