Grant Bradley waited for his turn in the huddle of green fold-up chairs, a little nervous for his number to be called. The 16-year-old was applying for his first job, hoping to snag a spot working at this year's Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Hundreds turned out to the fairgrounds Tuesday evening for the State Fair's third-annual job fair, a streamlined application process for those seeking a 12-day gig at the end-of-the-summer festivities.
Up to 900 positions were available at the job fair, said Danielle Dullinger, the fair's marketing supervisor. The fair and its vendors hoped to fill at least 500 of those spots Tuesday, seeking a group of employees with varied skill sets — workers ready to fry food-on-a-stick, care for the cows in the barn and everything in between.
People sign up to work the fair for a number of reasons. Some enjoy the camaraderie, Dullinger said, while others just want to make extra cash.
"To say you were a part of welcoming 2 million people to the fair each year, that's a pretty big deal," she said.
Job-seekers began lining up at the Progress Center an hour before the 4 p.m. start. After filling out a registration form, they grabbed a number slip and waited for an initial interview. State Fair employees then gauged what type of work an individual was best suited for, sending them to specific vendors for second-round screenings.
Applicants had to be at least age 16 and available to work six- to 12-hour shifts for the fair's entire run. Pay at the fair usually ranges from $9.65 to $11 per hour.
Those who missed the job fair can still apply for positions online, Dullinger said.
Adrianna Tarver, 18, said she hopes to earn some money before starting college at St. Catherine University in the fall. This was her first time applying to work the fair, but she's been attending for years.
"I went like five times last year," she said. "I just hope it's not too hot if I'm working. "
Mary Cunningham and her granddaughter, Freya Finkle, 19, were both seeking jobs. Finkle is visiting for the summer, and Cunningham thought it could be a fun new way for them both to enjoy the event. "I'm excited for all the people-watching," Finkle said.
Bradley left the fairgrounds with a smile on his face. Though it wasn't official, he had been told he as good as had a job working with rides.
"The State Fair's always so cheerful and exciting," he said. "I'm excited for it to start."