Art Blakey, chief of the State Fair Police, and his daughter Brooke are two of the year-round members of the force. But during the fair the State Fair Police Department's ranks swell to make it the second largest police department in the state, behind Minneapolis.
Blakey and his daughter have both held various jobs at the State Fair since they were teenagers, Art for 51 years and Brooke for 26 years, and have gotten to know the State Fair very well.
Brooke's favorite part of the fair is going down the steps behind the police department to the Midway and getting breakfast with her dad at a little diner that and insider favorite for workers. "It's the only place on the fairgrounds that serves grits in the morning," Brooke said. "It's a nice little spot."
Art grew up on a farm in Yankton, SD, and he appreciates the variety of gardens that can be found sprinkled throughout the fairgrounds. His favorite is the garden around the Agriculture/Horticulture building. "It's really soothing and a good place to sit and gather your hearts," he said. "We're city guys, but we're farmers at heart."