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Lumberjacks, bacon, comedians, oh my! RRVF brings in new attractions, tastes

Piles of Smiles brings a new level to the fair's usual face painting booth, says Jodi Buresh, RRVF assistant general manager. Special to The Forum1 / 2
Country musician Kellie Pickler performs Thursday night at the Red River Valley Fair. Reuters2 / 2

WEST FARGO – The Red River Valley Fair opens today with 43 rides brought in by Murphy Brothers Exposition, plenty of deep-fried eats and so many animal displays you would think they were casting for “Noah.”

It’s what you would expect from a good fair, but RRVF organizers always try to bring in something new.

“We don’t like to bring in the same stage shows every year,” says Jodi Buresh, RRVF assistant general manager. “There are so many (others) out there. You might as well rotate them out.”

Buresh offered a peek at some of this year’s new attractions on the West Fargo fairgrounds.

All American Lumberjack show Paul Bunyan may call home a couple hundred miles away, but lumberjack culture and activities are kind of a foreign notion here. The All American Lumberjack show aims to change that with some good-natured contests between tree-cutting teams, including ax-throwing, sawing and log-rolling in a 10,000-gallon tub.

“They’re phenomenal,” says Buresh, who saw the show at another fair. “What I like about it is I have 2 boys, 11 and 13. After the show, they do a kids’ camp. My kids were able to get on the logs and roll them themselves. Granted, they were soaked by the time they got done, but it was fun.”

The action happens daily at 1, 3 and 5 p.m., north of Harvest Hall.

Mega Jump Action Sports BMX Show From Tall Paul to big air, the Minneapolis-based Mega Jump Action Sports BMX Show rolls into West Fargo looking to grab some air. The group pulls off two-wheeling tricks and sky-high jumps that will leave your jaw on the ground. Sounds fun for the kids, but parents may be nervous that youngsters will try this at home. No worries. The riders offer crash courses in safe trick riding.

Wheels go up at 2, 4 and 6 p.m. on the north side of the midway.

Kenny Ahern and Alex Clark This year the fair has plenty to laugh about – and that’s a good thing. Veteran comics Kenny Ahern and Alex Clark will work the fairgrounds to wrestle up some smiles. Ahern uses his ability as a juggler and a balancing act to entertain. Similarly, Clark cuts up the crowd as a juggler, one who hurls knives and meat-cleavers as easily as he tosses out jokes.

Ahern performs daily at 1:30, 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. between Exhibit and Harvest halls.

Clark performs at 2:30 and 4:30 p.m. Wednesday through Sunday between Exhibit and Harvest halls.

Piles of Smiles It’s nothing new for a fair to have a face painter, but Buresh says Kelly Smith of Piles of Smiles elevates it to a new level.

“She’s amazing. She’s a complete artist. It’s the kind of thing that parents won’t want you to wash off.”

Even better, it’s free.

Tastes like bacon There’s not much point in going to the fair if you’re not going to eat on the midway. While cheese curds and corn dogs are time-honored favorites, concessionaires are always getting creative with what they can put on a stick.

This year’s new flavor will be red velvet funnel cake and bacon-wrapped corndogs at Midwest Concession’s booth.

And if that isn’t enough pork in your fair diet, there are rumors there may be bacon-flavored cheese curds.

Fair's music lineup

There’s more to the Red River Valley Fair than just along the midway. The grandstand features some big names in country and rock. All grandstand shows are free to all fairgoers. Gates open at 6 p.m. for these general admission shows. Openers start at 8 p.m., with beer garden shows starting at 10:30 p.m.

Tuesday – Country singer Chase Rice (“Ready, Set, Role”) with Tylor Bailey opening. Slamabama in the beer garden.

Wednesday – Hard-rock tribute act Hairball with Tripwire in the beer garden.

Thursday – “American Idol” and “Dancing With the Stars” star and country singer Kellie Pickler (“Best Days of Your Life”) with American Young opening and Redline in the beer garden.

Friday – Country singer Billy Currington (“People Are Crazy”) with Jason Brown opening and October Road in the beer garden.

Saturday – Heavy-metal band Five Finger Death Punch (“Bad Company”) with Chaos in Question opening and Final Drive in the beer garden.

Sunday – Pop duo Karmin (“Brokenhearted”) with Bryce Vine opening. No act in the beer garden.