Only 120 days until the start of the 2021 Minnesota State Fair, and all indications are that it will go ahead in some form this year after the COVID-19 pandemic wiped it off the schedule in 2020.
"We're in a different place than we were," said Jerry Hammer, general manager of the State Fair, in an interview on WCCO Radio Monday. "Last year everything we were seeing is why we couldn't, and this year we're seeing why we can."
"We're getting ready to go," Hammer added.
In a statement to KARE 11, Hammer said State Fair organizers knew in May last year that they might not be able to hold the Great Minnesota Get-Together, but told the TV station that this year there are "plenty of reasons for optimism."
One of the Fair's most popular vendors, The Perfect Pickle, did its part to increase excitement about a 2021 State Fair when it posted to its Facebook page Tuesday for the first time since August 2020.
"Test, test ...this thing on?" the message began. "We know it’s been awhile, but wanted to make sure we still have your attention. You know, in case we want to make an announcement later this week or something..."
It's unclear what the home of the fried pickle on a stick will announce, but it could very well be State Fair-related. If not, perhaps it's an announcement about The Perfect Pickle's presence at the Twin Cities Auto Show May 15-23.
While anticipation is growing that the State Fair will happen this year, it's unclear what it will look like with mask-wearing and social distancing possibly still a part of everyday life.
"While we don’t know exactly what this year’s fair will look like, we’re planning for a variety of scenarios based on evolving health and safety guidelines," Hammer said in a statement.
The CDC announced Tuesday that fully vaccinated people no longer need to wear a mask when outdoors unless they're at a large event, which the State Fair would undoubtedly qualify as.
The State Fairgrounds currently serve as a home to a large-scale community vaccination site, with members of the Air Force helping administer the COVID-19 vaccine.
The 2021 State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 26 to Sept. 6.