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Sun file photo / Chris Olson Children ride on the carousel at the Stutsman County Fair in July. The Stutsman County Fair Board has signed a contract with Murphy Bros. Exposition to provide the rides at the fair for the next five years. The Mighty Thomas Carnival provided the rides for about the last 10 years.

County Fair changes dates: Murphy Bros. Exposition to provide more rides during event

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news Jamestown, 58401
Jamestown North Dakota 121 3rd St NW 58401

The Stutsman County Fair will be held one week earlier for at least the next five years, because the fair board has contracted with a different carnival for more rides.

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Stutsman County Fair Board President Mike Williams said Tuesday that the fair has entered a five-year contract with Murphy Bros. Exposition, which will move the fair to the first week of July.

Murphy Bros. guarantees 25 rides, Williams said. The Mighty Thomas Carnival, which has served the Stutsman County Fair for about 10 years, provided about 15 to 17 rides, he said.

“Jamestown and the surrounding community have been supporting our fair very well for the past decade,” Williams said, “and we feel we have to give them the best carnival that is willing to come to this area.”

Not only will the carnival change provide more rides, but it will also bring back some Stutsman County Fair traditions, Williams said.

Murphy Bros. provided rides to the Stutsman County Fair from the 1960s through the ’80s or ’90s, he said.

The fair board switched to the Mighty Thompson Carnival about 10 years ago when Murphy Bros. couldn’t come to the Stutsman County Fair because of a scheduling conflict with the Red River Valley Fair in Fargo, Williams said.

“The fair board is thrilled to have the fair during the Fourth of July holiday again, since it was a tradition of the Stutsman County Fair for several decades,” Williams said.

Having the Stutsman County Fair during Fourth of July week will also put it around the same time as White Cloud’s Birthday/Tatanka Festival.

“We weren’t real pleased, but we also know they have to get their carnival,” said J.T. Thompson, chairman of the National Buffalo Museum board.

“It’s going to be good for the town,” Thompson said about the new carnival. “We have to be good citizens and think about the whole town, not just our part.”

The National Buffalo Museum board hasn’t met yet to discuss how the fair’s scheduling change might affect the Tatanka Festival, he said.

The change could lower attendance for the Tatanka Festival, with people wanting to visit the county fair instead, but it could also increase attendance, Thompson said.

The fair’s scheduling change will also affect the deadlines for 4-H students’ projects, but Williams said, “I’m optimistic they’ll work hard and get their projects done on time.”

Searle Swedlund, executive director of Buffalo City Tourism, said he believes having the Stutsman County Fair, Tatanka Festival and Fourth of July events all in the same week will provide “a bigger experience for visitors to Jamestown.”

“We’re excited about the change,” Swedlund said.

The many different community groups that help coordinate the Tatanka Festival and the Fourth of July events will continue planning discussions leading up to summer, Swedlund said.

Williams said he knows it can be difficult to switch dates on an event as large as the Stutsman County Fair, but he said this change should benefit fair-goers, especially children and teenagers who enjoy the rides.

“We’re creating good memories for the kids,” Williams said.

The Stutsman County Fair is scheduled July 2-5 this summer.

It will be July 1-4 in 2015, June 29-July 2 in 2016, June 28-July 1 in 2017 and July 4-7 in 2018.

Sun reporter Charly Haley can be reached at 701-952-8455 or by email at chaley@jamestownsun.com

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