Updated: 08/24/2013 6:02 PM KSTP.com By: Cassie Hart
Thousands of people are headed to the Great Minnesota Get-Together, and the number of fairgoers is only expected to increase throughout the weekend.
The Minnesota State Fair kicked off Thursday with plenty of food, animals and exhibits. Thursday's attendance was 106,852 visitors - that's 3,100 more than opening day last year.
On Friday 121,941 people attended the fair - up from 117,404 in 2012.
4-H Purple Ribbon Auction
On Saturday only, the 4-H Purple Ribbon Auction took place at AgStar Arena on Judson Ave. Youth participants proudly showcased their award-winning animals. They have progressed to the Minnesota State Fair from county fairs around the state, where they placed among the top entrants. The owners receive proceeds from the sale of their animals at the auction. Click here for more information.
Prep 45 Day
Fairgoers tested their skills in hockey, basketball, football and baseball during “PREP 45 Day,” presented by KSTC-TV, Channel 45 to celebrate high school sports in Minnesota. Activities ran from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. on West Dan Patch Avenue.
FAIR-Well to Summer Dance Party
In Carousel Park from 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 24, GenerationNOW Entertainment will present the "FAIR-Well to Summer Dance Party," offering teens and young adults a place to show off their dance moves at the fair. There will be live DJs spinning tunes.
The 2013 Grand Stand Concert Series is another big draw for fairgoers. Friday night's show Under the Sun: featuring Smashmouth, Sugar Ray and Gin Blossoms had a sell out crowd.
On Saturday night, Aug. 24, Sammy Hagar's Four Decades of Rock with special guest Buckcherry and Rival Sons will take the stage at 7:30 p.m. in the Grandstand. Other acts throughout the concert series include Sheryl Crow, Train and Tim McGraw. Click here for a full schedule.
Blue Oyster Cult hits the stage of the Leinie Lodge Band Shell at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
On the International Bazaar Stage is the Tropical Zone Orchestra at 7:30 p.m and 8:45 p.m.
Click here for more live events for Saturday, Aug. 24.
2013 Competition Results
There are a number of competitions at the state fair where judges will look for the best livestock, plants, exhibits and foods. Click here for real-time results.
Much is the same at the fair from years past, but there are a few new attractions and new foods for you to check out this time around. The Minnesota State Fair announced the addition of more than 40 new foods to the line-up, bringing the total to more than 450 foods from 300 concessions.
This past Tuesday, fair rides started being assembled. Every ride is inspected once it enters the fairgrounds, and it's a long process that is done in phases.
"We look at them while they are in racks on the trucks, as they take them apart and put down the foundations and as they are working their way up,” says Joe Bixler, who manages ride safety at the fair. “We inspect the whole process until they are completely assembled.”
People who work on the rides generally work in shifts of 30 minutes to avoid fatigue. Also, music is monitored because if the music is too loud, workers can't hear if there are problems with the ride or riders.
The Minnesota State Fair and its vendors are hoping to cash in big over the next two weeks. According to the Wall Street Journal, gross sales last year reached as high as $1.5 million for some vendors. In total throughout the fair, gross food and beverage sales jumped to nearly $35 million last year, up from $25 million in 2007.
Virtual Fair Tour
History meets high-tech in a new smartphone version of the Minnesota State Fair History Walking and Cell Phone Tour. In the tour, old photos, maps and text combine with audio of personal memories and narrated history. Access the new mobile website here.
You can take the free self-guided tour while walking around the fairgrounds, on your phone or on your computer. This year, two new tour stops were added about food at the fair and the history of the Department of Natural Resources Building and exhibits.
For a list of discount days, visit our Links page.
Find Us at the Fair
You can find 5 Eyewitness News at the fair. We’re in the building at the corner of Carnes Avenue and Chambers Street, which is our usual location. You can catch a front-row seat to our newscasts starting with our midday newscast.
The 2013 Minnesota State Fair runs through Labor Day, Sept. 2. For complete information, click here.