MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — For the wayward fairgoer, the information booths are a first stop to find direction. This year, the crowd is taking more than just free maps; they’re also helping themselves to free sunscreen.

“We knew there would be a demand for this,” Brienna Schuette, with the Minnesota State Fair, said.

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“Through the clouds you can get sunburnt,” Patti Pederson, of Florida, said.

The push for sunburn prevention came from Dr. Megan Wood.

“As it stands right now, one in 50 people are going to get melanoma, the most deadly form of skin cancer, in their lifetime,” Wood said.

For her, the cause is personal. Three years ago she lost her dad, John, to melanoma.

“He spent a lot of time in the sun, obviously focused on cardiovascular health, but with little regard for skin health,” Wood said.

(credit: Dr. Megan Wood)

(credit: Dr. Megan Wood)

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Knowing fairgoers aren’t always thinking of the impact of hours outdoors, Wood wanted to help them block the sun’s rays.

“I applied for a grant to provide free sunscreen to fairgoers in readily available pump dispensers all over the fair,” Wood said.

“When Dr. Megan Wood brought this to us last fall, it seemed like a no-brainer,” Schuette said.

Industrial bottles of hypoallergenic SPF 30 sunscreen can be found all over the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

“I love sunscreen. My dad was actually diagnosed with melanoma,” Elizabeth Anderson, of Minneapolis, said.

Most don’t know the story behind the new fair freebie, but Wood hopes this gets fairgoers thinking about a new outdoor habit.

“We’ve got to start thinking more about skin cancer,” Wood said.

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Wood needed 100 gallons of sunscreen to make it through the 12 days of the fair. A grant covered $13,000 of the cost. Vanicreme, a company based out of Rochester, donated the majority of the sunblock.