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New construction on the State Fairgrounds, adding new attractions and keeping the classics

New construction on the State Fairgrounds, adding new attractions and keeping the classics

The Hangar

The Hangar will be a new food destination at the Minnesota State Fair. The Pet Center building is being repurposed into an aircraft themed restaurant and bar as a tribute to the building’s original purpose, house the State Fair’s air show. A new Pet Pavilion is being added to the grounds to replace the Pet Center. Photo courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair.

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. – Take a trip through the Minnesota State Fairgrounds, and it will be apparent that changes are being made and construction projects are underway. While all the traditional stops and attractions are staying, a few new ones are being added and others being updated.

“We have a ton new at the fair this year, obviously we are always going to have our classics and our traditions, not getting rid of them, but we are adding a lot more new this year,” said Danielle Dullinger, spokesperson for the Minnesota State Fair. “Hopefully people, if they have not come in a couple of years, can come check it out.”

The construction starts at the north end of the grounds – that’s an area of the fair that in the past has not always drawn the crowd.

“What we are doing is trying to maybe thin out those crowds in the heart of the fair and move some of them up to the north, because we have a lot going on up there, and we are just trying to do a little bit more to entice people up there,” said Dullinger.

The Pet Center on the north end has always drawn people looking to meet the different breeds, purchase pet supplies or watch the demonstrations. In fact, sometimes the crowd inside the pet center has been a little overwhelming.

This year, the pets are being moved out of the building and going to an open-air pavilion just to the west.

“We have been looking for a new way to house those pets for quite some time,” she said. “This was really our chance to move them out, have a little more breathing room, more area for people to come meet the breeds, see those outdoor demonstrations and buy pet supplies.”

What was the Pet Center will now be repurposed into a new food destination called The Hanger, a tribute to the original purpose of the building.

In the early 1900s, the building that became the Pet Center first housed the State Fair’s air show.

“That is why it's called The Hangar, it is going to have kind of an airplane theme,” she said.

The Hangar will feature a new food to the fair, Slider Flights. A flight of three sliders with either brisket, burger or pulled pork.

The Minnesota Craft Brewers Guild will also have a presence in the Hanger offering beer flights of some of Minnesota’s best beers.

One the opposite end of the grounds, construction continues for the livestock buildings and the swine barn particularly is continuing its transformation.

“Last year, the west end of the barn was all upgraded with wash racks and ventilation,” she said. “This year, on the east side, more for the fair guests, they are going to see an updated entrance, a much bigger entrance and improved windows which will improve ultimately ventilation.”

They have also added large fans to the building to improve the air flow making the barn more comfortable for the animals, exhibitors and the guest.

The old pens on the north side of the swine barn have all been replaced with new pens, similar to the pens that were added to the outer wall of the barn last year. These new pens are more open, allow better air flow and are moveable, giving the barn more flexibility and purpose.

Some of the other livestock buildings are also getting new fans as well.

“The fair guests won't necessarily notice it as much, but I think our exhibitors are really going to be impressed,” she said.

Also receiving an upgrade this year is the Creative Activities Demonstration Kitchen, now renamed the Cambria Kitchen.

“We partnered with Cambria and it's beautiful, it is huge,” she said. “We are going to feature some really exciting presentations, demonstrations and even invited some celebrities.”

Andrew Zimmern and Scott McGillivray on August 24, Sean Sherman and The Sioux Chef’s Indigenous Food Lab on August 31 are just a few of the exciting presenters that will appear in the new Kitchen.

“Awesome ways to really learn about cooking and baking in this demonstration kitchen, kind of like a reality cooking show come to life,” said Dullinger.

For a complete listing of new attractions and a schedule of events go to the State Fair Website at mnstatefair.org.

Minnesota Farm Guide Weekly Update

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