The ribbon cutting ceremony for the start of the North Dakota State Fair was held in the entrance to the All Seasons Arena in the state Fair Grounds in Minot Thursday afternoon. The fair begins today.
"On behalf of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce we'd like to say, first off, thank you for your great donation to the North Dakota Great Plains Food Pantry and also for letting the community be a part of it on Monday," said Jessica Donamaria, the chair of the Ambassador's Committee of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce before the ribbon was cut. "We're very excited to be here to help you cut the ribbon for the start of the North Dakota State Fair."
Prior to the ribbon cutting, however, North Dakota State Fair Director Renae Korslien spoke beside a sculpture made entirely of canned foods of a tractor-combine reaping a corn field to highlight the importance of recognizing agriculture and giving to the needy with a canned-food drive.
"Our International Association of Fairs was the first one that started this last year," Korslien said. "The president said 'Let's dream big, we're about agriculture, we're about feeding the hungry.' So, Jennifer took it to the next level and said 'let's do this, and let's do it right.'"
The Jennifer she spoke of was Jennifer Hubrig, the marketing director for the fair, who organized the drive and enlisted Georgia-based company Canstruction to create the can sculpture, composed of the 15,000 cans donated by the Nash Finch and BNSF Rail to jumpstart the food drive.
"This is exactly what they do in different types of exhibits all over the nation," Hubrig said to The Minot Daily News. "They create different structures out of cans in honor of food drives and other special events."
Those who donate a can at the State Fair gate on Monday will receive a dollar off their ticket price.
"All of the cans will go to the Great Plains Food Pantry, and then they will distribute them to all the other pantries around North Dakota," Korslien said.
"We're pretty excited about that and we want to emphasize as we always do to the whole fairgrounds about agriculture," she continued. "Agriculture feeds the people. We need to remember that agriculture isn't just something that used to happen. It's not the old adage of, 'Oh, that's just agriculture.' Agriculture is why we're here. That's how we live. So we really want to focus on agriculture. We believe all these 4-H and FFA and Open-Phos people that bring their displays to the fair help explain agriculture to those who don't understand it. Those that have never had the opportunity to learn how to grow a plant or a seed."