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Julianne Hough, Zac Brown Band headline grandstand; Red River Valley Fair kicks off Friday

The Zac Brown Band will be playing Friday night at the Red River Valley Fair. Special to the Pioneer1 / 2
Julianne Hough kicks off the entertainment line-up along with the Zac Brown Band. Special to the Pioneer2 / 2

The excitement builds as the 2009 Red River Valley Fair fast approaches, July 10 through July 18 living up to the expectations of its theme - "Experience It."

A huge part of the event each year is the headlining grandstand entertainment and this year will be no exception with a full and varied mixed country-rock lineup.

On the country side, Julianne Hough and the Zac Brown Band, both 2009 Academy of Country Music award winners, will be kicking off the Friday, July 10 grandstand show; Joey and Rory will be opening for Joe Diffie on Sunday, July 12; Gloriana and the Trailer Choir will be taking the stage Monday, July 13; and Diamond Rio will be performing Wednesday, July 15.

Rock performances will include Survivor, Saturday, July 11; 38 Special, Tuesday, July 14; and Hairball, Thursday, July 16.

Rounding out the grandstand lineup will be the bumper to bumper action of Wissota racing on Friday, July 17, and a demolition derby followed by a huge fireworks finale on Saturday, July 18.

The dirt events begin at 7 p.m. and the concerts at 8 p.m. nightly. Dirt events are limited to the first 8,400 people.

The entire fair will be packed full of family entertainment that is sure to please young and old alike. New to 2009 will be daily Lumberjack shows, Kidz Jam, a history of Harley Davidson and many more activities for all to enjoy.

Fair General Manager Bryan Schulz said the goal in the planning was to present a 'brand new exciting fair incorporating  something for everyone,' consequently, the reasoning behind this year's theme urging the public to 'experience it.' With the diverse mix, Schulz believes organizers have achieved just that, with the wide gamut of on ground activities that will be featured daily. "As an association, we really wanted to have something for every age group - Clydesdales, Ag education center, the kiddie tractor pull, and the brand new midway is going to be a big ride draw. We've tried to bring back old things that used to be at the old fair, which includes a lot of kid's events.'

With the economy in a down flux, he said this year's fair also helps support the more economical 'staycation' concept, urging residents to take in what their local area has to offer when it comes to recreational fun things to do. "There are so many things going on in our area, if people are truly looking for something to do they can find it - not only the Red River Valley Fair, but the Fargo Downtown Street Fair and the Clay County Fair, also occurring at the same time. There is certainly going to be so much happening that there will indeed be something for everyone to do."

With strong emphasis on the family aspect, among the activities occurring for the kids will be KidzJam, a high-energy interactive animated program based on "love" "hope" and "truth," that will be presented by their touring group July 10-16. Each day the tour team will host: games shows, a fun zone consisting of a 40-foot obstacle course that is sure to challenge, as well as tour buddies - larger than award winning Disney characters.

On a similar note, Monday, July 13, will be recognized as Kid's Day from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Scheduled to appear are Penny & Pals, local mascots, Danno's Karaoke, and more. From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., Murphy Brothers Carnival will be letting special needs individuals enjoy the carnival rides for free. As an added bonus, everyone is eligible for free gate admission from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

Every day is Kid's Day at the fair, but it's a true treat to have a day that is set aside with extra kid friendly activities" said Jodi Buresh, Assistant General Manager, Red River Valley Fair. "Kids bring life and excitement to the fair.  They are the ones who enjoy coming out here, riding the carnival rides, and playing the games.  We should give them a day that's dedicated to them."

The Hedrick's Petting Zoo will also be open to the public from 11 a.m. 9 p.m., located on the North side of the Red River Valley Fairgrounds, and the ACME Building will host the Budweiser Clydesdale horses, the company's most recognizable mascot. 

To make it easier for those attending, an all-new 'Mega Pass' is being offered that will allow one individual gate admission to all nine days of the Fair, unlimited carnival rides for all nine days to the Murphy Brothers Carnival, as well as free admission to all the grandstand shows for the entire run of the Fair, with the shows on Friday, July 17, and Saturday, July 18, limited to 8,400 people. Cost of the Mega Pass is $70 with tickets available at all area Stop-N-Go stores and at the Fair office.

The Murphy Brothers Carnival will also be a part of the midway entertainment this year, offering one of the most complete outdoor entertainment experiences in the world, featuring heart-pounding rides, amazing games, and mouth-watering food, all wrapped up in a clean, safe, family-friendly environment.

The local Fargo-based Games Galore will also be teaming up with Murphy Brothers to preview a wide variety of inflatables for kids of all ages to enjoy, all included in the Mega Pass and daily ride pass tickets, with the latter available only at Stop N Go at a cost of $25 or at the Fairgrounds for $30 for unlimited carnival rides for one day. Daily ride tickets do not include gate admission.

Regular daily gate admission to the Fair without the Mega Pass will be $7 for adults, 12 and older; $3 for juniors, 6-11; and free for kids, five and under. Season gate admission passes good for all nine days of the Fair can also be acquired that get you into the grandstand entertainment and all the exhibits and on ground shows, with the exception of the carnival rides. Cost is: $20, junior 6-11; and $40, adults, 12 and older.

The gates will open at 11 a.m. each day and plenty of free parking will be available.

For more information about the 2009 Red River Valley Fair and updates on entertainment additions, visit their Web site at or call their office at 282-2200.