12,000 sq. ft, $16 million North End Event Center new to State Fair

Growing attendance means expanding use of land at fairgrounds

Sloane Martin
July 17, 2019 - 2:23 pm

State Fair officials announce new attractions for the 2019 Great Minnesota Get Together.

Officials hope a new 12,000 sq. ft., $16 million event center will help attract visitors to what's called the North End neighborhood on the fairgrounds.

After a record 12-day attendance of more than 2 million visitors, CEO Jerry Hammer says utilizing extra land to spread out the festivities will make it more enjoyable all around.

"When I started at the fair long ago, the southern end of the grounds was very crowded and the Machinery Hill section not so much," he said. "In fact, most days, by 5 p.m.there was really nothing going on up here. There weren't many people around and the fair felt more crowded on the southern end than it does today, despite having more people. This is just taking advantage of all the space we have to give everyone the best experience we possibly can."

Hammer says talk of expanding has been in the works for the better part of a decade, but it took time to extend the infrastructure.

The exhibit hall will display a new exhibit each year starting with Angry Birds Universe, based on the game.

The North End neighborhood will have art displays, Minnesota-based food and other exhibits that showcase the state's agrarian roots.

Other new attractions for the 2019 Minnesota State Fair are the Goat Booth, three new rides, and an eco-experience.

Officials also report the 100-year-old cattle barn is expected to be ready by the time the state fair starts. On March 12, a corner of the roof collapsed due to a heavy load of sliding snow. Crews reconstructed the brick work repair the damages.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together starts Aug. 22 — 35 days away.


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