The show returns a year after it was canceled in 2020 due to COVID-19 concerns.
Much to the delight of Minnesota residents across the state, the Great Minnesota Get-Together announced on June 11 that the fair will return this summer with only a few key differences from previous years.
The fair will run from August 26 to Labor Day, September 6, 2021, and will not have daily capacity limitations or mask requirements resulting from the lifting of the mask mandate across the United States. State. However, those who are not vaccinated are strongly encouraged to dress up, according to the show’s press release.
Nora and Tom Rush, owners of West End Creamery, an ice cream shop that has served fairground goers for more than 50 years, said they are not concerned about COVID-19 due to the high vaccination rates of the Minnesota and because their location is outdoors, which decreases the likelihood of contracting the virus.
The owners said they have been preparing for the fair since May, after taking a break last summer. In response to COVID-19, for the first time in its history, the dairy will accept credit card payments compared to its previous cash-only policy.
It was a lovely break, the owners said. It is a huge amount of work.
Now Nora and Tom are set to work at the fair again alongside their son and daughter Frank and Emmy in the West End Market stores.
Previously housed in Heritage Square on the Fairgrounds, the Creamery was the only business to be invited to reside in the New West End Market due to its loyal clientele and consistently delicious products, including old-fashioned ice cream. prepared by hand and over 40 different milkshakes. flavors with new flavors added to the menu each fair season.
The owners said they mostly employed high school and college students, many of whom were University of Minnesota students trying to make money before the fall semester.
With many college alumni in their families, Nora and Tom said the fair marks the end of summer for them and welcomes back to school for those still in school.
We put a lot of kids in college, said Nora Rush. They grew up in the booth.
Jerry Hammer, managing director of the state fair, said the fair employs around 70 full-time people, typically hiring an additional 350 to 400 people to set up the fairground.
Last year, the fair did not hire any seasonal workers to help with the setup due to the possibility of the fair being canceled. After its cancellation in May 2020, Hammer said he and the staff remained optimistic about the future where they could reopen to the public better and stronger.
It’s a lot more work not having a fair than having a fair, Hammer said.
Until the state lifts its COVID-19 state restrictions, Hammer said they didn’t know what the fair would look like, but now that the regulations have changed, the state of the fair is clearer. .
Spread over 322 acres, vendors and exhibits will be spaced out to reduce crowd congestion, and disinfection stations will be scattered throughout the exhibit grounds, according to the press release.
Notable events that the fair will miss due to limited planning time include the Giant Sing-Along and the Miracle of Birth, an event featuring the birth of cattle.
According to Hammer, the fairgrounds have been around since the 1800s, and they are steeped in memories of not just Minnesotans but people from across the country, hosting more than 2 million people at the most recent state fair in 2019.
It’s the place where we all truly come together and celebrate our humanity, Hammer said.
Over the next few weeks, the show plans to release its range of summer entertainment, including the range of grandstands and new foods.
Tickets purchased for the 2020 fair are valid for the 2021 fair, according to the fair website.
If you’re ready to come to the fair, are ready to welcome you, Hammer said.
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