ST. PAUL (WCCO) — Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said he wants to make it clear: Smoking will still be allowed on the fairgrounds, but not nearly in as many areas.

Starting with this year’s fair, smoking will be limited to designated areas.

Hammer said they are responding to increasing complaints about smoking and a changing culture.

“When I started working long ago, you smoked everywhere, including in office buildings. That’s changed quite a bit,” Hamer said. “As time goes on, there are greater changes that people start to expect.”

NewsRadio 830 WCCO’s Adam Carter Reports

The changes are partly in response to an incident during last year’s fair in which a two-year old girl was accidentally poked in the eye by a burning cigarette. But Hammer says the changes would have been made even had that not happened.

Smoking is already banned inside fair buildings and in entertainment seating areas.

Hammer says such “smoking areas” are common at other large outdoor venues.

“Disney in particular,” Hammer said. “What they’ve done is created little park areas off to the side. Just little places out of the mainstream where they’ve done nice landscaping and created little parks (for smokers).”

Hammer said they haven’t determined yet how many designated smoking areas will be created, or where they will be on the fairgrounds.


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