By Jeff Wagner

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — It’s the calm before the friendly storm of people packing every inch of space at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds.

And as we saw in 2018, the excitement of getting there on the first day can lead to nightmare amounts of traffic and free shuttle lots filling up well before the lunch hour, with no shuttle bus in sight.

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Some people reported waiting up to two hours in line at the shuttle locations. The message this year is be prepared.

“We just ask for your patience. We’re still going to work out some kinks that first day, too,” said spokesperson Danielle Dullinger.

For those hoping to shuttle, three new locations were added, including Allianz Field and Grace Lutheran Church in St. Paul, and 2955 Centre Pointe Drive in Roseville. But a few were also removed, such as Roseville High School. Metro Transit runs express shuttles for a $6 fee, but it also dropped a couple locations.

“Usually if a lot isn’t available, it’s because like there’s a property management change, or there’s construction,” said Dullinger.

That’s why shuttle riders are asked to come up with a plan B, or even a plan C, in case your first shuttle location is full or no longer there.

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“We have as many buses as we possibly can running as fast as they can, you know, within speed limits, to get here to the fairgrounds knowing that there’s also people trying to park on the fairgrounds. So sometimes those buses get stuck in traffic, too,” she said.

Minnesota Valley Transit Authority runs shuttles to Burnsville and Eagan and will be adding more buses during peak hours to handle the state fair crowds.

To learn where you can find a free shuttle location, click here.

To learn where you can find a Metro Transit Express Service shuttle, Minnesota Valley Transit shuttle, and SouthWest Transit shuttle, click here.

Also, if you’re on Twitter, give the Minnesota State Fair a follow at @mnstatefair. There, you will see constant updates on which shuttle lots have open parking spaces.

Jeff Wagner