By Kate Raddatz

ST. PAUL, Minn. (WCCO) — This Top 10 weather day certainly is drawing big crowds at the Minnesota State Fair.

The fairgrounds have been packed since the gates opened at 6 a.m. Thursday. WCCO’s Kate Raddatz got to see and taste the excitement.

Ginger Johnson from Apple Valley camped outside the state Fair gates to make sure she would be first inside.

“Some people call me crazy but this is my vacation I can do whatever I want,” said Johnson.

Being first in line isn’t a competition to these two friends, it’s a tradition.

“It’s great people-watching and a great atmosphere.”

Al and Doug have been first in line at Leinie Lodge for the first pour when the beer booth opens for the State Fair every year for over two decades.

“We worked at the Wayzata Country Club with a bunch of guys, that was in high school, and ever since then we’ve been doing it ever since.”

Two decades has nothing on this couple, celebrating their 50th year going to the fair together.

“We got an engaged about a week or so after the state fair so it’s been our thing to come every year,” explained Nora Shaffer.

For the kids, it’s all about the rides. But for most of us, we wait all year to get a taste of our favorite foods.

“We have to mentally and physically prepare ourselves for this, like I dieted and I had my coffee this morning, no breakfast. I was all ready to go,” Marykate Tawron said.

Whether you like the classic foods or the new ones, visiting the historic buildings or the new attractions, you’ve got 12 days to take it all in.

Last year, the Minnesota State Fair had record-breaking overall attendance. More than 2 million people came out to the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Kate Raddatz