Red River Valley Fair limits smoking to three designated areas

WEST FARGO – This year’s Red River Valley Fair here will be smoke-free.
Management for the fair, which runs at the Red River Valley Fairground here July 9-14, announced Monday that smoking will largely be banned at this year’s event, except for three designated areas.
The fair had to come into compliance with the new statewide ban on public smoking, which went into effect last winter, general manager Bryan Schulz said.
The grandstands are considered an “outdoor athletic venue” under that law, and therefore smoking in that area must be outlawed, Schulz said.
Schulz said fair management then had to consider the smoking law’s provision that bans puffing within 20 feet of any door, window or ventilation opening.
“That would eliminate just about every building on the grounds,” Schulz said.
Schulz said besides the state ban, the “trend” to ban smoking at fairs got a kick start last fall, when a child was poked in the eye by a cigarette at the Minnesota State Fair.
Schulz said the Minnesota State Fair is installing a similar smoking ban this fall.
The attractions company that the Red River Valley Fair hires for carnival rides has been notified of the change. It could be a “tough sell” for the carnies who are used to smoking around their rides and attractions, Schulz said, but he’s not expecting major problems.
The attractions company is aware that fines can be levied against it and any of its employees who run afoul of the ban, Schulz said.
The fine for a person smoking where it is outlawed is $50 per violation.
There is a $100 fine per violation that can be levied against an owner or person with “general supervisory responsibility over a public place or place of employment who willfully fails to comply” with the law, according to state law.
Smoking will be allowed in parking lots and the campground area, Schulz said. There will be three designated open-air spaces for smoking within the general fairgrounds.
Fairground staff and security will enforce the ban, and there will be signs to inform fairgoers of the change, said Schulz, who doesn’t expect any issues with the ban.
“I think people realize, when the law changed, they knew that things were going to happen,” he said.