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Wendy Reuer, Published July 08 2012

2012 Red River Valley Fair brings mix of old and new

While some fairgoers may already know where to find their favorite mini-doughnut vendor, and that the best caramel apples come from the truck always parked on the midway corner, favorite entertainment choices can be harder to pick as the Red River Valley Fair continues to add new and different events each year.

The mixture of old and new keeps fairgoers on their toes, opening the door to making new events old favorites.

New: Big Bear Show

Smokey, Yogi and Fozzie have nothing on the bears of the Welde Big Bear Show.

The Welde Big Bear Show combines entertainment with education, exhibiting live bears and teaching audiences about the animals.

The bears are said to be trained with respect, love and affection by enhancing their natural behavior and developing the individual personality of each bear.

The free shows are at 1:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 6 p.m. daily.

Returning: Zerebko’s Petting Zoo

For the fourth year, the nationally known Zerebko’s Petting Zoo will be returning to the midway. Children (and adults) have the chance to see and touch camels, zebras, buffalo and other animals.

The zoo is open from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m. daily.

Returning: 4-H livestock shows

Throughout the year, 4-H kids put a lot of work into grooming their horses, cattle, sheep and rabbits into top shape for the county fair in hopes they will advance to compete at the state level. Their hard work pays off for fairgoers as well, who can check out the animals in the grounds barns or Wednesday’s 9 a.m. horse show.

Rounding the Red, the fair’s annual barrel and pole racing competition, will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday at the horse arena.

New: Swampmaster Gator Show

While the 4-H’ers are wrangling their steers into first place at judging, Swampmaster will be catching an 8-foot, 200-pound alligator with his bare hands.

Expert handler Jeff Quattrocchi will also help you and your children hold a baby alligator for a quick picture.

The free shows will be held at 2 p.m., 4 p.m. and 7 p.m. daily.

Returning: Beer Garden

After a long day of fried food and frenzied midway rides, the beer gardens are a must-stop at the Red River Valley Fair.

The beer gardens will be open until 1 a.m. each day, with live local bands performing from 6:15 to 7:30 p.m.

New: Wine Garden

Why settle for a barley and hops mix when you can fancy it up and visit this year’s new wine garden?

The wine garden, located near the information building in the middle of the grounds, will be open from 2 to 9 p.m. each day.

Fairgoers can sample a bevy of wines or sit down and relax with a glass of their favorite vintage.

Returning: Games Galore

Murphy Brothers and Games Galore will be back again with plenty of rides, both mechanical and inflatable, for the kids.

New: Steve the Pretty Good

A good magic trick is no small feat, but “Steve the Pretty Good” makes it look easy even as he saws someone in half or levitates an adult off the ground.

Infusing his awe-inspiring magic with comedy, Steve the Pretty Good keeps all his shows fresh and original.

Steve the Pretty Good will be performing on the Stop-N-Go Stage at 1 p.m. Tuesday and 5 p.m. Wednesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Returning: Minnow Races

They may be small, but they’re fast. The popular minnow races will return to the Bud Light Beer Garden on Tuesday, Thursday, Friday and Saturday.

Registration will begin at 6:30 p.m. and races will begin at 7 p.m.

The 16-bracket, double-elimination competition will offer prizes and the right to call oneself the “fastest minnow racer in the valley.”

Participants must be 21 to enter. There will be a small entry fee.

Kiddos can enter the Rubber Ducky Race from 3 to 5 p.m. Saturday at the poultry barn.

If you go

What: Red River Valley Fair

When: Tuesday through Sunday

Where: Red River Valley Fair Grounds, West Fargo

Info: The midway will open at 5 p.m. Tuesday; 1 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday; and noon Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Gate admission is free from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Tuesday through Friday. Check www.redrivervalleyfair.com for a more detailed schedule of events.