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Nearly $6 million in improvements approved for 2013 State Fair

Nearly $6 million in improvements and maintenance projects for the Minnesota State Fairgrounds were approved by the fair's board of managers during the annual meeting of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society - governing body of the fair.

The meeting was held January 17-20 at the DoubleTree Bloomington Hotel as part of a joint convention of the Society, Minnesota Federation of County Fairs and Midwest Showmen's Association.

Improvements and maintenance projects approved for 2013 include construction of a new restroom west of the Department of Natural Resources Building; new roofs for the Ramberg Senior Center, Fan Central, DNR and Admin Too Buildings; beginning work to repair and restore the fair's historic 1930s "streetcar arch;" installing hand washing stations inside the Food Building; improvements to the State Fair's utilities infrastructure; and hundreds of painting, maintenance and landscape jobs throughout the 320-acre State Fairgrounds. All projects are funded through State Fair operating income and grants from the Minnesota State Fair Foundation. The fair is financially self-supporting and receives no government aid of any kind.

The fair's board of managers also approved admission prices for the 2013 Great Minnesota Get-Together, which will remain the same for the third straight year. Adults (13-64) will be admitted for $12; seniors (65 and over) and children (5-12) for $10; and kids (under 5) for free. Pre-fair discount admission tickets will remain $9. Parking fees will also stay the same at $12 per vehicle.

In other business conducted during the meeting, Jim Foss of Kenyon was re-elected to his second one-year term as president of the State Fair. Foss is a retired farmer who has received a number of honors for his community work, including the International Association of Fairs & Expositions Heritage Award. Foss was first elected to the State Fair board in 2002 as representative of the Society's first regional district. Joe Fox of Maplewood was re-elected to a two-year term on the board as fourth district vice president. Paul Merkins of Stewart and Ron Oleheiser of Grand Rapids were re-elected to three-year terms on the board, representing the Society's second and eighth districts, respectively.

Marge Krueger of St. Paul, the fair's senior citizens department superintendent, was elected to honorary life membership in the Society. Krueger has been involved with the senior citizens department since its founding in 1965, and has served as superintendent since 1979. She has also been instrumental in the success of the Outstanding Senior Citizens Awards program, which annually recognizes two Minnesota seniors for their commitment to community service.

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended expositions in the world, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. Showcasing Minnesota's finest agriculture, art and industry, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is always 12 Days of Fun Ending Labor Day. Visit for more information.

The 2013 Minnesota State Fair runs August 22 - Labor Day, September 2.