Reporting Susie Jones
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO/AP) – Getting to the Great Minnesota Get-Together could be tough with all the road construction underway.
One particularly difficult spot is Snelling Avenue in St. Paul at the intersection of University Avenue.
The Central Corridor Light Rail line is under construction and causing major traffic backups on a good day.
NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Susie Jones Reports
Now add the fair traffic on Snelling Avenue, which is a main artery off I-94 to the fairgrounds, and it could be a nightmare.
“Very slow. It’s a struggle,” said one motorist stuck in a long line of cars.
Central corridor project managers say they have opened up an extra lane of traffic on Snelling Avenue to help move fair traffic along.
“Find alternate routes, if you can,” said one worker.
Fairgoers will also have to be mindful of traffic on I-94, which is under construction as well. But the good news is that they have opened the Highway 280 ramp, which should help.
You can also consider taking a Metro Transit bus. There are 17 park and ride locations in the Twin Cities.
“The road construction is all the more reason to make bus riding part of the fun experience getting to and from the fair,” said Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb.
Metro Transit General Manager Brian Lamb On Taking Bus To The Fair
Bus fare to the fairgrounds is $5.00. For more information, click here to visit the Metro Transit website.
Several park-and-ride lots will be open in St. Paul, Minneapolis and the suburbs. A full list and map are available on the fair’s website, http://www.mnstatefair.org.
Traffic headaches are why frequent fairgoer Dan Cramer, who lives in St. Paul, has long been sold on park-and-ride lots. Cramer uses a park-and-ride lot at the University of Minnesota and hops on a bus that uses lanes off-limits to regular vehicles.
“You get there really fast,” Cramer said. “The benefit is twofold: You don’t have to deal with traffic and you get a little exercise walking to the park-and-ride so you can eat more.”
Once there, fairgoers will find that admission prices are higher to cover building improvements and maintenance. An adult ticket at the gate rose by to $12, while children’s ticket prices jumped from $8 to $10. The cost of parking in a fairgrounds lot is also up by $1 to $12. Advance tickets remained the same as last year at $9, but they were available only through Wednesday night.
Inside the fair, visitors will find the usual mix of old traditions and new attractions. Navigating the fairgrounds will be easier for smartphone users thanks to new state fair app, available for Apple and Android, designed to help fairgoers find attractions, events and their favorite food stands.
Just a few of the new foods will include the Breakfast Lollipop, a sausage patty dipped in corn muffin batter, deep fried and served on a stick with a side of maple syrup, and chocolate-covered jalapeno peppers on a stick.
Also available: the Dirt Dessert, made of Oreo cookies, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, cream cheese and gummy worms; the Grilled Yankee Apple Pie and Chocolate Sandwich, made of Minnesota-grown apples sautDeed with spices and topped with chocolate, grilled in brioche bread; sweet corn ice cream served in a waffle cone with a choice of wild blueberry or caramel bacon topping.
Food inspectors are already on duty at the fairgrounds. The Minnesota Department of Health sends out 12 inspectors during the first two days of the fair and continues to inspect vendors throughout the 12-day run. While they’re not there to stop anyone from selling or consuming the artery-clogging and waistline-expanding foods that are some of the fair’s top attractions, they’ll seek to ensure that those foods are prepared under sanitary conditions.
“We look for good hand washing, we look for how people are handling food,” food inspector Peggy Spadafore said. “We want the cold food kept cold and the hot food kept hot.”
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