For some fun under the summer sun, the Red River Valley Fair (RRVF) in West Fargo is the place to be July 9-14, twirling topsy-turvy on the carnival rides or bouncing to the beat at the grandstand. With the theme, “More Fun in the Sun,” the fair’s six fun-filled days offer lots of moments for families to make new memories.

The regional fair includes new entertainment this year. One highlight will be a new carnival vendor, Crabtree Amusements, offering both extreme rides for thrill-seekers and children’s rides for family fun.
“This new carnival has some spectacular rides,” says RRVF Association General Manager Bryan Schulz.

The Red River Valley Fair will include lots of thrills, with free shows and new carnival rides this year. Courtesy Photo

The Red River Valley Fair will include lots of thrills, with free shows and new carnival rides this year. Courtesy Photo

The Red River Valley Fair includes ties to agriculture, with 4-H and FFA exhibits, as well as the Ag Education Center which allows families to learn about the region’s crops and livestock. Courtesy Photo
Another highlight of the Red River Valley Fair will be the selection of Miss Red River Valley Fair at 4 p.m. Saturday, July 13, at the Foltz Special Events Center on the fairgrounds. Miss Red River Valley Fair 2019 is Grace Ward, right, a Fargo native attending North Dakota State University. Courtesy Photo

“We try offering a great lineup of entertainment. Once you get on grounds, there are so many things to do that are free. Our concerts are free, our entertainment on grounds is all free. We have something for every age group,” Schulz says.

Schulz is fully committed to bringing family-friendly entertainment with an educational aspect to the RRVF. So, instead of sampling funnel cakes or corn dogs, he’s been taste-testing dehydrated insects such as Sriracha crickets and a bug kabob, which will be offered during one of the fair’s free shows.

During the free event,“Bugology: The Good, the Bad and the Yummy,” visitors will see bigger-than-life animatronic versions of insects and learn about the importance they play in the ag industry. The insects might include a 7-foot-tall slug, a butterfly with an 8-foot wingspan or a 14-foot-long cricket, all of which make noises and move when approached. Visitors also will have the chance to sample dehydrated, flavored insects.

“The whole concept is to learn how important bugs are to our ecosystem,” Schulz says. The show will be in the Geringhoff Building.

Other free shows will include a freestyle motocross stunt show, an aerial acrobatics show, a duo providing songs and other entertainment, and a puppet show that teaches the importance of agriculture, animals and farming.

“For people who come back year after year, we want them to have a great experience each year and see different things at the fair,” says Breann Lenzmeier, sponsorship and marketing coordinator with the RRVF.

From farm to fork
The Ag Education Center will be open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily, to allow families to learn about the region’s crops and livestock.

As kids enter the building, they’ll get a bucket and checklist of items to find at the stations, such as seeds at the commodities station, an egg from the chicken’s nesting box, paintbrushes from the pig station and a baseball from the beef station. They then trade in their items for a prize at the grocery store, Lenzmeier describes.

The 16,000-square-foot facility located south of the Schollander Pavilion provides educational experiences for both children and adults.

“We take pride in our Ag Education Center and all the neat aspects of that,” Schulz says. “We’re always looking for volunteers who might want to be part of our Ag Education Center, so if there’s anyone out there wanting to get involved, all they need to do is reach out to our office.”


Contests galore
Every year, the RRVF features the local talents of those exhibiting food, art or livestock from the Red River Valley, along with 4-H and FFA exhibits. Daily contests are also scheduled for fairgoers.

Buildings are filled with 4-H and FFA projects. “These are very, very nice projects,” Schulz says. “It’s a lot of time and energy that have gone into these projects.”

A new hoop building is being erected to serve as the arts and crafts building this year, to replace Harvest Hall, which collapsed under the weight of snow this winter.

Luann Dart is a freelance writer and editor who lives in the Elgin area.

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Great grandstand acts
All grandstand entertainment starts at 8 p.m. daily. This year’s lineup includes:
•    Tuesday, July 9 - Nitty Gritty Dirt Band with Jason Pritchett
•    Wednesday, July 10 - Hairball with Jesse Blaze & The Bandoliers
•    Thursday, July 11 - Josh Turner with Lexi Wyman
•    Friday, July 12 - Theory of a Deadman with Fuel
•    Saturday, July 13 - Kip Moore with Jake Rose
•    Sunday, July 14 - Auto racing, which begins at 6 p.m., with NOSA Sprint Cars, IMCA Modifieds and INEX Legends.
Tickets for the grandstand shows are free with a paid gate admission. Adult gate admission is $10; youth ages 6-11 is $5; and children ages 5 and under are admitted free. Specials are offered throughout the week.
Fair buildings are open from 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. The midway opens at 1 p.m. Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday and noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday.

Special days set aside
Special days have been set aside for fairgoers, including:
•    Kids Day, sponsored by North Dakota State University, Tuesday, July 9
•    Senior Day, sponsored by Essentia Health, Wednesday, July 10.
•    Military Recognition Day, sponsored by West Fargo VFW Post 7564, Thursday, July 11
•    Cass County Electric Cooperative Day, Friday, July 12
•    Buffalo Wild Wings Day, Saturday, July 13
•    4-H Day, Sunday, July 14.