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Cost of State Fair tickets, parking edges up a buck

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The State Fair says it doesn't want to become the Pretty Good Minnesota Get-Together.

So to keep it great, they'll charge you an extra dollar for admission this year. And for parking. And Midway rides. Even the discounted ticket prices for children and those who buy in advance are going up one dollar.

General Manager Jerry Hammer tells the Pioneer Press it's been four years since the Fair raised admission prices, which will now be $13 for adults, $11 for kids and seniors.

Hammer tells the newspaper the Fair's operating expenses continue climbing. He says if the costs of providing security, sanitation, and bus service are factored in, the actual per person cost amounts to $18.

Looking for ways to economize at the Fair? As savvy Fairgoers know, there's always the Blue Ribbon Coupon Book. More coupons than ever in this year's edition. If anybody used them all, they'd save more than $900, the Fair says. What's more, the price of the book did not go up this year. $4 in advance, $5 at the Fair.

Don't look now, but we're less than two weeks away from opening day. In case you haven't been tracking the announcements, here's a review:

This year's new rides include ones called Crazy Dance, Hurricane, and the Stinger.

The new foods include chocolate dessert salami (right), pretzel curds, and a bacon wrapped turkey leg.

The grandstand shows include Toby Keith, Kid Rock, and Aretha Franklin.

The biggest change is the arrival of the new West End Market and a new transit center, which both occupy the space that was formerly Heritage Square. Learn more about the West End in the Park Bugle or the Star Tribune.

And finally, just to butter you up for the Fair, Agri News has a charming profile of Leah Middendorf of Sauk Centre, one of the finalists for the Princess Kay title.

Leah says since becoming a finalist she's getting recognized and greeted by strangers. Her mom is making room in the freezer for the 90-pound carved butter head that goes home with each Princess Kay finalist.

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