Not happy with state fair

Dan Caswell


“North Dakota State Fair” – Just WHO are they trying to kid with that name anyway?

Really. If it WERE the North Dakota “STATE” Fair, would not the people of the State have some say or control over it?

It is NOT a North Dakota State Fair but a tightly held private “good ol’ boys” organization that NO one has any control over. IF it WERE a North Dakota entity then it would be owned by the people of North Dakota – which I and everyone else used to think it was. But there is NO one in this state that has any say over what they do at the Fair.

Really, another convention center? Was not the All Seasons Arena – which was more or less forced down the throats of taxpayers – promoted to us as a Convention Center? We also have the Auditorium, Maysa Arena, and convention rooms in every hotel – do we need another convention center?

And to build it with taxpayers’ funds – yes, the exact same taxpayers that have NO SAY WHATSOEVER about it – and to build it in a flood plain – while we are spending billions to move things OUT of the flood plain. Then to make matters worse, I heard that they are not getting rid of the 4H, Horse, Sheep, Bunny etc. barns but are intending on putting the animals on the MAIN FLOOR of this building! One good thing – since I joined the Ward County Historical Society I have paid gate fair every year for the last 5 years – as well as about 30 other volunteers- and I have been in the State Fair Parade.

Last year we were Bert and Ernie in a 1961 convertible – but now I NO LONGER WILL HAVE TO GO TO THE FAIR AT ALL. Working in the Car Museum part of the WCHS, I have had opportunity to visit with thousands of visitors during the Fair. I can honestly say that not ONE of them were in favor of moving or tearing down the Village. It was 100% for us and 100% against the Fair. Only way it would NOT have been 100% would have been if one of the NDSF Board members would have came through.

Our Car Museum was virtually wall to wall with people almost every day of the fair. Only problem we have is, Fair Goers look at the Museum as another Free Stage of the Fair, so our donations ran at approximately less than 50 cents per adult guest. The rest of the year the per guest donations are much higher.

The last time NDSF gave us an eviction notice it was in the middle of December and we had until middle of January to move all the buildings. Are these people so ignorant that they honestly believe you could co-ordinate and move several buildings in the middle of the winter in 30 days? It takes up to 90 days just to get permits, rezone land for this use and all the other legal things that go with it – not to mention foundations utilities and everything else that would go with it. Plus we need to do some serious fundraising. These buildings won’t move themselves and so far we have not had anyone offer any land for us to put it on.

Caswell is president of the Magic City Antique Car Club and a lifetime member of the Ward County Historical Society.