Selfie sticks banned on part of state fairgrounds

Using a selfie stick
A woman uses a selfie stick to take a photograph on Ladies Day on day 3 of Royal Ascot at Ascot Racecourse on June 18, 2015 in Ascot, England.
Chris Jackson | Getty Images file

You may have to get someone else to take your picture at the Grandstand and on the rides on the Midway: the Minnesota State Fair is instituting a ban on selfie sticks.

But it's only a partial ban, State Fair officials said today.

"The selfie sticks will be prohibited on all of our ticketed attractions, the rides at the Midway and Kidway, and any of the amusements you see around the grounds, the Sky Rider, Ye Old Mill, those sorts of locations," said fair spokesperson Brienna Schuette. "In addition, they'll also be prohibited at entertainment seating venues, so at the Grandstand, or any of the free stages around the grounds, the Bandshell, the Bazaar stage, and so on."

That brings the Great Minnesota Get Together in line with destinations like Disneyland, Six Flags amusement parks and the Smithsonian, among other places.

The devices, used to hold out smart phones for self portraits, have been celebrated and villified. Time Magazine listed it among the best inventions of 2014 last year, but the self-referential nature of its use has also earned the device the nickname narcistick.

But that isn't why the Minnesota State Fair is banning them, officially listed as a no-no in the Visitor's Guide.

"Our No. 1 priority is to keep people safe here, and those extension poles can extend out and interfere with a ride's mechanisms, and that's something that we absolutely don't want to take any chances on," said Schuette.

Fair officials also don't want selfies interfering with spectators watching Grandstand shows or other entertainment. Schuette says they haven't gotten any complaints as of yet, but that the sticks didn't get extremely popular until late last year.

"We haven't seen a lot of selfie sticks out at the fair," Schuette said. "This is really an attempt to be proactive, for safety and guest experience reasons."

Selfie sticks will be generally allowed elsewhere on the grounds, and the fair is more than happy to see people taking and posting pictures of themselves at the 12-day extravaganza. Fair officials expect visitors will generally observe the restriction without having to be admonished. Schuette said that by way of example, people have generally complied with the smoking ban the Fair instituted in 2013.

The Fair attracted a record 1,824,830 vistors last year. It opens Aug. 27.

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