WEST FARGO — After more than a decade of running the area's largest fair, Red River Valley Fair General Manager and Executive Vice President Bryan Schulz is stepping down.

"After 12 years of service to the Red River Valley Fair Association, I've decided I need to go in a different direction and chose to relinquish my title," Schulz said Wednesday, Nov. 20.

Schulz said he did not make the decision to explore a different career path because of any particular challenge or events in his current position. But rather, he said, now was a good time for a transition.

"I stressed to the board that I will start looking for something else, but I would never want to leave this board in a lurch," he said. "When I came on in 2008 and started in January, it was a lot to pull off a fair in June. So I thought now would be a good time, they can get someone in and get things done in time."

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Under Schulz's tenure, the fair has grown to record attendance numbers. The fair consistently drew more than 100,000 attendees from 2008 to 2016, including a record 125,000 in 2009. In 2017 and 2018, poor weather was suspected of dampening crowd numbers.

He also helped the annual Big Iron Farm Show grow to attract more than 70,000 international attendees.

Schulz, who served as a West Fargo city commissioner for two terms and previously worked with the Fargo-Moorhead Convention and Business Bureau, said he may stay in some sort of public service role in the future, but he's not sure yet what his next career will be, or where it will be. He said he may stay in the area, or look elsewhere in the future.

Schulz said the Red River Valley Fair board will decide how his position will be filled, but he expects a wide search will be done.