It’s something thousands of people look forward to every summer — the North Dakota State Fair, and for the first time since the 2011 flood, it’s canceled.
After the tough decision was made, we went to see how people in Minot are reacting.
“To bring this many people in and keep them social distanced, it’s an impossible thing to do, guys. And I’m very sad about it,” said Renae Korslien, manager NDSF.
The North Dakota State Fair board made the difficult decision to cancel the upcoming fair.
“We’ve got to keep our community safe. We cannot make this a ‘hot spot.’ We need to keep everyone safe and I know people and some are angry,” said Korslien.
Nearly 300,000 people typically make their way through the gates over the nine days in July, from places like Minnesota, Montana and even Canada.
An economic impact study by Visit Minot found that the State Fair and the Norsk Høstfest combine to bring $90 million in revenue to the city each year.
Now, both events are off.
“That’s a big number and it’s certainly hard to make up. So, there’s no doubt that that is a huge hit for our community,” said Stephanie Schoenrock, executive director, Visit Minot.
And for the fair, there’s no way to recoup the money already spent.
“There is no insurance. I don’t know where people got that we ever got insurance from the flood because no, there was no insurance collected. And there is no insurance for this year because of a cancellation,” Korslien said.
We asked people like you how they feel about the fair being canceled.
“Sad,” said Scottie Archer, sixth-grader.
“Because I can’t hang out with my friends,” Scottie added.
“Because then I’m not able to hang out with my friends,” said Jordan Archer, eighth-grader.
“Well, we are pretty sad because we were planning on going. That’s time for the kids to have fun,” said Ricardo Garcia, Minot resident.
“It sucks and it’s not going to be cool to have nothing to do, but at the same time, we’re keeping our children safe, we’re keeping everybody else safe and to me, going on an amusement ride is not as important as keeping everyone safe and healthy,” said Alisha Rosser, Minot resident.
We also spoke to a few people who disagree with the decision to cancel, but they did not want to appear on camera.
Korslien said she’s hopeful the NoDak races and International Flat Track can still happen this year.
For those of you who have already purchased state fair tickets, you will be refunded soon and you do not need to contact the state fairgrounds.
That $90 million has a huge impact on Minot’s economy.
Hotels, restaurants and small businesses see a lot of revenue from people visiting for these events. With the closures from COVID-19 and these events getting canceled, one hotel manager we spoke to said this year is going to be difficult. But, he remains optimistic.
“It’s definitely not looking as good as previous years. Obviously we’re taking a hit. But, if there’s one thing that I know from Minot and the community, is we’re very resilient, we’re not afraid to go through tough times,” said Gabriel Mejia, general manager, Grand Hotel.