Designated smoking sites established

By Amanda Wurtz

Smokers at the Red River Valley Fair should be prepared for the potential of having to put out butts in light of the North Dakota initiated measure passed by voters Nov. 6, 2012. The measure that amends chapter 23-12 of the North Dakota Century Code prohibits smoking, including with electronic smoking devices, in public places, most places of employment and certain outdoor areas, according to the verbiage on the statewide ballot.

No smoking signs like this will be placed throughout the fairgrounds as a reminder of the new statewide smoking ordinance.

In conjunction with this, the Red River Valley Fair Association Board passed a policy at its May 16 meeting in line with this North Dakota Century Code amendment. “With this policy, we aim to accommodate everyone who comes to the fair,” said Bryan Schulz, general manager of the Red River Valley Fair. “We also comply with the updated smoking state code, which bans smoking within 20 feet of any building, food or restaurant facility and any athletic venue and the grandstand is considered an athletic venue. It also offers convenient sites for those to choose to smoke.”

The approved smoking areas are: east of the grandstands, north of the Morton Building, next to the Aemsco Degleman Building and in Red River Valley Fair parking lots and campgrounds, according to the policy. The areas will be noted on the grounds map as well as have signs posted at them. No smoking signs will be placed in the prohibited zones throughout the fair.

If a smoker lights up outside of the selected areas, highlighted on the ground map, they will be kindly asked by the fair’s security team to distinguish it, explained Schulz. “If they refuse to put it out or relocate to the other areas to smoke, the security team may ask them to leave the fairgrounds. This is a state offense where those who violate it can be fined,” Schulz said.

The Minnesota State Fair has a similar policy to that of the Red River Valley Fair and the North Dakota State Fair was working on establishing a smoking ordinance, added Schulz. According to the smoking policy on the MN State Fair website, smoking is prohibited in all buildings on the fairgrounds and in the outdoor seating venues and, like the local fair, clearly marked smoking locations are in place.

Susan Hogen, Red River Valley Fair Association board president, explained that the new ordinance will take some getting used to but is a good tactic long-term for the facility. “We consider the fair a family event and want to create a healthy environment,” said Hogen. “This policy establishes sites for those who wish to smoke and those who don’t want to breathe it can go to other areas.”

The Red River Valley operates July 9-14. To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

Elastic Gymnastics on showcase

By Amanda Wurtz

The graceful moves of gymnastics will converge with the excitement of aerial flips and somersaults through Milord Entertainment’s Elastic Gymnastics daily shows at the Red River Valley Fair, July 9 – 14. The action-packed performances will include trampoline moves, fast track, aerial bungee and high falls.

Photo Courtesy of Milord Entertainment
Performers join hands in the air in one of the stunts that they perform during the Elastic Gymnastics show that will be presented at the 2013 Red River Valley Fair. The show will occur on the north end of the fairgrounds.

“The Elastic Gymnastics is a spectacular aerial performance that utilizes a special type of bungee cord specially made for this show,” according to the Milord Entertainment website. “The acrobats put on a harness that is attached to the bungee cords. They are then suspended from a 12-meter high structure. This allows them to execute a multitude of spectacular and graceful movements. This is a truly entertaining show that can be combined with other numbers such as trampoline, juggling, high fall and hand balancing.”

In past Elastic Gymnastic shows, performers have simultaneously released from the structure, connected hands and also swapped places on opposite ends of the structure, skillfully spinning without touching each other.

“It’s an awe-inspiring show with masterful gymnastic skills that I believe fair-goers are sure to enjoy,” said Bryan Schulz, general manager of the Red River Valley Fair.

The Canadian-based entertainment company has been amazing crowds for more than 20 years at events in Canada, the United States and around the world. According to the company’s website, Elastic Gymnastics is one of five aerial acrobatics shows delivered by the company, which also has a Millennium Drop ride, and other shows such as The French Connection, Trampo-Wall, Craz-E-Crew and Slam Dunk.

The show will be performed daily at 1, 3 and 5 p.m. on the north end of the fairgrounds. Get a preview of the gymnastics moves with this You Tube video.

To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

BMX phenomenon to show off tricks during the fair

By Amanda Wurtz

Get ready for back flips, air whips and spins as you watch the BMX StuntMaster Show at this year’s fair! Award-winning BMX rider John Parker, who has competed for over 15 years around the country and the world, is psyched to entertain during the fair. “The message of these shows is in the action,” Parker said. “We bring a fun and exciting show to audiences and spice it up with danger and a laugh or two!”

It’s a must-see during your fair experience, said Red River Valley Fair General Manager Bryan Schulz. “It fits perfectly with our Crave the Fun theme which aims to provide a unique experience for fair-goers that will make them wanting to come back and invite their friends, family and neighbors.”

The show will include Parker, pro skateboarder Benji Galloway of Portland, Oregon and pro BMX rider Gary Laurent from Las Vegas, Nevada. “Galloway and Laurent have been performing for over a decade and bring exciting style to the ramp,” said Parker. On the vertical half pipe ramp there will be no-handed, no-footed variations as well as 540 degree spins, tail whip airs, superman airs and back flips.

Photo Courtesy of John Parker
John Parker flips in the air on his custom Hoffman Condor 20″ bike. This bike, which he will perform with at the Red River Valley Fair, is also used for competitions and is specially designed for vertical ramp riding.

The audience will serve as a key component of the show, and may be incorporated into the show. “Depending on the set up of our jump ramp, we may ask for some lucky volunteers to be a part of the action,” said Parker. Great care is taken, however, for those who may participate. The stunts that the professionals perform are dangerous and may cause injury to those not well-versed in the sport. Parker emphasizes that it is important to not try any of the moves at home and that safety gear such as a helmet, gloves, knee and elbow pads are a must for the professionals.

For those who find the riding style something that they would like to become serious about, he suggests starting off small and developing the basic skills. “Get a good helmet and start with tricks on the ground,” said Parker. “Learn basic control of your bike first.  Find local parks and riders that can help you start slow and build up your skills. I started on a dirt jump that was just two feet tall. Eventually I built a six foot wooden ramp. Today, we ride 13.5 foot vertical ramps. If you start to take riding seriously, you are going to want to visit training facilities like Woodward Camp [in Woodward, Pennsylvania] to boost your skills.”

Parker started off with a dream as a teenager and this idea turned into today’s reality of dozens of awards, performances around the world and the opportunity to present his skills through BMX motivational shows for teens. His interest in the BMX industry was piqued at age 15 while waiting for the bus after school one day. A classmate was riding his 20″ bike full speed down the street when he catapulted off the curb. He landed into the bike lane and immediately jumped up on to the frame of his bike, straddling the seat between his feet, according to Parker. He let go of his bars and stood straight up riding down the street standing tall with his hands out like a bird.

This trick took John’s heart by storm as he went home, dusted off his rusty bike and immediately began developing his skills. As high school graduation hit, he already had a year of undefeated amateur competition under his belt and had landed a full sponsorship with GT Bicycles. Throughout his 15 years of competing, he participated in the X-Games 11 times and earned four medals. He is also the two-time winner of the MTV Sports and Music Festival and has racked up numerous ASA World Tour awards.

He’ll show some of the award-winning moves with other professionals during the fair, with three performances daily at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. north of the midway. Watch a few of the tricks and learn more about John Parker with his website.

To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

Sweet, salty or both – you choose with the vast selection of fair treats

By Amanda Wurtz

Your taste buds will rejoice with the new food selections at the Red River Valley Fair (RRVF), held July 9-14.

The mouthwatering chocolate chip and Oreo cookie mixture is a makes for a must-try for chocolate lovers. The treat is on the menu of Kuhlman Concessions.

Among the 29 vendors, the Original Minneapple Pie Company with make its debut at the RRVF with deep fried mini apple pies and your choice of homemade vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. The bacon and chocolate lovers will be lining up at the window of Kuhlman Concessions food stand for bacon-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, salted caramel chocolate chip cookies or any of the mouthwatering brats, pickle dogs or the stick items of chocolate covered gummy bears or chocolate covered bacon.

“We aim to offer food choices that will provide a variety and satisfy fair-goers desires,” said Judy Dvoracek, the fair’s special events coordinator. “The pie and cookie vendors caught our eyes as a great addition and we hope they will be a big hit and complement our other great food vendors.”

The Minneapple Pie dished up with cinnamon or vanilla ice cream is sure to satisfy your sweet craving!

The Original Minneapple Pie Company’s award-winning dessert was perfected in 2009 after nine months of fine-tuning the recipe. The concession company, operated by Andy and Libby Atsidakos and their adult children George and Joanne, who own Minne’s Diner in Rogers, Minnesota, began taking its now famous pies to fairs and festivals in 2011, the pies were sold at Target Field and at the MN State Fair. Now you can be among the masses to try the delicious pie too.

The sweet and salty combination with Chocolate Covered Bacon-on-a-stick provides a savory treat during a sultry fair day. Get yours at Kuhlman Concessions!

Kuhlman Concessions, based out of western Wisconsin, is also a family-run business like the pie vendor. The family works together to entertain your taste buds with unique sweet treats and tasty home-style food that has a Wisconsin flair. “We are proud of our children for showing their true entrepreneurial spirit, and for all their hard work and for sharing their amazing ideas,” said Marti Kuhlman. “Stop by and meet them – they are usually good for a joke and some tasty treats!”

Other new additions will be Cherry Berry, which made its footprint in Fargo in 2011 and SKC Teriyaki with Asian food such as chicken curry. Also, back by popular demand from last year’s selection is the filling Meat Eater, a brat wrapped in cheese and bacon in a bun that is deep fat fried, stated Dvoracek.The long-time fair favorites will also have a strong presence, dishing up items such as cotton candy, popcorn, hotdogs, lemonade, ice cream, cheese curds, hamburgers, onion rings and caramel apples. “We have 14 vendors that come back yearly that occupy of about 20 of our spaces with some of them having more than one space,” said Dvoracek.

For foodies looking for something different, come try out the indulgences during the lunch period on Tuesday, July 9 thru Friday, July 12. Typically, gate admission is $8 for adults and $5 for children but the admission fees have been waived during the weekdays from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. “It gives business people the chance to come out and have lunch and it also gives young families the chance to come out for the day without having to spend a lot of money,” explained Dvoracek.Read more about other food vendors and the mouth-watering foods to be offered at the fair on this fair page: Or, to find out more information on other 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, call the Fair office at 701-282-2200 or like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

Once-in-a-lifetime space experience will be part of the fair

By Amanda Wurtz

You don’t have to go to Houston, Texas for a space device ‘touchdown’. NASA is coming to the Red River Valley Fair this summer for a space exploration and moon remnant experience! “NASA’s Driven to Explore” exhibit will be open all day, every day during the 6-day fair, July 9-14.

Fair-goers will have a one-in-a-lifetime opportunity to touch a 4-billion-year-old moon rock that will be on display in the NASA’s Driven to Explore Exhibit at the 2013 Red River Valley Fair.

The audio and visual exhibit features an once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for fair-goers as they can touch a 4-billion-year-old rock retrieved from the moon in 1972 by the astronauts of Apollo 17, the last manned mission to the moon. This is only one of eight moon rock samples in the world made available for the public to touch, according to the exhibit’s data sheet.

The moon rock is part of the exhibit’s mission to share the NASA’s 55-year stories history and contributions to critical technological advances to improve life on Earth, an overview of why we explore and the challenges to human exploration according to the exhibit’s data sheet. In the exhibit, you can learn more about some of the most well-known missions and astronauts such as Buzz Aldrin, Neil Armstrong, Sally Ride and John Glenn and much more. Models of next-generation flight vehicles slated to replace the current space shuttles will also be on display.

This scientific experience offers an up-close view of NASA, which fair-goers may not be otherwise exposed to, explained Bryan Schulz, Red River Valley Fair general manager.

Photos Courtesy of NASA
Get an in-depth view of space exploration at NASA’s Driven to Explore exhibit, which will be located northeast of the Information Building on the fairgrounds during the 2013 fair, July 9-14.

“We strive to provide a fair experience that is memorable and offers something for everyone,” Schulz said. “How many people can say that they have touched a moon rock? With this, they can say that and so much more as they learn more about NASA and all the advances that have been made over the years.”

There is no separate admission charge for the exhibit, which is designed for people of all ages. Touring the exhibit will take approximately 10 minutes.

To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

On Souper Sunday, donate cans and save money at the fair

By Amanda Wurtz

Be part of the effort to fight hunger and offer hope through the Red River Valley Fair’s Souper Sunday event. It’s as simple as bringing a few cans or boxes of food to the fairgrounds during this year’s fair, July 9-14. All items will be donated to the Great Plains Food Bank, which serves North Dakota and Clay County, Minnesota.

Major food donations from national and local chains help to fill the aisles of the Great Plains Food Bank. Only about 4 percent of the products in the food bank are purchased by the food bank. However, monetary contributions go far for the food bank as they have great bulk buying power, explained Cari Drees, Special Events and Communications Coordinator for the Great Plains Food Bank.

Fair-goers who bring non-perishable food items on Souper Sunday, July 14, will have an added bonus. “Bring a minimum of three items and receive $3 off the adult gate admission,” explained Jodi Buresh, Red River Valley Fair assistant general manager. “For Souper Sunday, the items will be collected at the gate. For the other days, fair-goers can certainly bring in food items to the Ag Education Center. While they will not get a ticket cost reduction the other days of the fair, they will get the satisfaction of knowing they are helping people in need throughout the state and in neighboring Clay County, Minnesota.” In its coverage area, the Great Plains Food Bank partners with 293 agencies, including shelters, soup kitchens and pantries and senior centers.

Souper Sunday began last year and over 900 pounds were collected for the Great Plains Food Bank. “We got the idea for the event through the Minnesota Federation of Fairs convention,” stated Buresh. “We contacted Brad Olson to have the Boy Scouts assist with the collection and the Great Plains Food Bank brought in the truck to transport the donated food. In seeing all the food that was received, it was clear that fair-goers really stepped up.”

After products from a food drive like Souper Sunday are contributed to the food bank, they are sorted and re-packaged by volunteers based on need explained Marcia Paulson, director of Marketing and Development for the food bank.

Food drives really help to engage people’s passion to help those in need, said Cari Drees, Special Events and Communications Coordinator for the Great Plains Food Bank. “It really shows a person’s dedication to bring food because they are touching it, buying it and bringing it. They have to put thought into providing that donation.”

While there are many collections that occur during the holiday months, food drives such as the fair event offer opportunity to continue to keep the shelves stocked throughout the year. “Hunger is a year-round issue,” said Drees.

In 2012, 9.4 million meals were provided and 75,100 people were served in the Great Plains Food Bank coverage area, according to the food bank’s spring 2013 newsletter. Since its inception 30 years ago, the food bank has distributed nearly 120 million pounds of food.

Bulk contributions, from national and local retail chains that partner with the food bank, resulted in 2.7 million pounds collected. “All of the major donations are scanned and categorized so that our partner agencies can go on a website and request items that they need by the pound,” Drees said. It is slightly different for food drives in the food collected will be listed under food drive and then the agency can select how many pounds from a collection event.

Photos by Amanda Wurtz
The Great Plains Food Bank, at 1720 3rd Avenue North in Fargo, has a 36,000 square-foot warehouse that has dried goods, as well as freezer and refrigerator items such as milk, vegetables and meat.

Suggested donations for food drives, according to the Great Plains Food Bank website are: soup, stew, chili, peanut butter, canned meat products, cereal, pancake mix, tomato-based products, boxed meals, canned fruits and vegetables, pasta, rice and instant potatoes, personal hygiene products, paper products and cleaning supplies. Donors should keep in mind that the pantry cannot accept expired items, prefer non-glass containers and cannot accept baby food or pet food through a food drive.

The Fair’s collection is part of a national food drive campaign by the International Association of Fairs and Expositions (IAFE), called Dream Big. The goal is to accumulate 20 million pounds of food through the nearly 1,100 fairs. According to the IAFE website, the ticker is currently at about 167,000 pounds donated thus far. Each fair will report the amount gathered and the IAFE will post the results. “This is one way for fairs across the nation to have a positive impact. The amount collected to date is pretty good considering the time of year,” said Buresh. “There are a lot of fairs in the summer.”

To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

Children get a new view of the Red River Valley Fair with day camp experience

By Amanda Wurtz

This summer, children will get a chance for hands-on learning at one of the most adventurous events in the area, the Red River Valley Fair. The behind-the-scenes view of the fair will occur through a day camp July 10 and July 11 put on by the West Fargo Park District.

Photos courtesy of the West Fargo Park District
Barry Olson, the fair’s head of security, provided a behind the scenes view of the grandstand and its operations during the fair. Olson retired from that role this year.

The day camp, which is sponsored by Bell State Bank and Trust, is in its third year and has been really well received, according to Kim Wangler, West Fargo Park District recreation specialist. There were 25 participants in the first year and 35 last year. “We are anticipating a strong attendance again this year,” she said.

The two-day afternoon event will be jam packed with activities for children ages 7-12. “The children get to see a sound check for that night’s entertainment, learn about what happens backstage at the grandstand from the fair’s assistant manager Jodi Buresh, tour the animal barns and 4-H buildings, see educational activities, learn about what the fair staff members do and go on a carnival ride.”

They will also get a daily snack with one of this year’s delicious selections being a cupcake that the child gets to decorate.

The little feet will make tracks as they walk the distance of the entire grounds. “The children should dress comfortably with shorts and tennis shoes,” said Wangler. “They will do a lot of walking.” With the knowledge that it could be very hot during the fair days, the children will receive a water bottle to help keep them hydrated, she also noted.

Day campers will sign in for the afternoon at 1 p.m. at the Information Booth in front of Schollander Pavilion and will also be released at that location 5 p.m. each day. Upon signing in, each child will be given a backpack with a t-shirt and water bottle. They will also receive a Red River Valley Fair gate admission ticket that can be used for a separate day, according to Judy Dvoracek, the fair’s special events coordinator.

“We have heard that the children really love the camp and that some come back for a second year,” said Dvoracek. “It’s exciting to hear that they enjoy being at the fair so much that they want to participate again.”

The day camp participants enjoyed Rhonda Ross’ Thank-A-Farmer magic show as one of the many educational activities during the 2012 summer program through the West Fargo Park District.

The Sears family of rural Cass County in Embden is planning to be one of the repeat participants. Alana Sears said her sons Aiden, 9 and Forrest, 7, received an all-around experience of the fair through the camp. “They were able to explore and see so many things on the grounds beyond just the midway,” said Sears. Forrest especially loved the hatching area in the Cass County Farm Bureau’s Ag Education Center and Aiden fondly recalled seeing the town on top of the Ferris Wheel, she added.

The cost of the day camp is $35. Registration forms can be completed online at or by printing off the form and mailing it to West Fargo Park District, PO Box 762, West Fargo, ND  58078. Or, they can be dropped off at West Fargo Park District, 500 13th Ave W, West Fargo, ND  58078. Those interested can register up until the day of the event. The maximum number of participants is 40. Participation is not limited to West Fargo residents.

To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at

New thrills offered at this year’s fair carnival

By Amanda Wurtz

Higher, faster, wilder. That’s the name of the game for thrill seekers who will meet their match with the Murphy Brothers Carnival at the Red River Valley Fair, July 9-14.

Thrill seekers will get their adrenaline rush with new rides to the fairgrounds such as the Wave Swinger. As the ride turns, the seats swing outward. The spectacular swing features a dazzling light show and exquisite European scenery, according to Murphy Brothers Exposition.

“Murphy Brothers offers extreme rides that are bigger than the Tilt-A-Whirl, the Shocker,” said Bryan Schulz, general manager of the Red River Valley Fair Association. “The extreme rides attract teens and adults who may not otherwise be enthralled with the carnival offerings,” said Bryan Schulz, general manager of the Red River Valley Fair Association.

The best combination of rides and great deals will be offered with the Murphy Brothers’ Mega Pass. “The Mega Pass is essentially an all-access pass where cardholders have gate admission and the cost of all carnival rides and grandstand entertainment paid for,” said Schulz.

The Mega Pass is currently $60, which is a significant discount and especially meaningful for families. “If you have four kids coming out and paying $30 a day for a one-day carnival pass – plus gate admission – and you come twice, that can get pretty expensive,” said Jodi Buresh, assistant general manager of the Red River Valley Fair. “That’s why the mega pass is cost effective.”

Murphy Brothers Exposition will outfit the fairgrounds with a lineup of 45 mechanical rides including 10 new attractions, such as the Wave Swinger and the Wacky Worm Coaster, according to Cathy Murphy, operations manager of Murphy Brothers Exposition. “The midway will be completely filled up,” she said.

From the Himalaya, which simulates the rough terrain of the Himalayan mountains to the Double Shock which flips and turns with two large cars (fitting 40 each) on the opposite side of each other, riders are sure to be kept busy for an afternoon or an entire day (as long as they have time) and keep them wanting to come back for more.

More than the twists, and spins of the extreme and spectacular rides, the carnival line-up will mean “safe, family fun” for people of all ages, said Jerry Murphy, CEO of Murphy Brothers Exposition. “A lot of people love the Ferris Wheel and the Tilt-A-Wheel,” he said.

Photos Courtesy of Murphy Brothers Exposition
Get your place in line to spin on the fair classic, the Zipper!

There is also a fondness for the fair staple of the Zipper. Two people fit into each cage which rotates on an axis and around the main boom. “There is always a line at that one,” said Cathy Murphy. “It’s a long-time favorite.”

For the young ones, a beautiful new four-horse wide Grand Carousel is a must ride. “It is a real show stopper and the biggest traveling carousel right now,” said Cathy Murphy.

To get the best mechanical ride line-up for the Red River Valley area, the attractions will be driven in from portions of North Dakota and even as far south as Texas. “For a county fair, the Red River Valley Fair has state fair quality,” said Jerry Murphy.

Cathy Murphy added, “Through what they offer for all-around entertainment and education activities for fair-goers, the fair management knows how to get people into the gate with what they offer. It takes team work to make the fair successful on all avenues.”

The Grand Carousel will make its presence for the first time at the Red River Valley Fair. The four-horse wide carousel is a “show stopper” and one of several new kiddie rides according to Cathy Murphy of Murphy Brothers Exposition.

To cap off the carnival ride fun, fair-goers can also get competitive with others as they aim to pop a balloon with the water shooters, drop baskets in the hoops or one of the dozens of others on the grounds.

While the fair is still about seven weeks away, be sure to snatch up your Mega Pass now for the best value. Jerry Schatzke, of Fargo, knows firsthand what it can mean for a teenager to have one of these cards. He purchased one for his 16-year-old son, Michael. “He likes to go to the fair, hang out with friends and go on the rides,” said Schatzke. “It’s really convenient because he is all set to go on any day of the fair and isn’t coming back to me for more money.”

The Mega Pass can be purchased at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, local Stop N Go stores or online at the fair website, Mega Passes must be purchased for each person who would like to use them and are non-transferrable. The

Photo by Amanda Wurtz
The fairgrounds will be filled with squeals of delight and adventure from children and adults at this year’s carnival.

Mega Pass owner will have their photo on the card and it will be scanned each time that the pass holder attends the fair. Upon entering the gate, the Mega Pass owner will receive a wristband for the rides. The Mega Pass voucher can be redeemed for a picture ID card at the Fair Office June 24th to July 8th(closed July, 4, 5, 6, 7) 8:30 am – 4:00 pm. and can also be taken during the fair week on the fairgrounds.

The carnival and midway will operate 1 p.m. to close on weekdays, July 9-11 and 12 p.m. to close on weekends, July 12-14. To find out more information on the 2013 fair activities, check out the website at to obtain or full schedule, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair Association’s Facebook page at


Look for 4-H in a new location at the fairgrounds

 By Amanda Gades Wurtz

Cass County 4-H has more room to spread out at the fair this year. Instead of their typical home of the Hartl Ag Building, displays will be set up at the newly remodeled Expo Center (formerly the Commercial Building). The new location is nearly twice the size of their previous site – from 9,600 square feet to 18,000 square feet – according to Bryan Schulz, general manager of the fair association.  

The long-time Commercial Building on the fairgrounds has been renamed the Expo Center and is home to 4-H during the fair.

“The 4-H program has many opportunities for children and families throughout the county and they had really outgrown the space they had utilized for the past four or five years,” said Schulz. “We felt like they needed this additional area to allow them to further enhance their programs.”

Cass County 4-H Program Coordinator Maxine Nordick is thrilled about the re-location.

“This will provide us with more space to display the projects that the 4-H members work so hard to create,” she said. “This will also help with establishing a better traffic flow among the projects.”

With 519 youth in the county 4-H program, the building is sure to be full of top-notch works of art.

 “Fairgoers look forward to seeing the 4-H projects every year,” said Cole Rupprecht, Cass County 4-H Ag Extension Agent, “They are often shocked at how well the students do.”

Youth gain self-confidence through 4-H through, among other things, their experiences meeting with the judges to evaluate their projects, explained Maxine Nordick, Cass County Extension Agent. Cole Rupprecht, Cass County 4-H Ag Extension Agent, adds that the youth in the livestock 4-H events learn budgeting, organization and communication skills.

Fair management made the decision in favor of the move this past fall knowing that, in addition to 4-H needing more space, extra room would be available in the Expo Center after the fair offices were moved to the second story of the new Schollander Pavilion addition.  

The project resulted in the area where the fair staff offices were for many years to be remodeled into a concession area and storage space that will serve as headquarters for 4-H during the 6-day fair. The renovations cost about $6,000, according to Schulz.

“The building renovations began in early June and finished a couple of weeks later,” said Schulz. “We are really excited to show off the changes to the public. This is just one of the many updates that we are making to buildings around the grounds.”

Fairgoers will be notified of the building swap with the new signage, including the 4-H four leaf clovers on the Expo Center, and the updated grounds maps. 

The popular 4-H concessions with a variety of goodies will be again available this year in the new 4-H location in the Expo Center.

As for the Hartl Ag Building, the fair’s commercial vendors are slated to be housed in that facility. “The layout allows for 65 commercial booths,” said Schulz, “and the concession area will be used by our cooking vendor, which will be perfect for him.”

New activities on the docket for 4-H and notable events

In addition to the typical static contests that will be on display at the Expo Center, there are a few new competitions, according to Nordick. They are cake decorating, recycling, a bread dough sculpture, a club education booth and a large round hay bale decorating event.

The building is nearly ready for fairgoers to come and view the incredible 4-H projects and enjoy food from the concessions stand.

Notable 4-H events during the fair include:

  • A Horse Clinic on Tuesday, July 10 from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. in the Schollander arena.
  • A 4-H Regional Horse Show Wednesday, July 11 starting at 9 a.m. in the Schollander arena.
  • A livestock judging clinic Thursday, July 12 at 4 p.m. in the Schollander arena.
  • Achievement Days is Sunday, July 15 beginning at 10 a.m. in the Swine and Sheep Barn. This contest gives 4-Hers with livestock, poultry and small animals the opportunity to show off their animals and compete for the best looking and best trained animal among their peers.
  • A 4-H fashion show featuring shows designed and made by 4-H is held Sunday, July 15 at 5 p.m. on the Stop-N-Go Free Stage.  

The 2012 Red River Valley Fair is July 10-15, 2012, in West Fargo, North Dakota. To find out more information on the activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at





Come hungry, leave satisfied with your fill of food and sites to see

By Amanda Gades Wurtz

Hot, juicy cheese curds and savory, freshly-made lemonade could be the perfect combination on a sultry summer day, especially if you are at the local fair. With 28 vendors on deck to serve tasty treats at the Red River Valley Fair, fairgoers are sure to leave with full, satisfied stomachs.

“The delicious food is part of the fair experience and another reason why we encourage residents to come and check out the fair,” said Bryan Schulz, general manager of the Red River Valley Fair Association.

Cotton candy, was introduced as ‘Fairy Floss’ when it was first sold on a widescale basis at the World’s Fair in 1904.

Food booths have been a staple of the fair experience since the early 1900s. At that time, mostly meats and baked goods were sold. The evolution of the fair food offered at fairs throughout the country occurred after the World’s Fair in St. Louis introduced novelty foods such as cotton candy, hot dogs, ice cream cones, iced tea and Dr. Pepper. Today, vendors are offering an even greater variety of deep fried foods and treats on a stick from candy bars to chocolate covered bananas or pickles and locally caught walleye or hot dish-on-a-stick, the options are endless.

If you’re the more adventurous type, you’ll get your filling at the local fair with a jalapeño cheddar corn dog, chocolate covered bacon or a Meat Eater, which is a brat wrapped in cheese and bacon in a bun that is deep fat fried. Other new food options this year are Greek restaurant Santa Lucia and seafood, according to Judy Dvoracek, special events coordinator at the Red River Valley Fair. But the main food items are still the bread and butter of what is served at fairs and you won’t be disappointed in these long-time favorites, say two long-time Red River Valley Fair vendors.

Craving something salty and sweet? Tantalize your taste buds with chocolate covered bacon.

Brad Schroder and his crew have been dishing up goodies at the fair since 1970. This year, the menu will be cotton candy, snow cones and caramel apples for one unit, cheese curds, fresh cut onion rings and sweet lemonade for the second unit and corn dogs and hot dogs for the final unit.

“We have a vast amount of experience in the business,” said Schroder, who will be bringing three units to the Red River Valley Fair. “Our resume includes some of the best fairs in America.”

Deep fried foods such as cheese curds are very popular at carnivals and fairs.

Dave Westrum, of Faribault, Minn., started his food vending business 33 years ago with mini donuts. Over the years, his menu expanded to include: handmade grilled burgers, corn dogs, footlong hotdogs, cheese curds and fruit smoothies. He’s developed a strong reputation over the years with many repeat customers.

“We have quality food and give generous food portions,” said Westrum. “I have a really great staff working for me. They have been with me for a long time. We like to make people happy and see them smile.”

Both of these vendors operate their business from spring thru October with various stops throughout the Midwest on the fair circuit and other community events.

“The Red River Valley Fair is an exciting fair with great grandstand entertainment,” said Schroder. “There’s just an electric feeling associated with that fair.”

As the vendors order all of the products they will need for a successful time at the fair, they’ll ask for a little help from Mother Nature to do her part. “Nice weather will really mean a good day for us and for the whole fair,” said Schroder.

So, come soak up the sun and satisfy your taste buds while checking out the fair exhibits and learning about agriculture. Take the biggest advantage of your fair experience and trying out the fair food while gate admission is free during the lunchtime from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. from Tuesday, July 10 thru Friday, July 13.

The 2012 Red River Valley Fair is July 10-15, 2012, in West Fargo, North Dakota. To find out more information on the activities, check out the website at, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at