Skip to main content

About 150 vendors aren't returning to the Minnesota State Fair this year

Vendors have cited COVID-19 concerns as well as the labor shortage as reasons for dropping out.

More than 100 vendors have decided not to return to the Minnesota State Fair this year, for reasons that includes COVID-19 and staffing shortages. 

Danielle Dullinger, a spokesperson for Minnesota State Fair, told Bring Me The News on Friday that about 150 vendors chose not to return, but in a regular year, anywhere between 75 and 100 vendors choose not to return for various reasons. 

Related [Aug. 19]: WCCO Radio won't broadcast from Minnesota State Fair over COVID-19 safety concerns

At this year's Great Minnesota Get-Together, there will still be approximately 975 vendors, including dozens of new ones, selling food and merchandise or putting on exhibits across the fairgrounds. 

"While some vendors have decided not to return this year due to COVID-19 concerns, some vendors were not able to return due to staffing shortages, family emergencies, supply chain issues, etc.," Dullinger said. 

Dullinger noted hiring has been a "challenge" for some vendors, as well as the State Fair and many in the hospitality industry

"Because of this, we're asking guests for their patience this year, whether that be waiting in line for food or waiting to get into the gates of the fair," Dullinger said. "We are encouraging guests to get their tickets before they arrive at the fair to avoid the potential lines."

While some vendors are skipping the fair altogether, others are changing how they do things. For example, the Minnesota DNR will have its building closed this year, but there will still be activities in the park, including fish pond talks, live entertainment and raptor displays.

"The vendors are doing everything they can to present the best fair possible in these challenging times," Dullinger said. 

Related: The 2021 Minnesota State Fair: Everything you need to know

A few other things will be canceled this year, including the Giant Sing Along, with plans to have it back next year. In its place is an open area where fairgoers can enjoy their food and take a break, Dullinger said. 

And there won't be any live births at the Miracle of Birth Center this year. However, you can still see the baby animals at the barn.

"For the most part, if a vendor decided not to participate this year or if an event or area is missing, we chose not to fill that space and instead create more space for guests to spread out," Dullinger said. 

Related [Aug. 20]: Attendance at Wisconsin State Fair down nearly 26% compared to 2019

Dullinger encourages people to visit the State Fair's website, acknowledging things "may look different this year."

"We are still working incredibly hard to ensure this year's Minnesota State Fair is the best it can possibly be," Dullinger said, adding, "We understand that not everyone may be comfortable attending the fair this year. We hope to see them next year."

The Minnesota State Fair has faced criticism for not requiring vaccinations or negative COVID-19 tests to visit the fair, and for not requiring masks — instead only urging people to wear them.

Related [Aug 18]: Minnesota State Fair could be COVID 'super-spreader event' without mask mandate, lawmakers argue

"For those who do attend, we strongly encourage you to wear a mask indoors and in crowded outdoor settings. We thank guests in advance for helping us to keep everyone safe," Dullinger said. 

Related [Aug. 13]: With Minnesota State Fair looming, health officials offer COVID advice for large gatherings

The Minnesota State Fair begins Aug. 26 and runs through Labor Day, Sept. 6. It was canceled in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

Next Up

Proctor football

Former Proctor HS football player pleads guilty to sexual assault of teammate

The case will also remain in juvenile court, with conditions.

Doug Wardlow

Doug Wardlow reneges on promise, will challenge GOP's AG candidate in primary

Wardlow's announcement sparked swift criticism from the MN GOP and the party-endorsed candidate, Jim Schultz.

Flickr - welcome to minnesota sign - Tony Webster

US News '150 Best Places to Live' features 1 from MN, 3 from WI

The latest US News list is for the most populous metro areas only, so no small towns.


7 tornadoes touched down last week in western MN, ND

Two of the seven were EF-2 level tornadoes, according to the National Weather Service.


Minnesota's COVID-19 update for Tuesday, May 17

72 hours of case data reported over the weekend is included in Tuesday updates.

Stallings surveillance footage - screengrab - crop

City of Minneapolis, Jaleel Stallings reach $1.5M settlement

Although a settlement was made, the city will not admit fault or take any responsibility for the incident as part of the agreement with Stallings.


2 rescued after kayaks capsize on Sauk River

Recent heavy rainfall produced a strong currents on the water.

covid 19 test

How to order 8 free at-home COVID-19 tests

A third round of free tests is now available from the U.S. government.


Three new Grandstand shows added for Minnesota State Fair 2022

The Beach Boys and Portugal. The Man are among several acts booked.


Minnesota State Fair

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

Fair organizers could still implement their own COVID safety restrictions.

riptide - new state fair ride

State Fair announces new rides, activities, vendors for this year

Here's a look at the new ride, vendors and competitions at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

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

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.

Minnesota State Auditor Julie Blaha's crop art at the 2021 Minnesota State Fair.

More than 3,000 Minnesotans got the COVID-19 vaccine at the State Fair

Those who get their first jab at the fair get a $100 Visa gift card on the spot.

Minnesota State Fair

Optimism about 2021 Minnesota State Fair continues to grow

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