Minnesota State Fair InFAIRmation
Issue: 47  
January 21, 2021
Purple ribbon winner in the Coliseum

Thanks to Matt Hilgers for this heartwarming photo. To share your best fair photos with us,
add them to the official MN State Fair Photo Community group on Flickr, and you may see them
in upcoming State Fair marketing publications.

Looking Forward to the 2021 Great Minnesota
"From the day we canceled the 2020 State Fair, our priority has been to ensure the future of the fair by holding our operation together," State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer reported at the 162nd Annual Meeting of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society, held virtually Jan. 11-14, 2021. Plans are proceeding with different scenarios for 2021, and we'll continue to keep you posted as more details become available. Read on for winter news!

From left to right: Mark Goodrich, Minnesota State Fair Hall of Fame inductee; D.J. Leary, Honorary Life Member, Minnesota State Agricultural Society; and Sara Donaldson, board vice president

Achievements and Longtime Contributions Honored at Annual Meeting

Mark Goodrich, the State Fair's long-time guru of agriculture, is the newest member of the Minnesota State Fair Hall of Fame. Mark joined the full-time staff in 1985, overseeing Coliseum events including year-round horse and livestock shows and the winter hockey operation. In 2009, he was promoted to deputy general manager in charge of livestock facilities and all competitive events. Mark retired from full-time employment in July 2020, but continues to serve the fair's livestock and agriculture operations. 
Through it all, Mark pioneered new ideas and ways of operating that have changed the face of not only the Minnesota State Fair, but fairs and livestock shows across North America. Under his guidance, the fair has incorporated technology into its livestock and equine shows, and reimagined the layout of facilities while always staying true to the fair's agricultural roots.  
Mark is highly regarded throughout the North American livestock industry, but his special expertise is beef cattle. In 1999, Mark created the Minnesota Beef Expo, held in October at the State Fairgrounds, which today is regarded as one of the premier beef industry events in the nation. He is perhaps most proud of the Beef Expo's Minnesota Youth Beef Experience Program, through which cattle producers introduce young people to the beef industry by donating heifers and serving as mentors. Since 2004, more than 130 young people have participated in the program. 
Honorary Life Membership in the Minnesota State Agricultural Society is awarded for long and faithful service to the State Fair. This year, we recognize retiring State Fair Board Vice President D.J. Leary of Minneapolis, who served brilliantly during his 20 years on the board, leaving a lasting legacy as one of the architects of the State Fair's bonding authority. The State Fair has used the authority to renovate historic facilities including the Grandstand and to build West End Market and the Transit Hub, North End Event Center and International Bazaar. D.J. is a former political and public affairs media consultant who is regarded by politicians, business leaders, trade organizations and journalists as one of Minnesota's sharpest public relations minds.
In other business conducted during the 162nd annual meeting of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society held last week, Ron Oleheiser of Grand Rapids was re-elected to a second one-year term as president of the Society.
Sara Donaldson of Minneapolis was elected to fill the remaining one year of D.J. Leary's two-year term as State Fair board vice president, representing the Society's fifth regional district. Joe Fox of Maplewood was re-elected to a two-year term as State Fair board vice president, representing the Society's fourth regional district. Wally Wichmann of Balaton and Dan Grunhovd of Gary were each re-elected to three-year terms representing the Society's seventh and ninth districts respectively. 
The State Agricultural Society is made up of delegates from each of the state's 87 county fairs, plus representatives of 43 statewide associations involved in agriculture, horticulture and education. The Society is charged exclusively with the production of the annual Minnesota State Fair and management of the historic 322-acre State Fairgrounds.

Swine Barn Ring Removal Upgraded Swine Show Rings Improve Guest and Exhibitor Experience

As part of ongoing efforts to improve the livestock area facilities, this fall the old concrete show rings in Christensen Pavilion were replaced, a project made possible by the generosity of Minnesota State Fair Foundation donors. The layout of the new show rings will provide improved viewing for spectators at State Fair exhibitions. During the non-fair time, the show ring layout can be changed to create a smaller or larger space to better accommodate a variety of livestock events, and they can be entirely removed to enable the building to be adapted for other uses such as horse stalling during larger horse shows and for commercial events or storage requiring open space.

Arts Afair

Foundation Support Is Vital as Plans for Future Fairs Proceed

With the cancellation of the 2020 State Fair and a year without nearly all of its operating revenue, the Great Minnesota Get-Together will rely on the support of the Minnesota State Fair Foundation more than ever. As plans take shape for the 2021 fair and beyond, the Foundation, through the generosity of its donors, will play a key role in preserving and improving the fairgrounds, buildings and educational programs that enrich the State Fair experience.

Consider one of these ways to give: Join a Foundation membership program; commemorate a special person or occasion with a brick, bench or table;
support a specific program area or project; or plan a gift for the future. To learn more, visit msffoundation.org.

State Fair merchandise at StateFairwear.com

Watch for Deals on State Fair Merchandise!
Deck yourself out in Minnesota State Fair swag year-round! StateFairWear.com has it all - face coverings, hats, T-shirts, sweatshirts and so much more. Stay tuned for exclusive upcoming deals! Be the first to get the news by signing up for the shop's email list. A portion of sales supports the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.

Caricatures by Cindy

Shop This Winter at the State Fair's Online Marketplace

For Valentine's Day, winter celebrations or just because it's cold and snowy, find unique gifts from the cozy comfort of your couch! This searchable hub of State Fair vendors features an eclectic mix of merchandise. Here are some highlights:
  • Caricatures by Cindy (shown above): Custom people and pet caricatures
  • The Fouta Spa: Towels, beach towels, robes and more
  • Gold Chains: 24K gold and rhodium overlaid chains by the inch, custom-fitted to any size for necklaces, bracelets, anklets. Enjoy a 50% discount with code "MNSFMKT."
  • The Inlay Artist: Opal jewelry
  • Lingonberry Ice Cream: Yes, ice cream shipped to your door!
  • Old Plantation Soup - All of Us: Gourmet soup, dip, muffin, cobbler and cheese ball mixes
  • Northland Woolens: Mittens and hats made of recycled wool sweaters; socks and hats made with rabbit, sheep or alpaca fibers
  • Yellowstone Redwood Signs: Custom, handmade redwood signs 
  • Avon: Skincare, makeup, fragrances, candles, fashion, jewelry, home, wellness and bath & body products
  • Jen's Friends: Quality soft-sculpture toys, dolls and games that uniquely represent Minnesota culture and folklore
  • Scrubbie Sponges: Dish sponges that prevent bacteria build-up
  • Create Laser Arts: Laser-engraved reclaimed wood handcrafted into Minnesota ornaments, magnets, colorful earrings, keepsake boxes, bowls and more
The State Fair Online Marketplace is available through March 31, 2021. Thank you for supporting our vendors!

Tuesday Trivia on Instagram Top Off Your Tuesdays With Trivia!

Every week on our Instagram story, we post intriguing, interesting questions about the State Fair and the fairgrounds. You'll get lots of did-you-know tidbits to amaze your family, friends and co-workers during your next Zoom get-together. Follow the State Fair on Instagram @mnstatefair

Applications Now Being Accepted for Program Honoring Multi-Generation Family Farms

Century Farms, a partnership between the Minnesota State Fair and the Minnesota Farm Bureau, recognizes Minnesota farms that have been in continuous family ownership for at least 100 years, are 50 acres or more, and are currently involved in agricultural production. More than 10,500 Century Farms have been honored since the program began in 1976.
Applications for recognition in 2021 as a Century Farm are due March 1, 2021.

2020 Efforts Win Industry Awards

In a year with no State Fair, our competition department developed a variety of new opportunities for fair fans and exhibitors to engage in fair-flavored activities. These new programs placed first, second or third in several categories of competition hosted by the International Association of Fairs & Exhibitions:

Alphabet Forest

Winter Is Perfect for At-Home Fair Fun

As the winter months drag on and you're looking for at-home activities, check out our At-Home Fair Fun website page. We've compiled crafts, trivia, videos and more to highlight some of the best "edutainment" you'll find at the fair:
  • Read books from the Alphabet Forest's Blue Ribbon Homegrown Author Showcase reading list.
  • Create your own word banner with Alphabet Forest letters.
  • Show what you know about horses in an online EquiMania!TM quiz.
  • Try your hand at answering Kemps Little Farm Hands Ag-Vestigator trivia.
  • Watch a video showing the high-tech process of milking cows at the Moo Booth.
  • Play the Math-On-A-Stick Numbers Game at home.
  • Learn a bushelful of facts about animals you can see at the CHS Miracle of
    Birth Center.
  • Do fun activities in the Urban Ag Day Activity Book.
  • Get insightful cooking techniques from local chefs and farmers in the
    Farm & Food series of videos.
Fine arts mixed media
"She Wore Green Velvet: Portrait of the Mississippi Watershed," created with quilted plastic waste by Erik Jon Olson of Plymouth, won top honors in the textiles/fibers division of the Fine Arts Exhibition of Minnesota. This piece also received the Textile Center Award for Excellence and Innovation.

Brighten Your Winter With Fine Art

Meander through a display of the amazing work of 346 talented Minnesotans - on your screen! The full Fine Arts Exhibition of Minnesota, which was held Aug. 27-Sept. 7, 2020, in the Fine Arts Center at the State Fairgrounds, is available for viewing in a unique virtual tour (you'll feel like you're actually at the exhibition!) and in an online catalog showcasing mixed media, sculpture, ceramics, photography, textiles, drawings, watercolors and more.

Virtual tour tip: Click a spot on the building floor where you'd like to "walk" to, then use your mouse or track pad for a 360-degree view from that location.

Commemorative bench for Daniel

"Though His Time on Earth Was Short, His Love for the State Fair Was Large."

In the four years since young Daniel Peso Jr.'s passing, his family has found bittersweet joy in visiting his commemorative bench, usually placed in the vicinity of Kemps Little Farm Hands during the State Fair. "To be honest, I never really noticed the benches. And all of a sudden, we came across one and then another. I saw there was a placard and there was a story behind every bench. And it seemed very fitting that we should be a part of this," his father said.
Watch this video to learn about Daniel's love of the fair and the unique "find Daniel's bench" tradition his family and friends now look forward to at fair time. Commemorative benches are available through the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. To have a bench in place for the 2021 State Fair, donations must be received by June 1, 2021.

Employment at the Minnesota State Fair

Get the Latest News on Applying for State Fair Jobs

We're looking for great team members to help present the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together! If you're interested in working this summer or during the 12 days of the State Fair, sign up to receive employment email updates. When details are available, we'll send you information on available opportunities and how and when to apply. 

Winter Carnival Ice Sculpture Snow and Ice Come to the Fairgrounds

The iconic Saint Paul Winter Carnival will combine two of its signature events - the Ice Carving Competition and the Snow Sculpture Contest - at the State Fairgrounds Jan. 28-Feb. 7. Featuring dozens of amazing winter creations, the Drive-Thru Ice & Snow Sculpture Park experience also includes goodie bags, in-car games, sculpture voting and entertainment along the way. Vehicle tickets are being sold for timed entry slots and are limited for each date and time.

Flips Fill the Coliseum

Gymnastics competitions will move into the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum in the coming weeks. We look forward to welcoming these hard-working, talented athletes. (Please note that with attendance limitations in place, these events are not open to the public.)
  • Jan. 21-24: Razzle Dazzle hosted by Legacy Gymnastics
  • Jan. 28-31: Legacy Luau Invitational hosted by Legacy Gymnastics
  • Feb. 5-7: Gopher Invite hosted by North Shore Gymnastics
  • Feb. 12-14: Gina Morri Memorial Invitational hosted by Midwest Gymnastics
Our fairgrounds calendar will be updated as more events are confirmed.

North End Event Center

Host Your Special Event Up North

The striking and spacious North End Event Center, built in 2019, is the centerpiece of the Minnesota State Fairgrounds' newest reimagined neighborhood. A welcoming outdoor plaza leads into an exceptional entrance gallery framed by floor-to-ceiling natural light and exquisite wood beams overhead. The expansive exhibit hall is the perfect blank palette for your event - sophisticated, contemporary, classic, timeless - with a moveable wall divider, high-tech built-ins and other features to transform this versatile space into the ideal venue to host your guests.

For rental information, contact events@mnstatefair.org or 651-288-4400.

2021 Grandstand Concert Series

Tickets Available for Grandstand Concerts

Miranda Lambert: Aug. 26, 2021
The Doobie Brothers - 50th Anniversary Tour featuring Tom Johnston, Michael McDonald, Pat Simmons, John McFee with special guest Dirty Dozen Brass Band: 
Aug. 31, 2021
Tim McGraw with special guest Midland: Sept. 1, 2021
NF - The Search Tour: Sept. 2, 2021
Darci Lynne & Friends: Fresh Out of the Box Tour with special guest Okee Dokee Brothers: Sept. 6, 2021