MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — With COVID-19 cases rising, WCCO wondered if Minnesota political leaders would still go to the fair.

The answer is yes.

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WCCO Morning anchors Jason DeRusha and Heather Brown interviewed U.S. Sens. Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith when the gates opened Thursday at 6 a.m. Then, they tried one of the fair’s new foods with Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan.

Like most native Minnesotans, you can tell that Flanagan missed the state fair.

“To be really honest, when I walked in I was like, ‘Is this real life? Is this actually happening?’ Because I think so many of us have just been waiting for the opportunity to come together, and we absolutely have to be cautious and thoughtful,” Flanagan said.

READ MORE: Minnesota State Fair 2021 Final Attendance: 1.3M, Far Below 2019 Record

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan (credit: CBS)

She’s wearing a mask, and had to make the tough move to have her child sit this year’s festivities out.

“I have an 8-year-old kiddo at home, she’s unvaccinated, and so this year we’re not gonna take her to the fair, and that’s hard, but it’s also what’s right for our family. And I think that there’s other folks struggling with that decision, and that’s what’s best for us,” Flanagan said. “We’re gonna have to be able to manage COVID, but also know that there’s opportunities for us to move forward, and I’m eager to do that, too.”

Here are Lt. Gov. Flanagan’s top three fair things: crop art, the education building — and a surprise.

“Of course, Ye Olde Mill,” she said. “It’s dark, it’s weird. I love it [laughs]!”

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WCCO also talked with Flanagan about COVID-19 and back-to-school expectations. Watch WCCO This Morning on Friday for that part of the conversation.