Scheduled for July 22-30 in Minot, the ND State Fair is sitting this year out due to the flooding of the Souris River. Up until now the fair hadn’t missed a year since it began in 1965.
Evidently fair organizers tried everything they could to keep the fair on track, at one point downsizing it by eliminating the traditional parade and nixing the commercial exhibits. Organizers eventually threw in the towel after seeing a revised National Weather Service forecast indicating recent rains would result in the floodwaters covering the fairgrounds to recede more slowly than expected.
“We tried hard, but the timeline got too short,” North Dakota State Fair manager Renae Korslien told the Minot Daily News, describing the cancellation as “tough on the heart and tough on the checkbook.”
Tracy Lawrence was scheduled for the fair July 22; Kid Rock with Sheryl Crow July 23; Lady Antebellum July 24; Nitty Gritty Dirt Band July 27; The Charlie Daniels Band July 28; Toby Keith July 29; and Pat Benatar and husband Neil Giraldo July 30.
Organizers were hopeful that this would have been the biggest North Dakota State Fair yet. Last year’s fair drew nearly 309,000 people, making for a new attendance record.
Jerry Iverson, who managed the fair during the 1970s and ‘80s, summed up the situation perfectly while talking to Fargo newspaper, The Forum.
“There are 44,000 exhibits, of cows, pigs, ducks, and jars of pickles and quilts,” Iverson said. “People say ‘Where could you move it?’ But you can’t move the State Fair.”