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Dozens Of Minnesota State Fair Vendors, Exhibitors Won't Return This Year

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- This year's Minnesota State Fair experience may not be what fair-goers are used to.

After releasing its COVID-19 guidelines Wednesday, many vendors and exhibitors are making a tough decision.

Fair Spokesperson Danielle Dullinger said about 150 to 200 vendors and exhibitors will not be returning. She said in pre-pandemic years, the fair lost about 50 to 100 vendors and exhibitors. The fair has not been finding replacements to give more room for attendees.

"Breaking attendance record is not our goal this year. For those who would love to come, we'd love to have you. For those who are uncomfortable coming, we'll see you next year," Dullinger said. "We're just looking to put on the best and safest fair we can this year."

For Ze Li, setting up for a state fair event is a familiar sight. The Houston native and his family hauls their Chan's Concession stand across the nation each year, serving at different events. Despite rising COVID cases, the business couldn't miss the opportunity to be back at The Great Minnesota Get-Together.

"It's the biggest, it's the best. You know, people here are great, you know, the crowds are great and we love it here," Li said.

Minnesota State Fair
(credit: CBS)

However, several other businesses have opted out of the celebration this year. Dullinger says it's due to shortage of staff and the pandemic.

Some staples not returning this year, including the Giant Sing Along.

"We figured, you know, people singing into microphones might not be the greatest idea this year," Dullinger said.

The River Raft ride and Go Carts located south of Judson Avenue are also gone. Dullinger said that was a decision made even before 2020. In its place will be the Adventure Park, which typically is located in Mural Park, near the Grandstand.

"We decided to move Adventure Park into that area because it makes that area in Mighty Midway more spacious," she said.

Granted people take precautions, vendors are expecting a safe celebration.

"If everyone keep their mask on, we should be OK," Li said.

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