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Associated Press, Published July 16 2012

ND State Fair expects big year after 2011 flooding

MINOT, N.D. — Officials are expecting a higher-than-normal turnout at this year's North Dakota State Fair, after historic flooding forced the cancellation of last year's event.

The off year has increased the excitement for this year's fair, which starts Friday at the fairgrounds in Minot and runs through July 28, Fair General Manager Renae Korslien told The Bismarck Tribune.

"(The year off) didn't do anything good for the fair other than hype up people's anticipation for it," she said.

The fair typically attracts about 300,000 people. Attendance during the last fair, in 2010, set a record at 308,641 people. That was the first year a new $15 million, 7,200-seat grandstand was put into use.

Grandstand entertainment this year includes headliners Kid Rock, Blake Shelton and the Zac Brown Band.

The fair also will have its usual thousands of exhibits, livestock shows, a rodeo and the midway carnival.

"People are just happy to get back to the tradition and fun of the State Fair," Marketing Director Jennifer Ashley said.

The State Fair was canceled last summer for the first time in nearly half a century after the Souris River flooded a large portion of Minot including the fairgrounds. All 180 acres of the grounds have been cleaned and fixed up, according to Korslein.

"It's nice to have a new coat of paint on everything," Ashley said.

The fair has added more than 200 camping spots to keep up with extra demand this year. That might be an indication of the scarcity of hotel rooms in the city due in large part to the western North Dakota oil boom. A website has been set up at http://blog.visitminot.org/ for people to get updates on hotel room availability.



North Dakota State Fair: http://www.ndstatefair.com/


Information from: Bismarck Tribune, http://www.bismarcktribune.com

Copyright 2012 The Associated Press.