State Fair

Minnesota State Fair will add metal detectors at entrance gates

A crowd of people at the fair.
A crowd packs onto the street on the opening day of the Minnesota State Fair on Aug 22, 2019.
Christine T. Nguyen | MPR News 2019

The Minnesota State Fair will add metal detectors to the fairground entrances starting this year.

The fair’s governing board met in Bloomington on Sunday to approve its annual budget and fair plan. That will include screening with metal detectors at all 11 gates that let people into the fair, according to general manager Jerry Hammer.

"We’re not the first fair to do it," he said. "There have been a number of fairs, including Wisconsin, that have been doing metal detectors for two or three years now. And there are more fairs, more large fairs, adding it every year. The State Fair of Texas has been doing it for decades."

Hammer said the process will look similar to operations at US Bank Stadium and Xcel Energy Center.

"All pro sports everywhere have metal detectors. You go to Disney World or anyplace else (and) it’s the same kind of security system," he said. "So we’re working on details right now. But its been done and done very well in a lot of other venues and other places, so we’ll adapt what works best elsewhere to our own situation."

The fair instituted bag checks at the gates in 2016, and Hammer said fair officials have been weighing additional security measures for several years.

No incidents involving weapons have been reported recently inside the fairgrounds, although three people were shot in an altercation just outside the main gate shortly after the fair closed for 2019 in September.

The 2020 fair runs from Aug. 27 through Sept. 7.