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The North Dakota State Fair returns after cancellation one year ago

2020 fair canceled by COVID

Kim Fundingsland/MDN The North Dakota State Fair returns July 23-31. Last year’s fair was canceled due to coronavirus.

The North Dakota State Fair is set to return for a nine-day run July 23-31 in Minot. The 2020 State Fair was canceled due to the coronavirus pandemic.

“We are more than excited this year to have the fair back, the grounds full again,” said JaCee Aaseth, marketing director.

Aaseth said having “any event at all” is the right track after the peak of the lengthy coronavirus pandemic. This year’s fair is expected to be pretty much business as usual with the use of masks not required on the fairgrounds.

“We just want people to exercise personal responsibility. It shows how far we’ve come in the last year,” stated Aaseth.”

The cancellation of the 2020 State Fair marked the second time in 10 years the fair was scratched. The 2011 State Fair was called off because of major flooding along the Souris River.

While no one is quite certain how fair goers will respond to this year’s event, the fair does present an opportunity for people to bring some fun and normalcy back into their lives following COVID-19 precautions that shelved numerous events and changed many habits.

“We were stuck in our houses for an entire year,” said Aaseth. “Our fair has something for everybody. We have eight free stages full of free entertainment for you and your family to enjoy.”

Among the many free stage acts during this year’s fair are a pair of newcomers, and at a new stage. The World of Wonders and Texas Tommy’s Wild West Revue will make regular appearances at Stage 8. The World of Wonders includes sword swallowing, fire eaters and magicians. Texas Tommy’s features demonstrations of western arts like rope tricks and whip cracking.

It is grandstand entertainment that is a major driver of fair attendance and this year’s grandstand line-up figures to be a major attraction.

“We are really excited,” said Aaseth. “Dan and Shay, and Kane Brown, two really big acts is a big plus for us. Lynard Skynyrd too. That’s huge to offer to Minot and the state of North Dakota. We’re ready to see our grandstand full again.”

Other grandstand headliners include Ashley McBryde, Sawyer Brown, Casey Donahew, and Billy Idol. There’s another addition in front of the grandstand too – freestyle motocross is scheduled for Tuesday, July 27 at 7 p.m.

“That’s something new and fun for our auto shows, something fun and different for families to enjoy this year,” explained Aaseth. “We’re really excited about it.”

There is no charge for parking in fairground lots. In addition, noted Aaseth, the fair is offering free bus service from Dakota Square Mall to the fairgrounds and back for the duration of the fair.

The State Fair Parade will be Saturday, July 24 starting at 9:15 a.m. The parade starts at the intersection of Broadway and Burdick Expressway with the route being eastbound on Burdick Expressway to the fairgrounds.

Attendance at the last fair, held in 2019, was just over 293,000 visitors, down more than 25,000 from the previous year. A high mark at the turnstiles occurred in 2013 with official attendance of 320,485.

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