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Archives - State Agencies - State Fair Association

[Authorized:  NDCC Chapter 4-02.1]

Before the creation of the State Fair Association in 1965, a number of fairs and fair associations were authorized by the State Legislature to sponsor a state fair. In 1879, the Territorial Legislature authorized organization of an agricultural fair association in the territory (S. L. 1879, Ch. 8) and in 1885 the Department of Agriculture was allowed to provide funds to agricultural societies and organizations to finance agricultural fairs (S. L. 1885, Ch. 3).
After statehood, the State Legislature authorized the State Board of Agriculture to establish and manage a state fair near Grand Forks (S. L. 1890, Ch. 24). The State Legislature began subsidizing state fairs in 1893 and laws passed in 1897 and 1905 allowed Boards of County Commissioners to levy taxes to raise funds to establish and support county Agricultural fairs and fair associations. Also, in 1897, a state law allowed the Morton County Fair Association to sponsor a state fair held at the fairgrounds in Mandan (S. L. 1897, Ch. 134). The Missouri Slope Agriculture and Fair Association was created in 1911 (S. L. 1911, Ch. 43)) and continued to hold a regional fair in Mandan until it was abolished in 1971 (S. L. 1971, Ch. 86).

Beginning in 1905, the State Legislature authorized a state fair to be held in Grand Forks in odd numbered years (sponsored by the North Dakota State Fair Association for Grand Forks) and in Fargo in even numbered years (sponsored by the North Dakota State Fair Association for Fargo).  Each state fair association was allowed to acquire real property for fair purposes and received state appropriations (S. L. 1905, Ch. 46). The Grand Forks and Fargo fair associations were abolished with creation of the State Fair Association in 1965.

Another regional fair, the North West Agricultural, Livestock, and Fair Association, was established in Minot in 1923 (S. L. 1923, Ch. 217). The state owned the land acquired by the fair association and appropriated funds for its operations. The North West Agricultural, Livestock, and Fair Association was abolished in 1979 (S. L. 1979, Ch. 92) and all funds and property were transferred to the State Fair Association.

The State Fair Association was created in 1965 (S. L. 1965, Ch. 73) with exclusive rights to hold the State Fair. A special operating fund for the Fair is maintained by the State Treasurer, and all income, fees, rents, interest,  legislative appropriations, and any other money from the State Fair Association are deposited into this fund (S. L. 1965, Ch. 73: 1969, Ch. 83). At the request of the Governor, the 2009 State Legislature appropriated funds for a new grandstand on the state fair grounds (S. L. 2009, Ch. 37).

The State Fair Association consists of three members from each county in the state chosen for one-year terms. One member from each county is selected by the county fair board, the second by the board of county commissioners, and the third by the county agent. The board of directors, which manages the affairs of the North Dakota State Fair Association, consists of nine members elected to staggered three-year terms from the association membership.

The Board of Directors employs a Fair manager to administer the State Fair. The State Fair Association is headquartered at the North Dakota State Fair Grounds in Minot and sponsors an annual State Fair to exhibit and promote the agricultural, horticultural, industrial, mechanical, mining, poultry, stockbreeding, and other products and resources of North Dakota, and to provide a variety of entertainment and other amusements for fair visitors.

The association cooperates in year-round promotion of 4-H, Future Farmers of America, and agricultural and industrial enhancements in order to make the state fair a North Dakota showcase.


1879-1890  The Territorial Legislature promoted and financed agricultural fairs.

1890       The State Fair was held in Grand Forks.

1897       The State Fair was held in Mandan.

1905       The State Fair was held in Grand Forks and Fargo in alternating years.

1911-1971  Missouri Slope Agricultural and Fair Association.

1923-1979  North West Agricultural, Livestock, and Fair Association

1965       The State Fair Association was created by the State Legislature. 

2009       Legislature appropriates fund for new grandstand.

2010      Grandstand completed in time for the Fair.

2011       A section of the Century Code was amended concerning the disposition of property used for county fairs. Laws were repealed relating to filing of agriculture exhibition dates (S. L. 2011, Ch. 60).  The State Fair grandstand was renamed Iverson Grandstand (S. L. 2011, Ch. 9).

2013       The State Legislature provided a one-time appropriation to the North Dakota Fair Association to help to defray expenses for damages incurred by the 2010 flood (S. L. 2013, Ch. 40).


Guide to North Dakota State Archives, 1985 p 35.
North Dakota Blue Book, 1989, 2009-2011.
North Dakota Session Laws.   


30892    Subject Files.
30891    Minutes.
30990    Concession and Exhibition Contracts.
30991    Audit Reports.
30992    General Ledger.
30993    Account Book.
30994    Property Inventories.
30995    Scrapbooks.
30996    Attendance Record.
30997    Monthly Reports.
30998    Receipt and Disbursement Record.
30999    Photographs.
31246    State Fair Survey Questionnaires.            

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