State Fair to check bags at all entry gates

Trolleys made their way through the crowd.
The State Fair says bags, purses, coolers and packages will now be subject to search at each of the fair's 11 entrances.
Courtney Perry | For MPR News 2015

Updated: Aug. 17, 7:04 a.m. | Posted: Aug. 16, 8:32 a.m.

Going to the Minnesota State Fair this year? Make sure you have your ticket in hand and your bag open.

The State Fair says bags, purses, coolers and packages will now be subject to search at each of the fair's 11 entrances. Prohibited items include weapons and fireworks but also alcoholic beverages, drones, bikes, skateboards, skates and hoverboards. Other items may also be refused at the discretion of fair management or police.

People without bags can go through an express line.

Jerry Hammer, the fair's general manager, said the searches are not in response to any threat.

Jerry Hammer
Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer speaks with media Tuesday about security changes for the upcoming fair. The new measures include bag checks at the 11 fair entrances.
Peter Cox | MPR News

"We want people to feel safe. The public safety — that's our No. 1 obligation, that's always been our No. 1 responsibility," he said.

Additional changes to security measures this year include increased staffing, vehicle access and traffic management adjustments.

Hammer said they've added "close to 100 additional security staff from three professional security contractors. This is what they do, it's what they specialize in, they will be conducting the bag checks at our outside gates."

The State Fair bolstered security measures in 2002, after the Sept. 11 terror attacks, when they added stricter vehicle rules on the grounds and started background checks on all fair employees. Since then, it has annually made adjustments to its security systems.

The State Fair runs Aug. 25 to Sept. 5. Last year, nearly 1.78 million attended the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Your support matters.

You make MPR News possible. Individual donations are behind the clarity in coverage from our reporters across the state, stories that connect us, and conversations that provide perspectives. Help ensure MPR remains a resource that brings Minnesotans together.