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Will There Be A Normal State Fair This Summer? Organizers Stay Tight-Lipped

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) -- Despite a sold-out event at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds this weekend, we still don't know the details of what a State Fair might look like in August.

About 70,000 people paid $12.50 to attend the five-day "Kickoff to Summer" event. It featured 25 food booths, and a dozen vendors. It also left many asking whether there's going to be a normal fair leading into the traditional Labor Day holiday.

"I can't say that quite yet," Danielle Dullinger, with the fair, said. "What it's going to look like, we cant say. We are planning for a ton of different scenarios but cant say 100%."

State Fair officials are keeping their planning more secret than the keys to winning those Midway games, but they are overwhelmed by the success of the Memorial Day weekend event.

"This absolutely blew our expectations out of the water," Dullinger said.

With only a fraction of the usual attractions and vendors, the event was an unqualified hit with the public. One attendee told WCCO, "It feels really great to be out in the sunshine, seeing people eating corn dogs."

All the planning and preparation are not just for the hundreds of thousands of people who would possibly visit the State Fair, but over the 12 days of the Fair, thousands of people -- from carnival workers to 4-H kids -- also sleep on the grounds.

Of the more than 60,000 4-H kids in the state, only about 6,000 earn an invitation to the State Fair. And the 4-H'ers, we are told, are getting ready for what they hope will be a classic fair experience.

Erin Kelly-Collins, of the University of Minnesota extension 4-H office, said when asked if the 4-Hers knew things might be different, "Yes, they do know it might be different, but it's going to be really different compared to last year, when we could not be together at all."

The State Fair is working closely with the Minnesota Department of Health to finalize guidelines and events, and when they have that worked out they will let everyone know.

"You will have your answer soon," Dullinger said.

Gov. Tim Walz has said he thinks the fair will be a "pretty close" to normal event this year.

The 2021 dates of the Minnesota State Fair would be Aug. 26 through Sept. 6.


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