There will be no state-ordered restrictions for the State Fair this year

Fair organizers could still implement their own COVID safety restrictions.

It's looking more likely the Minnesota State Fair will look normal this year. 

Gov. Tim Walz on Thursday announced a timeline to end the majority of COVID-related restrictions by May 28, which is well ahead of the Great Minnesota Get-Together. 

The State Fair was canceled in 2020 and replaced with two drive-through food parades due to restrictions in place designed to limit the spread of COVID-19. 

But this year, all business restrictions and the state mask mandate will be lifted more than a month before the start of the fair. 

"These restrictions being lifted at this pace clearly will allow the State Fair to take whatever appropriate measures they want to take to keep guests safe but there will be no state restrictions on the State Fair as it relates to masking by the time the State Fair hits or overall capacity percentages," DEED Commissioner Steve Grove said during a news conference Thursday.

Starting Friday afternoon, the majority of outdoor events "are really pretty open," Grove said. "Parades, festivals, gatherings in parks, all these events that are so great about summer, as of tomorrow, will proceed as they might usually in any given summer."

The state at noon on Friday is removing limits on outdoor dining, events and other get-togethers, and is ending the mask requirement for outdoors except for at large venues with more than 500 people.

And then on May 28, the state is removing the remaining capacity and distancing limits, including for indoor events and gatherings. 

The face mask requirement for indoor and outdoor events with more than 500 people will remain in place until July 1 at the latest. That could be removed earlier if 70% of adults in Minnesota are vaccinated before then.

The loosening of state-mandated restrictions does not prevent businesses from requiring masks, social distancing or limiting capacity. 

Grove said the state knows business leaders, like the State Fair, will "navigate what's right for their venues because they want to make sure people feel safe coming to their events."

"We expect to see some innovative and different solutions from those businesses," Grove said, noting "The time for the state to provide that guidance is fading in the coming weeks."

The Minnesota State Fair is scheduled for Aug. 26-Sept. 6. Before Thursday's announcement, Walz had said the State Fair would be pretty normal looking this summer. 

In a statement to Bring Me The News, General Manager Jerry Hammer said: 

"We’re excited by today’s news regarding the easing of COVID-19 restrictions, and we’re continuing to move forward with State Fair preparations. More information on the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together will be shared in the coming weeks."

The State Fair is also hosting a Kickoff to Summer at the Fair from May 27-31. Event organizers had said masks would be required and capacity would be limited to 10,000 tickets per timeslot. Tickets are being sold via a lottery, with the deadline to signup for the lottery set for midnight Thursday.

Lara Hughes of the Minnesota State Fair told BMTN that based on current guidelines, face masks will still be required except when eating and drinking and at this time, they'll continue with an attendance capacity for the Kickoff event.  

Meanwhile, other event planners are cheering the governor's announcement because it allows them to plan for upcoming festivals without questioning what the restrictions will be. 

“This announcement gives us exactly what we’re asking for: guideposts along the way and certainty with upcoming concerts at Bayfront and the DECC,” Jeff Stark, who is in charge of venue operations at the Duluth Entertainment Convention Center, told the Duluth News Tribune. “It gives us the answers we want and allows us to move forward and rebuild our business that has been devastated for the last 14 months.

“(There has been) a collective sigh of relief and a jig that was danced to.”

Next Up

Twitter - Mayflies St. Paul - Jay Xiong

It's mayfly season in Minnesota, and it's totally gross

But a mayfly hatch is actually a good thing, we swear!

Okciyapi (Help Each Other) 2

Walker reveals first sneak peek at new Sculpture Garden addition

Okciyapi (Help Each Other) comes from local artist Angela Two Stars.

GCS-2104-005_btmn-comBanner_display_1000x1000_2 copy (1)[5]

The summer of live music is here (finally!)

Grand Casino Hinckley offers big-name outdoor concert events.

Star Tribune

Star Tribune food critic Rick Nelson is moving to a new beat

A nationwide search has been launched to find a replacement for the award-winning food critic.

Atravius Weeks booking photo

Charges: Man shot ex-girlfriend multiple times outside day care in Lakeville

The suspect shot himself in the head after fatally shooting his ex, charges say.

Mohamed Ibrahim

Ibrahim, Olson named First-Team All-Big Ten by Phil Steele Publications

The Gophers had 10 total players selected to the All-Big Ten team.

Pixaba - vaccine covid shot

10 Minnesota counties have now hit 70% adult vaccination rate

The more transmissible Delta variant is adding urgency to the vaccination effort.


Two young men killed after car, dump truck collide

The collision happened in Barron County, western Wisconsin.

Brian O'Neill, Vikings-Saints

Matthew Coller: Should the Vikings have any offseason regrets?

Matthew Coller writes a weekly Vikings column for BMTN, with more of his work found at Purple Insider.


Minnesota State Fair

It's official: Minnesota State Fair is on, with no COVID restrictions

Proof of vaccination won't be required, and face masks won't be mandatory.

minnesota state fair

Planning for the 2021 Minnesota State Fair is underway

The fair suffered huge financial losses due to COVID-19, but organizers are moving forward with planning "different scenarios" for this summer.

Minnesota State Fair

Optimism about 2021 Minnesota State Fair continues to grow

What the State Fair in 2021 could look like is a mystery.

Screen Shot 2018-08-21 at 12.20.36 PM

Here's how this year's unusual Minnesota State Fair performed

"It’s been a challenging year so far, but also a rewarding experience that ultimately strengthens the fair."

Minnesota State Fair

Walz: 2021 State Fair should be 'pretty close to a normal event'

COVID cases have been falling while vaccinations have been rising.

This year's State Fair smashed the all-time attendance record

It was another record-breaking year for the State Fair.

Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair canceled: 'We can't do it. There's just not time.'

It's been 74 years since the last time the State Fair was canceled.