Whether it’s an annual summer trek to Minot or a family’s first venture, North Dakota State Fair visitors can capture plenty of selfies – and memories – during the State Fair in Minot July 20-28.
With the theme, “Where Summer Shines,” the State Fair offers oodles of entertainment, an action-packed carnival and one-of-a-kind food. But be sure to visit the quieter sections, too, where a 4-H member perfectly grooms a show lamb or an artistic talent is revealed in a colorful quilt.
The heart and soul of the North Dakota State Fair are the 4-H, FFA and open class exhibits vying for the top prize, said North Dakota State Fair Manager Renae Korslien.
Last year, the fair hosted more than 47,000 competitive exhibits.
“Those 47,000 exhibits are on the grounds during the entire nine days of the fair. It truly is the best part. If you could see the smiling kids bring their projects, it’s incredible,” Korslien said. “It’s some pretty great moms and dads out there who help them with this.”
From the 4-H and FFA events to free entertainment to competitions galore, there is plenty of entertainment included in the gate admission at the State Fair. Admission for ages 7-12 is $5 per day, while adult gate admission for ages 13 and up is $10. If you’re planning to attend the fair for more than two days, you can purchase a season pass. An adult pass is $25, while a junior pass is $15.
Returning to the State Fair this year is the Western Grand National Truck and Tractor Pull at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 24, when trucks and tractors do some serious heavy lifting.
The State Fair always brings new exhibits and entertainment to the grounds, and this year is no exception. This year, the State Fair will host a 9/11 Never Forget Mobile Exhibit, which educates citizens about the tragic events that took place on that fateful day.
“Everyone should come and see that free exhibit and hear those stories,” Korslien said.
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 three FDNY firefighters who share their harrowing personal stories from Sept. 11, 2001.
This year’s grandstand entertainment, most of which starts at 8 p.m. each night, includes:
• Friday, July 20 – Cole Swindell with Morgan Evans
• Saturday, July 21 – Florida Georgia Line with Adam Doleac
• Sunday, July 22 – Michael Ray
• Monday, July 23 – Enduro Race, which begins at 7 p.m.
• Tuesday, July 24 – Western Grand National Truck and Tractor Pull, which begins at 7 p.m.
• Wednesday, July 25 – Kip Moore
• Thursday, July 26 – Cheap Trick
• Friday, July 27 – Dierks Bentley with Travis Denning
• Saturday, July 28 – Nickelback with Pop Evil
The ranch rodeo will be held at 7 p.m. July 25-26 and NPRA championship bull riding will take place at 7 p.m. July 23-24.
While you’re on the grounds, sample the unique food at the State Fair by finding your favorite vendor on the “Food Finder” portion of the fair’s website at www.ndstatefair.com. Commercial vendor booths and food booths are packed to the brim on the fairgrounds featuring everything from jewelry to machinery and unique foods such as a pork chop on a stick, crab fritters or deep-fried apple pie.
Korslien noted the many free stages, for which the fair is famous, are also superb quality this year, with entertainment ranging from local talent to the Fur Traders Rendezvous to the popular Daryl’s Racing Pigs.
The North Dakota Game and Fish Outdoor Skills Park will be open 1-7 p.m. daily, offering hands-on instructions in fishing, archery and trapping.
“If they’ve never been here, please come and look at the Outdoor Skills Park,” Korslien said. The unique area should be a stop for every visitor, and “it’s just a refreshing place to be,” she added.
She also encourages visitors to step back in time and visit the Fur Traders Rendezvous, open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily.
“That is an incredible area,” she said.
Visitors can also step into the future at the fair this year. At 2 p.m. July 23-27, STEAM classes, focusing on science, technology, engineering, agriculture and math will be held in the 4-H Hall.
Watch the Zuzu African Acrobats, a five-member team with daring acrobatics and high-energy dance moves, or see the Kachunga Alligator Show. Cheer for the Frisbee-catching dogs or racing pigs, or see the thrills of the Majestick Spectacular, with motorcycle tricks and acrobatics.
The state parade starts at 9:15 a.m. and winds throughout the fairgrounds on Saturday, July 21.
Contests range from a pony pull to an amateur talent contest to a Twitter treasure hunt.
Special days at the fair include:
• July 23, KMOT Pride of Dakota Day – Purchase products made in North Dakota July 23. A hot dog lunch is offered to fairgoers for only $1 from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. under the tent, with proceeds going to the North Dakota FFA. Monday, July 23, is also the seventh annual food drive, when visitors to the fair are encouraged to donate a nonperishable food item.
• July 24 is Dakota Kids Dentistry Family Day. Visit Dakota Kids Dentistry's booth anytime from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. July 24. There will be activities for kids under the Festival Tent all day with the help of local nonprofits.
• July 25. KX/Co-op Day. (See related story.)
• July 26. During Senior Day, the fair will be offering half off gate admission for those 65 and older. From 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., visit the Senior Day Festival in the Upper Atrium of the State Fair Center for music, games and prizes.
To learn more, visit www.ndstatefair.com.
Co-ops greet fairgoers July 25
Experience fun and fellowship as North Dakota cooperatives thank members for their patronage by teaming up with KXMC-TV in Minot for the annual KX/Co-op Day at the State Fair July 25.
KX/Co-op Day begins at 7:30 a.m. with a free pancake and sausage breakfast located behind the Commercial II Building on the fairgrounds. Cooperative volunteers will serve pancakes and sausage to fairgoers until 9:30 a.m. Following the breakfast, fairgoers will be able to visit with cooperatives under the KX/Co-op Day tent from 10 a.m. to 3:30 p.m., learning more about the cooperatives’ products and services. Prizes and cash will be given away throughout the day.
From 2 p.m. to 3:30 p.m., cooperative volunteers will scoop and serve free ice cream cones to fairgoers
Luann Dart is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the Elgin area.