The North Dakota State Fair is where you want to be in July. Start the preparations for a week of experiences that you and the family will revel in for months to come. All bets are on that the kiddos will ask for a repeat visit next year; this fair is one that can’t be missed.
Carnival ride lights illuminate the sky at night, and the grandstands come alive with country music entertainment featuring the biggest names of the genre in North America. Check out the line-up and purchase the tickets for your favorite artist’s concert, and at the same time, reserve your camping spot so you can be close to the car racing action all week long.
Vote for your favorite food vendor specialty and then cheer on the draft horse pull. Make sure the children don’t miss Water Day where they may win a prize and can sample a freezing frost cone. They’ll love the kid's tractor pull, too and later, can try their hand at cupcake decorating.
The teens will have a blast belting out their favorite song at the karaoke contest and may want to learn how to milk a cow. The scariest midway ride will call their name and let them experience vertigo and the world from an upside down view.
When a fair has entertainment that varies from midways to concerts and car racing, one may want to pick and choose the events they wish to attend. Visit www.ndstatefair.com to select the tickets that suit your country style. For example, a gate pass will cost between $10 and $20; if the mega ride carnival pass is to be added on, it will be around $50 more. Fans of the rodeo will pay in the range of $5 to $20 to see a show. The concert package will require a payment of about $100. Select what you want to do over the nine days and buy the combo that suits the family best.
Minot is a city with a lot to show off, and you’ll see some of these offerings as you head toward the fairgrounds. The Souris River meanders through the area, and when you are getting close to the venue, the signage is all clear for directions. You will notice the signs for the nearby dragway, the all seasons arena, and as well, the speedway right next door. North Dakota State Fair is in the heart of an exciting and active neighborhood.
There is free parking east of the fairgrounds. A shuttle is offered and can conveniently take you anywhere within the grounds. Of course, you may want to start at the beginning and work your way through to not miss a single attraction. If you have a reservation to park your RV and camp, even better, since you can take your time and wander throughout the grounds a little each day.
If you have chosen to park your home away from home offsite and want to take public transit to the fair, hop on the Minot City Transit bus and make your way to the Dakota Square Mall where a free shuttle will ferry you to the North Dakota State Fair entrance gate.
Reserve your space early as the spots for RVs are limited and are restricted to a certain size lot. Slideouts are allowed on one side, but if you require more, you will have to reserve a second spot. Campers must be placed side by side, not in squares or horseshoe shapes. However, you can request that you park beside your friends; put both reservations on the form when you register. Electricity is available, and there is a contracted pumper on site. As well, there is a dumping station for grey and black water.
There is no shortage of scenic campgrounds near the North Dakota State Fair. If you seek a quiet retreat at night as opposed to the hustle and bustle of the fairgrounds campsites, there are plenty of campgrounds that offer full hookups, pull-through sites, and family-friendly activities like kayaking and canoeing. Choose your ambiance, whether it be secluded, tree-filled spots, or wide open sites where you can see all the action.
Being a large venue, there are several rental options available for transporting those who need it. Wagons and strollers are ideal for toting tired kiddos. Wheelchairs and scooters can be reserved ahead of time if you want them for the full day; there are a limited number of rentals for walk-up customers.
Comfort is the key word when talking fairground clothing. Shorts and t-shirts or a light cotton dress will be just the fit. Bring along a light sweater for the evening and make sure that all family members are wearing their comfiest shoes. A hat for everyone is a must; make it a fun and floppy one that covers the ears and neck. Pack the RV with rain gear, too in case a shower blows in to join the fun.
Keep the fairground gear light and simple. You will find everything you need at the fair as far as cool drinks and delicious food, so other than a refillable water bottle, a camera, and a smile, the list is pretty short. Campsite gear should include bug spray and sunscreen to protect the skin, flashlights, food preparation items, and a radio.
Hydration is the word of the day at the North Dakota State Fair. Refill your water bottle often and remind the children to do the same. Apply sunscreen every few hours and remember to take a break in the shade or visit a cool barn or exhibition hall a few times throughout the morning and afternoon.
French toast, fruit, and a frittata are hearty items with which to fill the stomach before heading to the fair. A one pot evening meal is always a winner after a long day; consider chicken and dumplings in a pot on the camp stove. Open fires are not permitted at the North Dakota State Fair campground so be sure to check the RV propane before leaving home and pack the pots and pans for indoor or camp stove use.
Visit the chain restaurants in the area if you are in the mood for a familiar taste. Otherwise, check out an Irish Pub to sample bangers and mash. Steak and sandwiches are other fine choices, as is a plate of fish and chips. International flavors are yours for the tasting, too, so stop at whichever restaurant catches your eye.
Sweet or savory, large appetite or small, every taste can be satisfied when browsing the vendor stalls. All delights normally found at the fair are yours for the experimentation. Sate the thirst with lemonade or a slushie, and choose flavored cheese curds and a serving of chicken wings to go with it. ATMs are on site if you run short of cash and want to purchase fairground memorabilia.
In the keeping of a family and community-minded event, security officers will be on hand to keep each day rolling smoothly. Be prepared to have your bag checked as you enter the gates; failure to cooperate will result in a denied entry. Keep the family together as the fairgrounds can be very crowded. If you have older teens who want to check out the midway on their own, establish a meeting time and place. Pets are allowed in the campground but not at the fair.
Pack clothing for pleasant days and lovely evenings as, typically, July is a fairweather time of year in North Dakota. Allow for every event by checking the weather each day or before departing. Keep the kid’s favorite rain gear in your rig's closet and on a rainy day, explore indoor exhibits and then head back to the RV for games night and healthy snacks before bed.
Familiarize the family with the location of the first aid station and remind everyone of the importance of hydration when in the sun. Stock the RV medicine cabinet with antibiotic cream, band-aids, and peroxide in the event of a cut or fall. Keep medications safe and out of a child’s reach by securing the medicine cabinet in an area they cannot access.