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Red River Valley Fair attendance drops a bit in 2018

A colorful machine takes riders on a scream-inducing trip in every direction at the Red River Valley Fair in 2016. Forum file photo

WEST FARGO – Scorching temperatures led to a drop in attendance at this year’s Red River Valley Fair.

The 2018 installment of the fair, which was held July 10-15, drew a total of 90,000 to 91,000 people, according to General Manager Bryan Schulz’s rough estimate Tuesday, July 24.

“We were expecting a little bit higher than that, but with the weather and everything, you can expect all you want but what it ends up is two different things,” he said.

Schulz said that’s down a bit from the nearly 95,000 people who attended the fair in 2017.

About 90,000 people attended in 2016, the lowest since 2008, in part because of thunderstorms that soaked the fair that year. The fair had consistently drawn more than 100,000 attendees in the years between 2008 and 2016, including a record 125,000 in 2009.

Still, Schulz said this year’s concerts were “great draws” that brought in a similar amount of people as the 2017 shows. Headliners this summer included Sawyer Brown, Bush and Seether.

Schulz said the main issue in 2018 was the heat, with “so unbelievably hot” temperatures during the daytime driving down attendance, especially among kids who tend to frequent the fair during the day.

Planning for the 2019 Red River Valley Fair is already underway, according to Schulz.

Ryan Johnson

Ryan Johnson is the Features Editor for The Forum of Fargo-Moorhead. He previously wrote for The Forum and the Grand Forks Herald.

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