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.
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 www.redrivervalleyfair.com, or call the Fair office at 701-282-2200. Or, like the Red River Valley Fair’s Facebook page at http://www.facebook.com/Red.River.Valley.Fair.