MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) – Just hours before the opening of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, vendors were preparing for the crowds.

“I’ve ordered 100% of what I did in 2019, hoping for the best,” said Joe Cranston, owner of Scotch Eggs.

At The Peg, which is always open during the pre-fair days, they aren’t worried about the COVID-19 impact on crowds.

“2.2 million people was the record in 2019. So we do 1.9, really that’s still a lot of people,” said Tim Carlson, The Peg.

The Pretzel Dog booth has been making the State Fair rounds all summer.

“Some of the fairs have been up slightly in attendance, some have been down slightly in attendance,” said Owner Samantha Fairle. “But overall, the customer spending has been up, because they’re appreciative that the fairs are back in business.”

The 4H kids and their animals are back. Vince Vander Kooi, a 15-year-old from Nobles County, says the 4H-ers are thrilled to be back.

“I was pretty happy, I’ve been here since 2019,” he said.

The 4H kids can’t sleep in the barns this year. Because of COVID-19 they’re being housed at the University of Minnesota.

Not that many masks in indoor areas, something that fair managers expect will change when the fair gets underway.

“I think people are used to wearing masks, so bring yours,” said General Manager Jerry Hammer.

Hammer added that if you are inside at one of the exhibits and don’t have a mask, don’t be surprised if someone from the state fair asks you to put one on.

Esme Murphy