ND State Fair brings ag to Minot Air Force Base
The State Fair brought agriculture to Minot Air Force Base recently.
“We are a state fair, we are the state’s largest event,” Stephanie Schoenrock, the fair’s new director of Development and Communication, told members of the Minot Area Chamber of Commerce’s Military Affairs Committee recently.
“We are close to over 300,000 people every year and it is nine days. We’ve got a little bit of everything,” she added.
This year’s State Fair runs from July 19-27.
Schoenrock wants everyone to know all about the North Dakota State Fair.
She told the Military Affairs Committee members that every year over 46,000 projects from 4-H, FFA and open class are brought to the fair to be judged. She said the only funding the State Fair receives from the state is for premiums and prizes for 4-H, FFA and open class. The fair also receives money from the state for special projects such as the construction of the new Grandstand.
“Agriculture and 4-H and FFA are the absolute heart and soul of the fair so when you come out there with your kids or whoever you are coming out with we’ve got all kinds of cows, horses, sheep and pigs to see.
“We’ve got a whole barn dedicated to bunnies. We’ve got tons and tons and tons (of projects) so the funding we get from the state is actually for those projects. Every dollar we get from the state is given out in the form of prizes,” she told the group, many who are newcomers to the area.
For those who don’t show livestock, she said the fair has many other opportunities for individuals to show their work.
“We’ve got quilts, photography, baked pies,” she said, naming a few. “I can assure everyone whatever your hobby is, whatever you like to do in your free time, that we have where you can show it at the fair,” she said. She said everyone who is an exhibitor has a chance for a prize.
State Fair entertainment receives a great deal of attention, Schoenrock noted, adding, “The economic engine is our Grandstand but our heart and soul will always be agriculture and 4-H and FFA and the people of North Dakota. “
“Every night we get a lot of people in our Grandstand,” she said.
Last year over 318,000 people attended the fair with weekends averaging 40,000-50,000 people. On weekdays it’s in the 30,000 range, she said.
The fair also has 12 free stages with various types of entertainment plus the free Fur Traders Rendezvous, she told the group.
She said one of the stages, the Dakota Talent stage, is “basically anybody who wants to get up and sing or dance… So there are a lot of ways to participate and become involved in the State Fair,” Schoenrock said.
Kids can go fishing or do other activities at the North Dakota Game and Fish Skills Park. “That is so fun to watch. The kids have a great time,” Schoenrock said, referring to kids fishing there.
To take advantage of being good community and statewide partners, Schoenrock said there will be a new free children’s area- a building just for kids to learn and explore. The new area for children is called KidSpace and is located on the west side of the fairgrounds near the Bunny Barn.
Sponsored by Xcel Energy, the State Fair has partnered with the Magic City Discovery Center, NASA Stem Ambassadors and Full STEAM Ahead with each group providing activities for different age groups and interests.
The Magic City Discovery Center will have activities relating to moon and space. NASA Stem Ambassadors will lead kids through several activities including building a mini solar system. At the Full STEAM Ahead area kids will go “Into Orbit” and learn to program a robot, work toward launching a rocket, send meteors flying or move an astronaut to safety.
“The idea is to get kids more involved in robotics with hands-on experience there,” Schoenrock said.
“This is free,” she said of the new KidSpace exploration center. “That’s one of the buildings we have that we expect will be a highlight for the fair this year.”
“We’ve got all sorts (of activities) from the pedal pull to the hippity hop barrel race. If you’ve got kids go on our website and look at all the contests, and all the others things to see and do,” she said.
She said the fair has a number of special days including Military Day on Tuesday with free carnival rides for children of military members for two hours and a free lunch for military and their families sponsored by the North Dakota Beef Commission. “There’s tons of free things to do once you get in.” she said.
Besides the State Fair, other events, big and small, are held at the fairgrounds throughout the year, Schoenrock said. She said the North Dakota State Fair Center has 250,000 square feet of rental space. “It’s a very flexible space so we’ve got a little bit of everything out there,” she said. She said something is going on at the N.D. State Fair Center every weekend and there are opportunities for things to do in Minot.
“The North Dakota State Fair is proud to be in Minot and absolutely proud to be partner to Minot Air Force Base,” Schoenrock told the Military Affairs Committee members.