Ellison, Fields to Debate Today At MN State Fair
Patch has what you need to know to enjoy the 2012 Great Minnesota Get-Together.
A full-up political debate between Rep. Keith Ellison (D-MN) and his Republican challenger Chris Fields forms the big news out of the 2012 Minnesota State Fair on Wednesday.
The event will be held from noon to 1 p.m. at the Minnesota Public Radio booth on the corner of Judson Avenue and Nelson Street, and will be moderated by MPR political editor Mike Mulcahy. Candidates will be answering a mix of questions from the audience and the moderator.
Want to research the questions you throw at candidates? Check out our interivews with Ellison and Fields, where we put reader-submitted questions to each candidate:
What else is going on at the fair today?
It’s Wednesday, so it's Read & Ride Day at the fair, and public library cardholders of all ages receive a $2 or $3 discount on admission. Visitors can test their knowledge at the "Spin & Win" trivia wheel and test their luck at Library Plinko. Kiss and Mötley Crüe play together at the grandstand at 7 p.m. Limited seating is available for $51, $71 and $81. Check out the fair's website for a schedule of the day's activities and events.
Admission gates open daily at 6 a.m. Ticket sales end at 10 p.m. (9 p.m. on Labor Day). Grounds close at midnight (10 p.m. on Labor Day). Most buildings are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.
Adults (13-64) pay $12, seniors and children 5 and older pay $10, and children younger than 5 are admitted for free. Promotional days are offered throughout the fair. Pre-fair discount admission is available for purchase through Aug. 22.
If you gotta drive: Take 35W north to I-94 east. Exit on Snelling Ave., then turn left and head north. Or take 35E north to I-94 west. Exit on Snelling Avenue, then turn right and head north.
State fair parking lots cost $12 and can be accessed off Larpenteur, Snelling, or Cleveland avenues. Discount tickets can be purchased in advance through Aug. 22 at Cub Foods or the State Fair Box Office. (Motorcycle parking is offered for $6 on Como Avenue.)
Free parking is available at 34 locations around the fairgrounds. Complimentary buses leave every 20 minutes from 8 a.m. to midnight to pick up fair-goers. In 2011, the park and ride program gave more than 900,000 rides.
If you want to avoid the car:
- Bike! Google Maps offers bicycle-friendly directions, and free bike racks are offered at the Como-Snelling and Hoyt-Snelling gates and at Commonwealth-West Dan Patch from 6 a.m. to midnight daily. Southwest Minneapolis Patch's favorite ways to get there look can be found on this map (if you don't mind hils, 8.7 miles), or on this map (if you hate hills, 11.4 miles). Both use Martin Luther King, Jr. Park as a convinient starting point.
- Bus! Three buses service the fair and accept cash or transit passes. Route 960 goes from Nicollet Mall in downtown Minneapolis to the fairgrounds in about 15 minutes. Route 84 travels along Snelling Avenue. Route 3 connects downtown Minneapolis to downtown St. Paul along Como Avenue. State Fair Express buses operate from 17 Twin Cities locations on 15- and 30-minute loops. Check the fair’s express bus website for more information.
- Park and Ride! A brand-new weekend park-and-ride location oppened up very close to Southwest Minneapolis, at the Best Buy campus in Richfield. You'll also be able to hop a ride from the Parade Ice Garden or from the Dunwoody College of Technology on weekends.
The Minnesota State Fairgrounds are located at 1265 North Snelling Ave. N. in St. Paul. Maps and directions are available on the fair’s website. Note that light-rail construction on University Avenue will slow traffic flow; the fair’s website has tips on how to avoid the congestion.
Navigating the fair
The state fair’s website has downloadable maps of the grounds and daily activity schedules.
The state fair is also smart phone accessible, with a mobile website and stand-alone apps for iPhones and Android phones that include a manipulable map and the ability to search listings of events, merchandise and food.