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Real blast from the past coming to West Fargo

There's a real blast from the past coming to West Fargo.

The 10th annual North Dakota Muzzle Loaders and Historical Trade Fair will be held Feb. 20-21, in the Agriculture Building on the Red River Valley Fairgrounds. Attendees will get to experience everything from historical re-enactors to primitive fire starting, and everything in between.

"There's a lot for everybody: people who are interested in muzzle loading, people who are interested in history," said Darrell Kersting, Trade Fair Coordinator. "It's just a fun thing to go to."

As a member of NDML, Kersting is an avid muzzleloader shooter and said he enjoys both the challenge of using a black-powder weapon, as well as the history behind it.

"The focus of (NDML) is shooting black powder guns," Kersting said. "But we also get into the historical reenactment part of it. We show people what level you can take it to.

"And there are some people who don't even have a muzzleloader; they just like the whole aspect of it."

Hunting enthusiasts attending the Trade Fair may want to check out the traditional muzzleloader deer hunting booth. There, an avid black-powder hunter will have tools of the trade as well as loads of information for those wanting to try that style of hunting for themselves.

"You can actually see what this stuff is and see how to use it," Kersting said.

Hunters comfortable with more technologically advanced types of hunting may wonder why anyone would want to use these relics. But, Kersting pointed out that part of the draw of traditional shooting is the test it gives the user.

"What's really great is, yes, there are some challenges with muzzleloader hunting, but it's very fulfilling," he said.

And if hunting isn't up your alley, there is plenty more going on at the Trade Fair. History buff will enjoy displays and demonstrations, including the history of the northwest mounted police, put on by noted re-enactor Greg Steele. There also will be vendors on hand with historical items such as trade beads, blacksmithing and even brain-tanned leather.

The Trade Fair is a learning experience for all ages, Kersting said.

It is open to the public from 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. Saturday, and 10:00 a.m.-4:00 p.m. Sunday. Adult admission is $3 and children 12 and younger get in for $2. On Sunday, however, children 12 and younger get in free.

The North Dakota Muzzle Loaders have been around since 1968, but many people don't know they exist, Kersting said. Hopefully, after the Trade Fair, the word will get out.

For more information on the North Dakota Muzzle Loaders and Historical Trade Fair, contact Kersting at 701-866-4991 or by e-mail at