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Minnesota State Fair announces $14 million expansion

Another record-breaking year, another multi-million dollar growth spurt.

Another record-breaking year, another multi-million dollar growth spurt. Elizabeth Flores, Star Tribune

Thought news of the State Fair's record attendance marked a wrap on our Great MN Get Together coverage for now, did you?

Nope!

Because the best way to deal with regular record-breaking numbers (and the increased congestion and longer lines that come with them)? 

Get even bigger. Like, $14 million bigger. Which the folks behind the fair have announced they plan to do.

MPR reports that they'll break ground on the expansion next month, in the northwest corner of the grounds. New attractions will include a performing arts space—which could mean even more than the 900 performances the fair hosted this year. (Deputy general manager Renee Alexander tells MPR that they've doubled the free entertainment budget over the last 12 years.)

The revamp will also introduce a traveling exhibit hall, which will be almost as big as the Dairy Building. And it should all be ready in time for next year's fair, which kicks off August 22.

"You know, even on our biggest days, there's plenty of room for people," general manager Jerry Hammer—whose name sounds like it could be a State Fair show-of-strength game—tells MPR.

It's why they've spent the last decade carefully making the grounds over: updating old buildings, re-imagining existing layouts, and adding new food and events spaces like the Hangar, which just debuted this year. Crucially, they've also added more bathrooms.

Hammer adds: "The fair was more crowded 30 years ago, 35 years ago."

Painful to imagine—especially if you waited in this year's record-setting lines for some of the new foods like we did.