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Minnesota State Fair Officials Planning To Go Ahead In 2021, For Now

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Plans for The Great Minnesota Get Together are coming together. The Minnesota State Fair's general manager, Jerry Hammer, says his team is still planning to host the fair this summer.

The fair was canceled last year because of the coronavirus; it was the first time the fair had been canceled in about three-quarters of a century.

Hammer says that the current COVID-19 outlook is encouraging right now, but he says the event will likely include safe precautions we're used to in our new normal. Those could include face masks, social distancing, no-contact payment, and possible attendance limits.

But even with changes, Hammer hopes Minnesotans can once again find some common ground at the fairgrounds.

"It doesn't matter where you're from, what you do, you know, none of that matters when you get to the fair. Here we are all together, we are all celebrating the best of humanity, the best of Minnesota," general manager Jerry Hammer said. "We are really celebrating our humanity, there is no place like the fair and boy do we need it now."

Hammer says there's no timeline on when there will be a final decision. He also says it would be "basically impossible" to postpone for the fair for later this year.

The last time the fair was canceled was back in 1946, due to the polio pandemic. And it was reportedly canceled only four times before that — in 1945 due to travel restrictions during World War II, in 1893 because it was up against the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, and in both 1861 and 1862 because of the Civil War and the U.S.-Dakota War.

It's without question the largest single gathering in the state, and in fact is among the most well-attended state fairs nationwide, with annual attendance tallies lately surpassing 2 million.

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