The Minnesota State Fair has added dozens of new attractions for this year, including eight new thrill rides (four each in the Midway and Kidway) a remodeled west end and a new bus hub aimed at easing traffic jams, fair officials announced Thursday.
New rides for the Midway come with these names: Crazy Dance, Rock It ("zoom upside down and side to side") Hurricane and The Stinger, which spins riders at great heights – check out video from the Albany (New York) Times Union:
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Among the other new fair attractions this year:
West End Market
Minnesota State Fair officials last year unveiled a $15 million plan to dramatically improve the west side of the grounds and create a new marketplace and transit hub.
The 22-acre makeover "is the biggest change to the fair landscape since FDR was president," spokeswoman Brienna Schuette said, the Pioneer Press reported.
The new bus hub will be the largest single entrance to the fair, the newspaper notes. It will offer bus riders their own entrance and speedier access into the fair, and should ease traffic congestion on Snelling Avenue, where buses have traditionally joined fair traffic. About 40 percent of fair-goers arrive by bus, fair officials say.
The West End project will also include a restaurant with the fair's first rooftop patio with a view of the Midway, a history and heritage center, amphitheater for "intimate sets of free music," dozens of artisans, craftspeople and specialty merchants, new foods and old favorites – and plenty of restroom space.
Extreme Canines Stunt Dog Show
Free with fair admission, this new show will feature talented rescue dogs performing big-air stunts, catching Frisbees, racing through poles, and competing in a triathlon.
Bull Riders of America
Free with fair admission, watch 30 gutsy riders on bucking bulls. Also: Jerry Wayne Olson, his truck-jumping Palomino and his trick pony.
Children of military families will be specially honored this year during Military Appreciation Day, Aug. 26. Thousands will parade from the Leinie Lodge Bandshell to Carousel Park at 11:30 a.m. for a day of kids entertainment on stage, fair officials say.
Bonanza Shooting Gallery
Fair officials say this is the world’s largest old-time shooting gallery, with 100 interactive targets. "Hits" activate "lively animation and antics."
There are 12 new vendors, selling everything from gourmet dog treats to lures and tackle.
In other fair news:
Fair officials last month announced new foods for this year, including a chocolate salami, pizza tots and beer gelato.
The Grand Stand lineup was recently finalized, and features Toby Keith, Aretha Franklin and Kid Rock.
The State Fair Employment Center has put out the call for workers who are available from Aug. 21 through Labor Day, Sept. 1. Prospective employees, who must be at least 16 year old, must be available to work every day of the event. The application process begins online.
The Huffington Post put together a list of the top 10 state fairs in the country this past week, and the Great Minnesota Get-Together came in No. 4. YAHOO!, Buzzfeed and Forbes are among the list-makers that have also ranked Minnesota's fair as among the nation's very best.
The 2014 commemorative artwork was unveiled last month. Artist Emily Taylor of St. Paul designed the watercolor painting, which is a "playful representation of Minnesota's people, crops, animals and landmarks" illustrating the people who gather year after year for the Great Minnesota Get Together, according to a news release.