Vets give pigs a clean bill of health as State Fair readies for opening day

A team of veterinarians was on hand to check up on the pigs that were checking in to the Minnesota State Fairgrounds Wednesday. None showed signs of the new swine flu strain that's been known to spread to humans. The livestock arrival was part of a day full of preparation for Thursday's opening.
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Swine flu concerns made for some added precautions on check-in day at the State Fair's swine barn. Veterinarians checked out more than 200 pigs and gave them the OK to be on display when the public arrives Thursday. Altogether, 1,000 pigs will be exhibited during the Fair's twelve day run.

The animals weren't the only ones getting ready for opening day.

WCCO also visited the very important person who decides which exhibitors are lucky enough to get a booth and the State Fair and where those booths are located.

You might presume that the youngsters who raise and show farm animals at the Fair also own those animals. In most cases that's likely true, but suburban counties are increasingly making use of a leasing program to match farm animals with non-farm 4Hers.

For State Fair basics, including how to avoid that $12 parking fee, Fridley Patch offers this guide.

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Minnesota State Fair off to rough start

Opening day at the fair started off a little bumpy with a brief ride malfunction and lower attendance at the pig barn after the Swine Flu virus raised cause for concern. Day two kicks of with the Governor's Fire Prevention Day and Alan Jackson performs at the Grandstand tonight.

Swine flu infections reported at Wisconsin fair

Wisconsin health officials report two cases of people infected with a new strain of swine flu. Both people are connected to the Wisconsin State Fair — a worker and a swine exhibitor, the Associated Press is reporting. This news comes on the heels of a report from a University of Minnesota scientist who found swine flu in a significant number of pigs at the Minnesota State Fair in 2009.

More cases of swine flu linked to fair's pig barn

Two more cases of presumptive swine flu have been linked to the Minnesota State Fair. The Minnesota Department of Health says this is the first human infection of the H3n2v strain linked to the fair. The other cases involving the same strain were linked to a live animal market in Dakota County.

Pigs will be allowed at State Fair despite swine flu concerns

The health department reported two Twin Cities area children were the first Minnesotans confirmed to have contracted a new strain of the swine flu, just a few days before the Minnesota State Fair. But fair officials say the swine barn is safe and it will be open as usual this year.

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A University of Minnesota veterinarian, Dr. Jeff Bender, is releasing the results of his study and it comes with a warning for anyone planning to visit the Minnesota State Fair -- which starts one week from Thursday. Scientists found 19 percent of the 57 pigs tested at the Minnesota State Fair in 2009 had the H1N1 flu virus -- compared to none of the 47 samples the year before. Fair officials tell the Star Tribune they've stepped up precautions for both fairgoers and livestock.

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The Centers for Disease Control has confirmed that one case of swine flu has been linked to the Minnesota State Fair and two possible additional cases are pending. Minnesota Public Radio reports that in the three cases, people were either exhibiting hogs or were in the swine barn at the state fair before falling ill. The strain is different that the one that has caused 289 illnesses and one death nationwide so far this year.

It won't be long now: Fair opens Thursday

It's a busy time at the state fairgrounds, where the big event opens Thursday. The changes this year include a new arena for livestock judging and pavilions for Minnesota-made wine and beer.