'Turn it up' at the Red River Valley Fair
by Luann Dart
Create some new family memories by rockin’ in the grandstand, watching baby chicks hatch or whirling on the carnival rides. There’s fun for everyone under the warm summer sun at the Red River Valley Fair, July 11-16 in West Fargo.
With the theme, “Turn It Up,” it’s all about six days of family fun, says Red River Valley Fair Association General Manager, Bryan Schulz. The regional fair blends agricultural and urban communities in a family setting, with plenty of new entertainment this year.
“We have some brand new free stage entertainment that we’re bringing in,” Schulz says.
This year, the Red River Valley Fair will host a 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit, which is a tool to educate youth about the historic events of that day. The 1,000-square-foot traveling exhibit includes artifacts from that day, such as steel beams from the towers, documentary videos and live tours by FDNY firefighters who will share their personal stories from Sept. 11, 2001.
“It’s an amazing experience. It’s very powerful,” Schulz says.
Or strap yourself into a simulated cockpit of an F-16 fighter jet in the U.S. Air Force Performance Lab.
A full-size F-16 will be on the grounds to view. Then, attendees can enter the performance lab to compete in a series of challenges. From there, they are strapped into a cockpit setting via virtual reality technology.
Both of these new free exhibits will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily on the midway, near the main entrance of the fairgrounds.
On the north end of the fairgrounds, the Sinbad High Dive Show will be held at 1 p.m., 3 p.m. and 5:30 p.m. each day as divers plummet toward a pool from as high as 85 feet.
“We try doing something new every year,” Schulz says. “We always find something new to draw people into the grounds.”
Great grandstand acts
“Our grandstand entertainment is going to be phenomenal again this year,” Schulz says. “We try to have the newest and latest and greatest entertainment that will draw people.”
Grandstand entertainment, which starts at 8 p.m. daily, includes:
• Tuesday, July 11 - Granger Smith, a country music trailblazer, along with Granger’s comical country boy alter-ego, Earl Dibbles Jr. Granger will appear with 32 Below.
• Wednesday, July 12 - Hairball, an ’80s rock impersonation act, with the Ron Keel Band.
• Thursday, July 13 - LOCASH, a country duo with hits “I Love This Life” and “I Know Somebody.” They will appear with Slamabama.
• Friday, July 14 - Shinedown, a group with powerful rock songs, including “Cut the Cord,” with Greta Van Fleet.
• Saturday, July 15 - Old Dominion, which blends old-fashioned country charm with rock-and-roll grit. They will appear with Cam.
• Sunday, July 16 - Auto racing, which begins at 6 p.m., includes NOSA sprint cars, modifieds and stock cars.
Tickets for the grandstand shows are free with a paid gate admission. Adult gate admission is $10; youth ages 6-11 is $5; and children ages 5 and under are admitted free. And gate admission is free from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday.
Fair buildings are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The midway opens at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.
From farm to fork
Watch bees buzz inside a hive or meet a baby piglet at the Ag Education Center, presented by the Cass County Farm Bureau. Open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, the center allows families to learn about the region’s crops and livestock.
The Fantastic Farmer Phil Show will teach kids about the origins of our food in a unique blend of education and entertainment. The show will be held at 2:30 p.m., 4:30 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily in the Ag Education Center at no charge.
“It teaches kids about where their food comes from – from farm to kitchen – with a blend of education and entertainment,” says Katy Stenerson, the fair’s sponsorship and marketing coordinator.
Beef, dairy, sheep, goats, poultry and swine will be in the center, as well as information about North Dakota commodities, such as wheat, corn, sugar, soybeans, sunflowers and honey.
The 16,000-square-foot facility located south of the Schollander Pavilion provides educational experiences for both children and adults.
See how many loaves of bread are made from a bushel of wheat and visit the garden west of the center to learn more about the region’s crops.
“We get a lot of visitors who live in town, so it’s a way for them to see where their food comes from and to see a cow or a chicken or a pig. A lot of people don’t have the opportunity to view and learn about some of this, even adults,” Stenerson shares.
Families will find free entertainment for all ages at the fair.
Here’s a preview of the scheduled acts:
• Alex Clark returns to the fair, strolling throughout the grounds with jaw-dropping tricks and comedy.
• Also returning is Kenny Ahern, onstage at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 6:30 p.m. daily. Ahern entertains with antics, physical comedy and interactive comedy.
• Visit the Petro Serve USA Stage at 1 p.m. daily for free performances, such as demonstrations from the Northwest Martial Arts Academy at 6 p.m. July 12 and 13, and performances from Fargo-Moorhead’s Elevate Rock School 12:30-6:30 p.m. July 15.
The Kringen Accordion Band will perform on the stage at 4 p.m. Wednesday, July 12. A celebrity eating contest will be held at 1 p.m. Friday, July 14, and a kids rodeo from 4:30-6 p.m. Saturday, July 15.
Special days set aside
Special days have been set aside for fairgoers, including:
• Kids Day, Tuesday, July 11
• Senior Day, Wednesday, July 12.
• Military Recognition Day, Thursday, July 13
• On Friday, July 15, the gate sponsor will be Cass County Electric Cooperative.
• Bison Pride Day, Saturday, July 15
• 4-H Day, Sunday, July 16
The fair will also have gate specials, including:
• Tuesday, July 11 – Fair Ride Frenzy. For ages 5 and above, gate admission will be $15. This is new this year, but it is a great deal for those kids who are unsure about rides.
• Wednesday, July 12 – We Care Wednesday. Bring in three nonperishable items, and receive $10 off a daily ride wristband. This does not include gate admission.
• Thursday, July 13 – Buy one, get one free on daily ride wristbands, does not include gate admission.
Every year, the Red River Valley Fair features the local talents of those exhibiting food, art or livestock from the Red River Valley, along with 4-H and FFA exhibits. Daily contests are also scheduled for fairgoers. Enter the rubber duck races, build a LEGO creation or make a race car out of vegetables.
Contests in photography, homemade pies, salsa and pasta are also planned.
Those wishing to enter the competitive exhibits can enter all items online also.
To learn more:
For details, visit www.redrivervalleyfair.
Download RRVF app
Download the Red River Valley Fair’s official app for guides to the food, fun and entertainment. Available on Apple and Android markets, the app allows access to a schedule of events and entertainment, a map of the grounds and a condensed version of the fair’s website. A list of food and other vendors is also available so you can find your favorites on the grounds. A listing of local restaurants and attractions is also available for visitors.
Instant weather alerts or venue changes are also available through the app, alerting fairgoers to weather announcements or rain delays