2021 Minnesota State Fair

MplsGopher

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STrib today on worker shortage:

The fair itself usually hires about 2,300 people to work the 12 days, doing everything from taking tickets to helping with crowd control to emptying trash barrels and cleaning bathrooms. But it's further behind on hiring than usual this year with about 400 positions still open. And that's not counting the hundreds of jobs that vendors would also still like to fill.

...

Metro Transit has warned it will offer fewer buses to the fair this year because it is also facing a labor crunch and doesn't have enough drivers.

"Regardless, the fair will take place," said Dullinger, adding that fairgoers are being asked to have a little extra patience. "We're telling people to expect that there might be longer lines at food vendors. There might be longer lines at the gates."

Tom Bettenburg, owner of the Tom Thumb Donuts booth that has been a staple at the fair for 71 years, said he'd normally hire 20 to 30 workers, but is having trouble this year getting 20. And that's despite bumping up wages by $2 an hour.

"It's the rare vendor out here who has extra help," he said last week while hauling a ladder and setting up his tent on the corner of Underwood Street and Carnes Avenue. "Wages are up and applications are down."

He worries that some new hires won't bother showing up after the first few days, something that happens every year. So he will add a $1-an-hour bonus for each person who makes it through the whole fair.

A block away, Kevin Hannigan at the Produce Exchange booth said he's mostly turned to his friends' teenagers for staffing help. He now has 17 workers, but would prefer to have 22.

"The problem is 10 of my employees are between 14 and 17 and never had a job before," he said. "I am having a really hard time finding qualified people."

Mike Kempenich, owner of the Gentleman Forager who has a State Fair booth selling mushrooms and other foraged items, only got one response, instead of 30, to a Facebook post asking his 15,000 followers for people to work at the fair. So he'll have to be at the booth every day and has turned to friends and volunteers for help.

...

In a typical year, Sweet Martha's, which has three booths at the fair, hires between 750 and 800 employees, many of them between the ages of 15 and 18, said hiring manager Katie Atlas. But this year, it's only hired about 650, and some of them seem to be signing up for fewer shifts. That's despite a raise in starting pay to about $15 an hour.
 

MplsGopher

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^^ I can see the train coming towards the stalled out car over the tracks, this year.


People pent up to go back, after missing last year. Record attendance. Record for low number of workers. Lines will be 17 miles long at every stand. People who are slogging through are exhausted. Etc.

Still planning to go and make the best of it. Might try to go during a week day.
 

tikited

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No chance of me going there this year. I once took a 7 or 8 year break in my late 30's into my 40's. Best decision as I was pumped to go back once I did. I'm at that point again where going is more of a chore than anything.
 

saintpaulguy

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I bought discount ticket in Feb. I'm in. Mind you, I can see the water tower from my house, so It's going to cost a 2 bucks to get there and back.
 

Spaulding!No!

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Bumping up the hourly wage should be motivation for some. 25 to 30 bucks an hour.
 


short ornery norwegian

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I think it has a lot to do with getting older, but the last couple of times I attended the State Fair, I really didn't enjoy the experience. just too many people. I like to go in the buildings and look at the exhibits and watch demonstrations, and in some of the buildings, it's almost impossible because of the crowds - not to mention that the 'traffic flow' in some buildings is always messed up - people trying to move in all directions, and then the yahoos who decide it's a good idea to stop in the middle of the aisle to try and have a conversation.

I rarely eat fair food, so I don't worry about standing in line for that, but going to the bathroom can be an adventure.

Now, to be sure, because of my work schedule, I typically wind up going to the Fair on weekends or on Labor Day, so I'm bucking the biggest attendance days.

Maybe when I retire I'll try going up mid-week and see if that's better.

FWIW, I used to like to go to the Fair on a Sunday, and time it so I could get in front of the WCCO booth and watch/listen to Sid do the Sports Huddle Live. They would usually have a "Gopher" day where they would have the FB Coach and some of the players on stage and take questions from the audience. I remember being there the day after the Brandon Hall shooting. Mason did his segment over the phone just as the news about the shooting was breaking.
 

Nax5

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Not worth the hassle this year.
 

TruthSeeker

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I think attendance will be less than anticipated. Delta has a lot of people rethinking things, especially parents with unvaccinated kids.

The Fair is going to be a mess this year. The gun carriers lawsuit will probably fail, but if it succeeds, then more people will stay away. The worker shortage will cause problems for rides and food.

I say all of that, and I go to the Fair multiple times every year.
 




OldBob53

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Im traveling 1200 miles to get there so they better not call it off. Bummer if all the cowsheds an all are empty.
 

Blizzard

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We've got 3-4 trips planned this year. Once with the wife, once at least with my son, once with the daughter and grandchildren. It's hard to know what to expect. I think crowds will be down but on some days where there were 200,000 and now it's 150,000 it may be hard to judge. Regardless, I think Covid will keep a lot of people away. It's our intention to go early and probably leave before the busiest times of the day, wear masks in buildings, and so on.
 

Blizzard

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I should add that parking is going to be a big unknown this year. I think a lot of people are going to avoid park and rides. Street parking is tough during a regular year, this year I think it will be next to impossible.
 

MennoSota

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No chance of me going there this year. I once took a 7 or 8 year break in my late 30's into my 40's. Best decision as I was pumped to go back once I did. I'm at that point again where going is more of a chore than anything.
Last time I graced the fair was 1994. I can't stand the great petri dish.
 



MplsGopher

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I should add that parking is going to be a big unknown this year. I think a lot of people are going to avoid park and rides. Street parking is tough during a regular year, this year I think it will be next to impossible.
There's always street parking .... it's a matter of how far you're willing to walk (both ways).
 

Blizzard

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Hard to say how this'll go over. I would think many would be compliant indoors. We don't have an issue with it and we're pretty anti-mask. Outdoors though? No chance in hell I'll wear a mask.

 

LakevilleBro

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Kare 11 is not broadcasting at this years fair, and others will follow.
 

short ornery norwegian

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I should add that parking is going to be a big unknown this year. I think a lot of people are going to avoid park and rides. Street parking is tough during a regular year, this year I think it will be next to impossible.

I saw a note somewhere that Metro Transit is short of drivers, so they will be operating fewer busses to the fair. Last time I went, I parked out in the 'burbs and took the bus to the fairgrounds.

Parking on the grounds is a royal pain. can't stand getting stuck on Snelling for a half-hour just trying to get back to the freeway.
 

MplsGopher

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Have been parking at the U (by the stadium) and taking the shuttle over, for at least the past few years now. Always has worked well for us.
 


Blizzard

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I saw a note somewhere that Metro Transit is short of drivers, so they will be operating fewer busses to the fair. Last time I went, I parked out in the 'burbs and took the bus to the fairgrounds.

Parking on the grounds is a royal pain. can't stand getting stuck on Snelling for a half-hour just trying to get back to the freeway.

We typically park at the Boy Scout parking at the church on Midway Parkway. It's maybe $15.00. You have to get there fairly early though but still pretty slick. Roseville has a lot of park and rides. If that's your option I would use St. Rose of Lima or New Life Presbyterian. Both are fairly close to the Fair. If you're going to the Fair the pro tip is to use Hamline Avenue. It runs parallel to Snelling and connects to Hwy 36.
 

From the Parkinglot

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Did St. Paul stop allowing people to park on the lawns of people during the fair? I remember something about that a few years ago either they wanted to outlaw it or they wanted to tax / fee the heck out of the property owners.
 

Spaulding!No!

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We typically park at the Boy Scout parking at the church on Midway Parkway. It's maybe $15.00. You have to get there fairly early though but still pretty slick. Roseville has a lot of park and rides. If that's your option I would use St. Rose of Lima or New Life Presbyterian. Both are fairly close to the Fair. If you're going to the Fair the pro tip is to use Hamline Avenue. It runs parallel to Snelling and connects to Hwy 36.
Lima’s is full by 7:30 A.M.
 


Blizzard

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Did St. Paul stop allowing people to park on the lawns of people during the fair? I remember something about that a few years ago either they wanted to outlaw it or they wanted to tax / fee the heck out of the property owners.

Not that I know of.
 

jamiche

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I used to hate the fair. However, in the last five years or so I've flipped and gone all in. (My wife couldn't believe it.) I was ready to go this year until they announced that masks weren't a requirement. Don't need to participate in our own little Sturgis.
 

MplsGopher

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I used to hate the fair. However, in the last five years or so I've flipped and gone all in. (My wife couldn't believe it.) I was ready to go this year until they announced that masks weren't a requirement. Don't need to participate in our own little Sturgis.
Sturgis is going to be a bunch of unvaccinated.

Fair should be quite a lot of vaccinated, like me. Even if I somehow get "infected" (for whatever that means, testing positive I guess), I won't be getting any severe symptoms.


I'm not going to let this bastard steal away all the fun out of life, for another fall. No F'ing way.


(of course, YMMV depending on your health conditions or your family's)
 

Blizzard

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I used to hate the fair. However, in the last five years or so I've flipped and gone all in. (My wife couldn't believe it.) I was ready to go this year until they announced that masks weren't a requirement. Don't need to participate in our own little Sturgis.

Wear your mask and go. You certainly won't be alone.
 

JimmyJamesMD

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The kiddos are excited.

My wife and I made it perfectly clear to them. If masks are a requirement, we are out. Then the good news came.
 

short ornery norwegian

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Heard an interview on the radio with the head of the State Fair Board. It was......interesting.

He said that he thinks attendance will be down because of covid concerns. Also said that some buildings may have limited or smaller displays than usual, or will not be staffed. Some of the Gov't agencies that typically have a presence at the Fair are not planning to participate.

But - he also said that having smaller crowds may turn out to be a positive, because a lot of the food vendors are having trouble getting help, so smaller crowds may lead to shorter lines and less crowding in the buildings.

Basically, he said that they would rather have a somewhat scaled-down fair as opposed to no fair at all.
 

Spaulding!No!

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Wcco radio not at the fair. I wonder what the year count was for them being at the fair….gotta be close to one hundred
 




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