No one would likely blame Renae Korslien if she wanted to throw up her hands and scream to the high heavens after the cancellation of the 2011 North Dakota State Fair and the news that the All Seasons Arena floor needs replacement that could cost upwards of $1 million.
Indeed, it seems Korslien is ready to do just that - but what she's likely to be yelling might surprise you.
She would probably be shouting with joy in anticipation of the 2012 fair.
Dave Caldwell/MDN • Renae Korslien beams with pride in July 2010 during a media tour of the just-completed new grandstand at the North Dakota State Fairgrounds in Minot. Not even two years into the job, Korslien has faced more than her share of major hurdles, but keeps a bright outlook.
"We're going to come back - better than ever," she said Wednesday. "The staff is so excited to put on the best 2012 fair, that everybody has been doing their department - we feel like we're way ahead of the game because we're so excited to get it done and to show people that we can bring back the best fair."
When Korslien was named manager of the fair in February 2010 after working there for 35 years, she took over a fairgrounds that was about to unveil a huge, new grandstand and was in the process of signing one of its biggest-ever concert lineups.
She had no idea what kind of trials and tribulations lay ahead.
Prairie Profile is a weekly feature profiling interesting people in our region. We welcome suggestions from our readers. Call Regional Editor Eloise Ogden at 857-1944 or Managing Editor Kent Olson at 857-1939. Either can be reached at 1-800-735-3229. You also can send e-mail suggestions to email@example.com.
"The challenge of building the new grandstand was a real challenge as well, just to make sure things were going right," Korslien said, also crediting former fair manager Jerry Iverson for his key work on the project. "And then the challenge of the snow coming off the roof."
Large amounts of snow falling from the grandstand's huge roof damaged the Pub during the grandstand's first winter.
A new snow retention system was put into place earlier this month in an attempt to mitigate similar problems this year. However, to complete the project, more funding had to be obtained from lawmakers not long after the $17 million-plus to build the grandstand was passed.
"That was not part of our plan," Korslien said. "So once again, getting down to the Legislature, asking for money that's a big challenge for the fair."
And as if that weren't enough, Mother Nature had another bit of nastiness up her sleeve for 2011.
"Nothing like the wonderful flood," Korslien deadpanned. Although the two centerpieces of the fairgrounds, the grandstand and the North Dakota State Fair Center, were mostly saved from the raging Souris River by emergency diking performed by fair staff.
For a time, Korslien believed the fair could still go on as a somewhat scaled-back version, but those plans were eventually scrapped as the realization developed that damage to Minot was simply too severe to support it this year.
Korslien called the cancellation "heartbreaking."
"I don't believe any manager would want to be credited with the cancellation of the fair," she said. "But it happened, and I was very fortunate to have the best staff that there could ever be - and we made it through."
Korslien said that if she would have known then what would happen, she would still have wanted the job that she has grown to love.
"I love that fair, and I want it to be the best it can ever be," she said.