Article by Zac Farber
Nearly two million people are expected to descend on the Minnesota State Fair’s 320-acre grounds starting Thursday, Aug. 22 and the following 11 days for concerts, contests, cows and corn dogs.
Here is Richfield Patch’s rundown on what you need to know to get to the fair and find your way around:
Admission gates open daily at 6 a.m. Ticket sales end at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. on Labor Day). Grounds close at midnight (10 p.m. on Labor Day). Most buildings are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Adults (13-64) pay $12, seniors and children 5 and older pay $10, and children younger than 5 are admitted for free. Promotional days are offered throughout the fair. Pre-fair discount admission is available for purchase through Aug. 22 at locations throughout the metro, including nearby Cub Foods locations.
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds are located at 1265 North Snelling Ave. N. in St. Paul. Maps and directions are available on the fair’s website. No major road construction projects are expected to disrupt traffic, but the fair will post updates on its website.
State fair parking lots cost $12 and can be accessed off Larpenteur, Snelling, or Cleveland avenues. Discount tickets can be purchased in advance through Aug. 22 at Cub Foods or the State Fair Box Office. (Motorcycle parking is offered for $6 on Como Avenue.)
Free parking is available at 34 locations around the fairgrounds. Complimentary buses leave every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight to pick up fair-goers. In 2011, the park and ride program gave more than 900,000 rides.
Free bike racks are offered at the Como-Snelling and Hoyt-Snelling gates and at Commonwealth-West Dan Patch from 6 a.m. to midnight daily.
Four buses service the fair and accept cash or transit passes. Route 960 goes from Hennepin Avenue in downtown Minneapolis to the fairgrounds in about 15 minutes. Route 84 travels along Snelling Avenue. Route 3 connects downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul along Como Avenue. Route 61 connects from both cities' downtowns to Larpenteur Avenue, just north of the fairgrounds.
State Fair Express buses operate from 19 Twin Cities locations on 15- and 30-minute loops. Check the fair’s express bus website for more information.
Navigating the fair
The state fair’s website has downloadable maps of the grounds and daily activity schedules.
The state fair is also smart phone accessible, with a mobile website and stand-alone apps for iPhones and Android phones that include a manipulable map and the ability to search listings of events, merchandise and food.