Minnesota State Fair opens todayMinnesota News
-- It is opening day of the 2012 Minnesota State Fair. Mostly cloudy skies with humid highs in the upper-80's to low-90's greet attendees in the city of Falcon Heights, where nearly two-million people will gather over the next 12 days.
FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. -- It is opening day of the 2012 Minnesota State Fair. Mostly cloudy skies with humid highs in the upper-80's to low-90's greet attendees in the city of Falcon Heights, where nearly two-million people will gather over the next 12 days.
More than 450 foods are available to fairgoers, along with attractions and entertainment for young and old. The first night's musical guests at the Grandstand are Bonnie Raitt and Mavis Staples.
The swine barn is open at the State Fair and health officials say they will be monitoring the livestock for any signs of H3N2v. This new strain of influenza can be acquired through contact with pigs. State Department of Health Veterinarian Joni Scheftel says in the 200 cases reported around the country -- the majority of them have been in kids who have been exhibiting their pig at a fair. She says the symptoms have been mild and there really hasn't been a lot of person-to-person transmission. Scheftel says around 80-million people have been to a fair so far this year and only 200 people have fallen ill. She says people at high risk for the flu include children under five, people age 65 and older, pregnant women, and people with underlying health conditions.
People attending the Minnesota State Fair on this opening day will likely run into a few politicians. Rumor has it Republican presidential hopeful Mitt Romney will visit the fairgrounds prior to private fundraisers on Lake Minnetonka. Then-Vice President Teddy Roosevelt made his famous "speak softly and carry a big stick" speech at the Minnesota State Fair in 1901. U.S. Senator Al Franken (DFL-Minneapolis) is not up for re-election but will be on the fairgrounds today.
Add one more place where fairgoers can find a place to park for the Great Minnesota Get-Together. A park-and-ride is up and running at the former Ford Ranger plant in St. Paul's Highland Park. More than 800 spaces are available for folks who want to catch the bus into Falcon Heights.
Meet Minnesota's newest ambassador for the dairy industry. Eighteen-year-old Christine Reitsma of Sauk Centre was crowned the 59th Princess Kay of the Milky Way last night, ahead of today's opening of the 2012 Minnesota State Fair. Reitsma is the first-ever Princess Kay from Stearns County and as a reward will sit in a cooler for six hours at the fairgrounds today to have her likeness carved in butter.