A message from Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer:
We’ve been working hard and doing our very best with preparations for the 2020 State Fair. The picture was cloudy in March, but things have cleared up considerably since then. Right now is the time of year when things need to really take off if we’re going to have a fair, but we can see that we’re out of runway and can’t get off the ground. There will be no State Fair this year.
Like everything during the past few months, it’s complex and difficult. The State Fair is built on a vast network of agriculturists, vendors, artists, entertainers, competitors, amusement operators, sponsors, State Fair staff and thousands more who always give their very best. They are the pillars of the fair, and almost all have been affected during the past two months. Some are doing okay, but many have eroded including some who provide our biggest and best programs. It’s a challenging time for our determined young people in youth agriculture programs. More and more livestock exhibitors, entertainers and attraction operators are concerned with going on the road this summer. Some commercial exhibitors are past their deadlines for getting products, and now there’s even a question of adequate supplies for food vendors. And many are having trouble finding people who are willing to work in crowds.
This will have a big impact on thousands of businesses and the tens of thousands of people whose talent, dedication and love bring the fair to life. We understand exactly what they’re going through because we’re going through the same thing.
We’ll face those challenges because the most important thing is your health. No one knows what things will be like at fair time, but we need to make decisions now based on what we know today, not how we hope things will be in August. And right now, all of the science says that if things go well, we’ll still be walking very carefully in three months. That’s far from ready to run a mass gathering marathon like the State Fair. Can you see social distancing on a Park & Ride bus, or at the Bandshell? One at a time on the Giant Slide? Can you imagine standing six feet apart in line for cookies? Me neither.
The State Fair needs to be a full-on celebration. That’s what makes it very special for so many of us, including young fair fan Addie who is 5 years old. She starts kindergarten this fall and she said, “I love the fair. There are a hundred things to do there. And it’s my birthday. It’s my favorite time of year.”
Millions of people love the fair just like Addie, even if it’s not their birthday. And that’s exactly why we can’t have a fair this year. We owe it to you now, and we owe it to posterity to give you the very best that we possibly can in a safe environment. By taking the tough road today, we guarantee that the fair’s future remains hopeful and bright.
A month ago, my good friend Carlos wrote, “If there’s no fair this year, it’s because they love us and want to see EVERYone next year.” He’s right. That’s the heart of the matter. We want to see you all for many years to come, when we can celebrate in true State Fair style.
So this isn’t a difficult decision. It’s the only decision. It’s the right thing to do. As we go through this strange summer, we’re extremely grateful for the understanding and support of everyone who makes the State Fair possible – especially the millions of fair fans from around the globe. The best thing we can all do right now is to help the world recover and heal. In the meantime, your team of State Fair pros is working hard to come back bigger, better, stronger and smarter in ‘21. We’ll see you next year at the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together.”
May 21: The Minnesota State Fair board of managers will meet Friday, May 22, to discuss the 2020 fair. All official and up-to-date information can be found on this page of our website.
April 23, message from Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer: As stewards of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, it is our duty to do everything we can for as long as we can to ensure that Minnesota has a world class State Fair this year. Central to this year’s preparations are the directives of state, national and international health agencies. At this point, the outlook for late summer events remains unknown. As of now, there is no specific date by which a decision to hold the fair must be made. That picture will become more clear in the weeks ahead as we continue to be in contact with our partners that are vital to produce an event the size and scope of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. The fair’s success relies on agriculturists, commercial and competitive exhibitors, educators, entertainers, attraction operators, suppliers, contractors and many others who must be at their very best to successfully produce the type of event that Minnesota expects and deserves.
At its heart, the State Fair is a grand celebration where all feel welcome, safe and secure. We are discussing and considering options that will enable us to provide that experience in 2020; however, alternate fair dates, a change in duration of the fair, or significant restrictions are not being considered.
We continue to remain hopeful that we can celebrate this year in our usual style, but ultimately please know and rest assured the State Fair will do the right thing for Minnesota, our nation and our world.
April 3, message from Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer: Planning and preparations continue for the 2020 Minnesota State Fair. Production of an event the size and scope of the State Fair requires the year-round efforts of our hard-working team, and those efforts must continue if we are to present the type of event that Minnesotans expect and deserve. We’re carefully following the directives of state and national health agencies, and we’re in close touch with our fair industry colleagues throughout North America including vendors, entertainers, competitive exhibitors and support services. Despite the uncertainties of the day, we remain hopeful that we can all celebrate the end of summer in our usual Great Minnesota Get-Together style. As we plan for the end of August, rest assured that the State Fair will always do what’s right for Minnesota, our nation and our world.
April 3, 5 p.m.: For the time being, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds are open to pedestrian and bicycle traffic and is accessible from Gate 5 at Snelling Avenue and Midway Parkway. All other gates are closed. For the safety of walkers and bikers, if you are driving to the fairgrounds, we ask that you park upon entering and do not drive around the grounds. Please comply with posted parking and traffic signs, including speed limits.
We also ask that your inner “Minnesota Nice” guides you as you use the fairgrounds to walk or bike.
Things to note:
Thank you for respecting other walkers and bikers, the fairgrounds and its buildings and property. If you have questions or comments, please email firstname.lastname@example.org.
March 26, 12:30 p.m.: As of Friday, March 27 at 11 p.m., the Minnesota State Fairgrounds are closed to public vehicle traffic until Friday, April 10 at 5 p.m.
March 18, 2 p.m.: While things are quiet here on the fairgrounds, and you may not hear from us for a bit, please know that our team is working hard preparing to welcome you to one of our state’s most treasured traditions – the Minnesota State Fair. Hang in there, Minnesota.
March 16, 4:45 p.m.: Based on recent CDC guidelines, all events taking place on the fairgrounds for the next eight weeks, through May 10, have been canceled. Gate 5 (Snelling Ave.), Gate 7 (Como Ave./Underwood St.), Gate 14 (Como Ave./Canfield St.) and Gate 15 (West Dan Patch) will be open to the public 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily for through traffic. Learn more about non-fair events.
March 16, 1:30 p.m.: Until further notice, access to State Fair buildings will be limited to staff only. We are available via phone or email. Please use the direct contact information for the department or staff you are trying to reach. Or, use our general phone number or email address: 651-288-4400 or email@example.com.