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The Minnesota State Fair’s Mighty Midway and Kidway will feature eight new rides this year. The fair runs Aug. 21 to Sept. 1. (Photo courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair)

Time to Get Together

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Life Red Wing,Minnesota 55066 http://www.republican-eagle.com/sites/default/files/styles/square_300/public/field/image/082014.F.RE_.StateFair_Midway.jpg?itok=6xd4nRX2
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Time to Get Together
Red Wing Minnesota 2760 North Service Drive / P.O. Box 15 55066

Animals. Rides. Music. Food on a stick.

It’s time again for the Minnesota State Fair. The Great Minnesota Get-Together kicks off Thursday and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 1.

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There is plenty to see and do, from sampling new foods and seeing new attractions to revisiting traditional fare and sites.

Here is some information to help visitors make the most of the Minnesota State Fair.

Transportation

To the fair

Parking is available at the fair for $13. But if you want to avoid traffic jams or crowded lots, there are options to driving your vehicle.

From Red Wing, the closest express bus is available at the Cottage Grove Park and Ride along Highway 61 between West Point Douglas Road and 80th Street and Jamaica Avenue.

Express buses cost $5 round-trip and drivers will take cash — exact change — or bus bargain tickets. The Cottage Grove bus runs about every half hour. Children age 4 or younger ride free.

Or, drive closer to the action and take a free shuttle to the fairgrounds from a number of locations. Free parking and shuttles are available at 20 sites throughout the Twin Cities area.

Some Metro Transit bus routes also service the fairgrounds.

For a map of express bus and park and ride locations, visit www.mnstatefair.org, click “general information” then “get to the fair.”

There are also three free bicycle racks just outside the fairgrounds.

At the fair

Free trolleys run throughout the fairgrounds from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, except during the parade from 2 to 3 p.m. Trolley stop signs are located around the fair and the route is marked on the map.

Trips on the Sky Glider and Sky Ride can take you across the grounds while also offering a great view.

Wheelchairs, electric scooters, wagons and strollers are available to rent.

Tickets and discounts

Today is the last chance to buy discounted tickets ahead of the fair. Discounted admission, parking, ride and game tickets and Blue Ribbon Bargain Books are available at the State Fair box office and Cub stores while supplies last through Aug. 20.

For future years, keep in mind that the State Fair offers tickets at the lower price online through mid-August.

Advance ticket sales at the discounted prices typically start in early July at locations throughout Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

Discount days

At the gate, tickets for adults ages 13-64 will be $13, seniors 65 and older $11, kids ages 5-12 are $11 and children under age 5 get in free. But there are a number of discount and promotional days that mean lower prices.

•Thrifty Thursday, Thursday Aug. 21: Adults $11, seniors $11, kids $8

•Seniors and Kids Day, Monday Aug. 25: Adults $13, seniors $8, kids $8

•Military Appreciation Day, Tuesday Aug. 26: Active military, spouses and kids, retired military and spouses and military veterans and spouses: $8 (with valid documentation of military service)

•Read and Ride Day, Wednesday Aug. 27: Public library card holders get one discount per card. Adults; $11, seniors $8, kids $8

•Seniors Day, Thursday Aug. 28: Adults $13, seniors $8, kids $11

•Kids Day, Monday Sept. 1: Adults $13, seniors $11, kids $8

New in 2014

While the State Fair offers many traditions year after year, there are always plenty of new sights and tastes. Some include:

Food

There are 28 new foods at the Minnesota State Fair this year. Options range from sweet, such as beer gelato, chocolate dessert salami or Jell-O salad ice cream, to savory, like prime rib tacos or blue cheese and corn fritz, to on-a-stick selections, like deep-fried lobster.

West End Market

The west end of the fairgrounds, formerly Heritage Square, has been re-made into the West End Market with new sites including the Minnesota State Fair History and Heritage Center, new food and beverage options, crafts and specialty merchants and entertainment sites.

Other

Many fair visitors will see the new Transit Hub on the west end of the fairgrounds this year. The hub will provide access to express and park and ride buses and includes a restored 1930s-era streetcar arch.

There are new entertainment options, animal shows and exhibits, and the Mighty Midway and Kidway have added eight new rides this year.

Local ties

The state fair draws volunteers, vendors, exhibitors, employees and more from throughout the state and region, including locals. Some spots to see the area represented at the get-together include:

•Minnesota Wine County, 1271 Underwood St. Sample and learn about local wine. Falconer Vineyards will offer wine, and owner John Falconer will present “Behind the Vines: A Day in the Life of a Minnesota Winemaker” at 3:30 p.m. Wednesday Aug. 27.

•Check for local entries in contests from livestock to baking and more. Goodhue County 4-H will be at the State Fair as well.

•Ellsworth Cooperative Creamery may be located in Wisconsin, but it is the exclusive cheese curd supplier of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. Sample deep-fried selections throughout the fair.

Stay informed

Find information on food, music schedules, maps and more in the palm of your hand with the Minnesota State Fair App. It’s available for iPhone and Android and is free to download.

The fair also offers a mobile site at m.mnstatefair.org.

There will be information booths scattered throughout the fairgrounds, open at least from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. each day.

Visit www.mnstatefair.org for more information on the fair.

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Danielle Killey
Danielle Killey is the city reporter for the Republican Eagle, where she has worked since 2011. She graduated from the University of Minnesota-Twin Cities with a journalism degree.
(651) 301-7877
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