Reporting Rachel Slavik
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — The state shutdown could affect certain aspects of the Minnesota State Fair. The Great Minnesota Get-Together will run from Aug. 25 until Sept. 5, but if state workers are still off the job, some popular attractions may have to stay closed.
There are certain expectations that go along with the Minnesota State Fair — food and fun among the top two. The state shutdown shouldn’t keep fairgoers from the deep fried treats. Food inspection, even with a limited staff, falls under critical services.
“We decided they should really prioritize their work and focus on events where more than 10,000 people usually attend. And that, of course, includes the State Fair,” said John Stieger of the Minnesota Department of Health.
Fairgoers may see fewer food options. More than 75 of the 300 food vendors did not get license approval before July 1.
“So, they may be out of luck unless the shutdown ends soon and we can take care of that backlog of applicants,” said Stieger.
“Fact of the matter is, if they don’t have a license, they don’t operate,” said Jim Sinclair, the deputy general manager for the Minnesota State Fair.
The Midway will stay up and running. The shutdown doesn’t touch rides or games.
“There is no actual staff from the state of Minnesota that does carnival rides inspections. It’s done by contractors,” Sinclair said.
However, state-run attractions may fall victim to the shutdown. It could be a quiet year at the Department of Natural Resources Park and the Eco-Experience, which is run by Minnesota Pollution Control.
“They’re popular, there’s no question about that,” said Sinclair.
Despite the potential limitations, preparation on the fairgrounds continues.
“The show goes on,” said Sinclair. “We’re all hopeful that everything will be up and running.”
The Department of Health would not release the list of more than 75 vendors that are at risk of not having their license approved by Aug. 25, citing data practice laws.