By Al Schoch

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — The Minnesota State Fair begins a week from Thursday, but there is already plenty of activity at the historic fairgrounds.

Dozens of carpenters, landscapers, traveling ride operators and maintenance crew are all pushing deadlines to have things ready to go in seven days.  Richard Tinsley brought in a portable carousel all the way from Missouri, anchoring it at Carousel Park, right in front of the grandstand

“It’s a good machine, give us a lot of good service,” he said. “It’s well-maintained, hopefully, but we leave here tomorrow, it’ll be fit and ready for the duration of the fair.”

Tinsley’s carousel is not far from where the historic carousel spun for 75 years.  It’s been gone nearly 30 years, and Tinsley said his machine is a pale comparison.

“It really needs a more elite machine,” he said of Carousel Park.

Workers are just about finished making upgrades to the popular Corn Roast Booth. Now in its 30th year, the aging roaster is now equipped with new pipes, valves and burner tubes, to go along with many of the original parts.

“We’ll try to make it last another 30 years,” said Nate Kulenkamp, who’s been working on the stand since June.

“We’re excited, but we’re tired,” he said. “We’re trying to get caught up on sleep.”

One carpenter said he’s put in five 12-hour days this week working on buildings in the new West End Market.  He said he’ll probably put in at least one more long day before his work at the fairgrounds is complete.


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