MINOT, N.D. — The 2019 North Dakota State Fair was given high marks by its general manager.
"I will tell you that the look of it and the feel of it was so good this year," Renae Korslien said. "People from all over have been complimenting it and not just fair-goers. Vendors have told us that even if they don't make the most money (at NDSF), the people and the environment are just so nice. You know how it is. People often don't say good things. More often, when people speak up, it's negative."
Attendance at the State Fair this year was slightly off from last year. Attendance this year totalled 293,145. In 2018, attendance hit the second highest total on record with 318,000. However, attendance was greater than 2016 and on par with that of 2017.
"It was just about normal and we're happy with attendance," Korslien said.
The results were mixed when it came to this year's lineup of concerts. The country music pass "was up — and the reviews were good," Korslien said. "I admit, rock music is a struggle. We get so many ideas from people, but it is hard to please everyone. We truly want to please everyone but that isn't an easy thing to do because people's tastes are so different."
Of the new additions to this year's fair, Korslien said she received good responses to the new carnival as well as to other new attractions such as the free Kid's Space and the "Remembering Our Fallen," installation, a traveling photo memorial honoring military members who died during the War on Terror from Sept. 11, 2001 to present, among others.
"Remembering Our Fallen" was notably different than the traditional fair attractions, Korslien pointed out.
"It wasn't the usual fun thing one expects at the fair," she said. "It was very solemn. We had visitors from all over. When I went out to it a few times, it was quiet and many people were looking, paying tribute. We're truly thankful for that."
Still, Korslien said her favorite part is the FFA and 4-H youth.
"You walk into barns, where the kids spend most of their time caring for their animals," she said. "They are so happy, so proud. They work all year for this. But everyone can't win. The thing is, when they don't win, they have friends to cheer on. We could all learn a lot from that."
With the fair having wrapped up just as the state fairgrounds have to be prepared for several major upcoming events, there hasn't been time for staff to have their usual major meeting where all aspects are discussed and ideas for 2020 are taken up.
"We haven't gotten yet to the point where we discuss fine tuning," Korslien said. "But we will."