“The 2013 edition of the North Dakota State Fair was exactly what we promoted that it would be: Great. Big. Fun.,” State Fair Manager Renae Korslien said. “Of course, the attendance figures delighted us, because it shows the hard work our staff did to prepare was appreciated. But what is most important to us was that it was a fun, safe, family-friendly Fair and that attendees were leaving the gates with smiles on their faces.”
The attendance figures Korslien is referring to is the total of 320,485 smiling faces entering the gates from July 19-27. The 2012 attendance, which also set a record was 310,889 people. Weather is always a big factor in Fair preparations and there was rain that briefly delayed the start of Tim McGraw’s concert on July 19. However the sunny, yet cool weather that was unusual for late July worked to the advantage of the State Fair and brought in several Fair-going families and concert goers.
Korslien was pleased with concert attendance as well: Tim McGraw 13,074; Journey 9,796; Brantley Gilbert 9,151; Sawyer Brown 6,665; Scotty McCreery 6,696; Toby Keith 14,142; and Creedence Clearwater Revisited 5,554. Fairgoers showed they also like our other attractions with 4,606 at the Enduro race and 3,010 watching the IMCA and Stock Cars. NPRA Bull Riding Championships drew in 2,601 in two nights; and 2,544 attended the ranch rodeos that are growing in popularity.
The free pony and horse pulls, draft horse events, and 4-H and FFA livestock shows also drew in a large crowd. For the animal lovers out there, the Bengal Tiger Encounter featured beautiful, intelligent felines showing off to onlookers, a North Dakota favorite “Daryl’s Racing Pigs” was featured for folks to cheer on their favorite pig, and the Sting Ray Exhibit allowed participants to see, touch and feed live sting rays! Strolling throughout the grounds, one could even spot a Living Vine, creating archways for children to stand under. A good laugh could be found at the Flickertail Gardens that featured Lloyd Mabrey, musician and Strong Woman, Mama Lou. For those in the mood for tunes several bands featuring all types of music could be found at the Carousel Pub, Flickertail Gardens and the Jukebox Junkie Stage. Kids Kingdom was a great stop for families featuring carnival rides, clowns and a giant sandbox. For a trip back in time, Fur Traders Rendezvous was a place where folks could view time as it was long ago, and the ND Game & Fish Outdoor Skills Park featured fishing basics, hunting safety and archery!
The competitive exhibits department was also buzzing with activity during the State Fair. Everything from livestock exhibits, to woodworking to plants and flowers filled the barns and State Fair Center. “One of the animal shows that just exploded this year was the goat show,” Korslien said. “We were very pleased to see the increase in participants. And, among the horse shows, we were especially happy to have Appaloosas and Paints back in our show rings.”
“This event would not be possible without the support of the city, county and state,” said Korslien. “And we definitely could not pull this off without the staff, both individuals and organizations, who devote many hours during the Fair to assist us with everything from cleaning up the grounds to running the gates and much more. While record-breaking attendance is wonderful, our goal is to have a fun, family friendly event where attendees, no matter the number are coming and going with smiles on their faces. The 2013 North Dakota State Fair has been excellent, the staff is now looking forward to planning the 2014 Fair which will be held July 18-26.”