Operators of the State Fair on Wednesday announced many changes for this summer's Great Minnesota Get-Together, with highlights including an extensive upgrade of the grounds' northern reaches.
The North End Event Center, covering 12,000 square feet once dominated by Machinery Hill, will host museum-quality exhibits that will change from year to year.
First out of the chute for the $16 million center is "Angry Birds Universe: The Exhibition," which is based on the popular video game and offers patrons an interactive experience with the feeling of being part of the animated action.
That area of the fairgrounds has long been underdeveloped and "was always a bit sleepier," said Danielle Dullinger, a fair spokeswoman. "Nothing is really getting pushed out" by that area's enhancements, Dullinger added.
Also new to that part of the fairgrounds is the Minnesota Corn Fairstalk, a 24-foot-tall art installation that celebrates the state's agricultural industry. The display features large screens that will inform visitors about farming, food and the fair.
New elsewhere on the fairgrounds will be the Indigenous Food Lab on Sept. 1 at Dan Patch Park. Throughout the day, indigenous chefs will discuss American Indian foods from North America and share their history, cultural significance, culinary and medicinal uses. Award-winning chef Sean Sherman will be among those appearing and offering his expertise about indigenous foods.
Also new at the fair are the admission prices, which are edging up $1 from 2018: ages 13-64, $15; children 5-12 and anyone 65 and older, $13. Children 4 and younger enter free.
A complete rundown of what's new at the fair this year can be found at mnstatefair.org.
The fair runs Aug. 22 to Labor Day, Sept. 2, and attracts more than 2 million visits annually. See mnstatefair.org for more information.