MINOT, N.D. – The North Dakota State Fair is back again for its 54th year of providing first class mid-summer entertainment, which is always “great big fun” for fairgoers. The fair kicks off on Friday, July 19 and runs through Saturday, July 27.
Every summer, the North Dakota State Fair is bigger, better and more extravagant than the year prior, and once again this year’s state fair won’t disappoint, offering an exciting lineup of entertainment and activities across the beautiful fairgrounds.
The state fair will continue its annual tradition of holding a canned food drive, which will be held on Monday, July 22. Everyone is encouraged to contribute. Each person that brings a can of nonperishable food to the fair that day will receive $1 off the gate admission price. All donated food will be delivered to the Salvation Army.
A full list of all the attractions and events can be found on the main website at www.ndstatefair.com.
This year’s grandstand entertainment at the North Dakota State Fair features some of the biggest names to come to the state in the history of the fair. This rings especially true when it comes to country music, as the 2019 North Dakota State Fair features many high-profile country performances.
Kicking off on Friday, July 19, is the American country vocal group Rascal Flatts. Their studio albums have accounted for more than 25 singles, of which 14 have reached No. 1 on Billboard Hot Country Songs.
Saturday, July 20, will feature Justin Moore with Chase Rice. Both performers are American country music singers and songwriters. Moore has charted 11 times on Hot Country Songs, and Rice’s album “Ignite the Night” debuted at No. 1 on Billboard Top Country Albums in 2014.
The fun continues on Sunday, July 21, with a performance by the American country music group Midland. The group has accounted for three charted singles on the Billboard country music charts.
Monday, July 22, will feature the Enduro Races in front of the grandstand and National Professional Rodeo Association Championship Bull Riding in the arena.
On Tuesday, July 23, there will be Outlaw Enduro Races, a new twist on the Enduro Races from the night prior, featuring multiple styles of cars, higher horsepower engines and limited rules. Gates open at 6 p.m., with the races starting at 7 p.m.
Wednesday night, July 24, will feature Ned LeDoux, an American country music singer and songwriter. He is the son of singer-songwriter Chris LeDoux.
Rick Springfield with Eddie Money and Greg Kihn will be performing on Thursday, July 25. Springfield is an Australian-American musician and actor. He was a member of the pop rock group, Zoot, from 1969-1971, before starting his solo career. He moved to the United States in 1972 and released the No. 1 hit “Jessie’s Girl” in 1981.
Friday, July 26, features a performance by country music icon, Tim McGraw. McGraw has released fifteen studio albums, 10 of which have reached No. 1 on the Top Country Albums charts.
Grandstand entertainment will wrap up on Saturday, July 27, with a performance by Weezer, an American rock band formed in California. Since 2001, the band has consisted of Rivers Cuomo (lead vocals, lead guitar, keyboards), Patrick Wilson (drums), Brian Bell (guitar, backing vocals, keyboards), and Scott Shriner (bass, backing vocals).
“Rascal Flatts has never been here, so we’re very excited about opening with him,” said Renae Korslien, fair manager. “Tim McGraw, of course, is a huge classic. We’re pleased with the whole package and I think it will bring in a lot of people.”
There are always a lot of factors to who the North Dakota State Fair is able to book each year for grandstand entertainment, but Korslien thrilled with the lineup.
“You got to look at who’s touring, who we can get during those dates, and honestly, who you can afford,” she said. “We’re very fortunate to be able to put out some pretty large dollars for someone like Tim McGraw and Rascal Flatts. Those are some big artists and the North Dakota State Fair has been very fortunate because we’ve been able to do that year-after-year because of the people who support us.”
The grandstand isn’t the only area fairgoers can go to experience great entertainment. Many free stages are located throughout the fairgrounds that feature great shows.
The big attraction this year is KidSpace. It’s the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 landing on the moon and kids can come celebrate at the Magic City Discover center with lots of fun activities related to the moon and space. Whether it’s playing in the Lunar Playground, building a space rocket, or exploring the moon, there’s no shortage of fun things for the kids.
NASA Stem Ambassadors will lead kids through several different activities including building a mini solar system the can fold up and carry around, creating a small replica of the end effector using in the International Space Sate, an astronaut built from UV beads and pipe cleaners and paper rockets they can launch at various targets.
Daryl’s Racing Pigs, Fur Traders Rendezvous, and the N.D. Game and Fish Outdoor Skills Park are just a few of the free shows fairgoers can go to for entertainment.
Daryl’s Racing Pigs, a long-time favorite at the North Dakota State Fair each year, are back once again and it’s a show that fairgoers never want to miss.
“We usually try not to repeat free stages because people want to see new things,” said Korslien. “However, about two years ago I was out there, and Darryl announced his show was starting in 10 minutes. Honest to goodness I saw people running down the road to get there. His bleachers are filled every single show. He’s a great fair supporter and we have a great partnership with him.”
Fur Traders Rendezvous offers a first-hand glimpse into North Dakota’s past, an interesting experience for those in attendance.
“It’s the mountain men that show the people history of how people survived back then,” she explained. “They stay here on the grounds all nine days, so they show their living quarters, their meals, and how they sustained life in those days. It’s a great history lesson.”
The N.D. Game and Fish Outdoor Skills Park is an “absolute favorite” because the kids have a great time with the hands-on activity.
“The kids can come out and actually fish,” says Korslien. “It’s a catch and release, but it’s real fish. There will be someone there to show them how to bait the hook, how to catch the fish, and unhook the fish. Someone will be there with hunting safety and the whole park area is just beautiful to be at with Game and Fish.”
Starting on Tuesday, July 23, and running through Saturday, July 27, will be Remembering Our Fallen, a photographic war memorial that honors our country’s military.
“It will feature pictures of every military person who has lost their life since 9-11. That should be a very good display for everyone to see and remember those who have sacrificed everything for our freedoms,” said Korslien.
A full list of free stages is available online at ndstatefair.com.
“We have over 600 commercial vendors this year,” says Korslien. “A lot of those are returners because they love coming back to North Dakota, but we always add some new splashy ones as well. It’s pretty exciting. There are going to be smiles all over the fairgrounds.”
According to Korslien, the displays created by the state’s 4-H clubs and FFA chapters are “right where our heart is.”
“Truly, 4-H, FFA, that’s is truly what it’s all about,” she said. “These kids have worked on these projects all year long and they have really accomplished something. They’ve worked with their parents, grandparents and leaders, and showing their projects off really makes them proud, and it makes me personally proud. We have such a bright future with these kids.”
There were 46,998 competitive exhibits on the ground during the nine days of fair last year.
“We have every reason to believe there will be at least that many this year,” she said. “There are some new competitions people should check into on our website. Barn quilts are the big thing this year, so there’s a new division for that. We also have a craft beef competition going on.”
Korslien also noted Machinery Row will be packed again.
“We’re thankful for everyone that keeps coming back, like Gooseneck Implement and Butler Machinery. Those folks have been supporting us for years. We also have some new ones. RightWay Manufacturing will be here with their land rollers, Hamilton Systems is bringing in a corn and sunflower header, and Kage Innovation is bringing in snowplows. What a fun touch that will be in July! There’s so much else to see,” she said.
On the Midway
As in any fair, carnival rides and food vendors are a key part of the experience, and this year’s state fair continues that tradition.
For the first time in 50 years, the North Dakota State Fair has a new carnival coming in this year in Crabtree Amusements. Korslien says they’re still in the process of contracting out for future years.
“We’ll make a decision in July on who we will accept for the following years, so it’s an exciting time,” she said. “They have different rides and a great safety record, just as our past carnival did. We’re excited about seeing how things will be.”
And then there’s the food – the staple of every great state fair.
“Food is the number one reason people come to the fair. All you have to do is walk up to the fairgrounds and you’re instantly hungry because you can smell it all,” she said.
For the mega ride pass, kids can purchase a pass for $70, which will grant them access to all the rides for each day of the fair. Season gate passes are still only $25.
“You can come every day of the fair for only $25,” said Korslien. “There is so much free stuff to do here. There are shows, walk exhibits, lots of free opportunities.”
The 54th North Dakota State Fair is set to be the biggest and best yet, and Korslien said there are plenty of rooms in Minot for everyone that comes out.
“We have tons of hotels in Minot,” says Korslien. “You will find a room available any day of the far you want.”
A free shuttle bus will be offered from Dakota Square for those who don’t want to drive or walk to the fairgrounds.
“Get on that free bus. It starts at 1 p.m. – and runs continually until 1 a.m. If a lot of people are using it, they’ll just add more buses, so there’s no concern about waiting. It drops you off at the front gate,” she explained.
For more information about accommodations, complete schedule of events, ticket purchasing or other information, visit the official North Dakota State Fair website at www.ndstatefair.com or call 701-857-7620.
“If anyone has questions, feel free to call. We love talking about fair,” Korslien concluded.