Red River Valley Fair stretches out to bring in bigger, better entertainment (2024)

WEST FARGO — The Red River Valley Fair is throwing a curve this year and we’re not talking about a contest on the midway or the Tilt-a-Whirl ride.

When the midway opens at 11 a.m., Friday, June 28, at the Red River Valley Fairgrounds in West Fargo, the annual event will be held over three consecutive weekends for the first time. The dates will be Friday, June 28 through Sunday, June 30, Thursday July 4 through Sunday July 7 and Thursday July 11 through Sunday, July 14.

“A lot of fairs are doing this,” Erin Fons, director of marketing and events at RRVF, said of spreading out the event.

The reason behind the change is a matter of numbers.

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“It allows more people to attend,” she said. “Our weekday nights and days were pretty slow. A Monday night show isn’t always the biggest.”


More people at the event means more revenue which means bigger acts and more entertainment organizers can bring in next year, she said.

Last year the RRVF hit it big with country singer/rapper Jelly Roll drawing an estimated 15,000 fans to the grandstand.

This year the big draw will be Blake Shelton . The country singer headlined WE Fest in 2021 and last played the Fargodome in 2016.

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“He’s an A-list celebrity who has been around forever,” Fons said.

Shelton's tickets are the most expensive, ranging from $79 to $349. Other concerts range from $25 to $199.

Other headliners include Goo Goo Dolls , Sublime , Gabriel Iglesias , Yung Gravy , Ludacris , Skillet , a Disney princess concert , Breaking Benjamin and Riley Green . Hard rock tribute act Hairball plays a free show on July 4.

Local and regional acts will play before and after the grandstand show at the Your Live Event Freestage .

While the RRVF won’t be up and running the first part of the week, midway rides and games will remain in their spots. Fons said the company organizing the midway, Amusem*nt Midway Providers, appreciates the downtime.


“This will give them time a chance to ensure the safety of the rides and relax a little bit,” she said, adding that the midway employees can get a chance to explore the Fargo-Moorhead- West Fargo area.

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AMP also runs the midway that was just at the Greater Grand Forks Fair from June 19 to 23, as well as the upcoming North Dakota State Fair in Minot from July 19 through 27 and Sioux Empire Fair in Sioux Falls, S.D., from Aug. 2 through 10.

In addition to the grandstand shows, there will be plenty of non-musical free entertainment as well. There will be a kiddie train ride, the juggling and escape act, Dangerous Feats of Comedy, the Hog Diggity Dog and More animal show, Magic Joe doing sleight of hand tricks, a mobile blowing glass studio, Molotov the fire eater. Pikadilly Face Painting and Swifty Swine Racing Pigs.

Guests will also be able to preview the North Dakota Renaissance Fair held Saturday, Aug. 3, Sunday, Aug. 4, Saturday Aug. 10 and Sunday, Aug. 11 at the RRV Fairgrounds.

The Ag Education Center will feature interactive and educational agricultural displays and events.

There will be at least one new food vendor at the event, the Fargo-based Forking Delicious Food Truck will have a spot.

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Some other well known regional vendors like Miller’s Concessions, Big J’s Smokehouse, Fargo Fillies & Mac Daddy’s will also set up shop for the three weekends.

“We are super excited,” Fons said. “Things are all coming together.”


If you go

What: Red River Valley Fair
When: June 28 - 30, July 4 -7 and 11 - 14.
Where: Red River Valley Fairgrounds, West Fargo
Info: Daily admission $8 for children, $15 for adults, concerts range from $25 to $349. .


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For almost 30 years John Lamb has been covering arts and entertainment in the Red River Valley. He started writing for the High Plains Reader in 1997 and moved to The Forum in 2002. He is an Annenberg fellow, an occasional judge for talent shows and food contestants and co-hosts the weekly “Gardening Together: The Podcast.” He's rubbed shoulders with Nirvana singer Kurt Cobain, drank with National Book Award winner Colm McCann, had coffee with Grammy-winning classical musician Peter Schickele and interviewed countless other artists, actors, musicians, writers and assorted interesting people. Contact John at

Red River Valley Fair stretches out to bring in bigger, better entertainment (2024)
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