New Vendors, Old Pros Prepare for MN State Fair Crowds

Updated: 08/18/2013 10:26 AM
Created: 08/15/2013 5:32 PM
By: Ellen Galles

It's almost time for the Great Minnesota Get-Together, and preparations are under way. 

Pat Mancini has been in the restaurant business for decades, so he isn't used to feeling like a "newbie." But this week he's putting the last preparations on the booth for his first Minnesota State Fair. "Very tense. We don't know what to expect in terms of volume and crowd, but we're ready," Mancini said.

The Mancini's booth will feature traditional Italian favorites and even comfy booths from the family restaurant in St. Paul, but it will have a more casual, "al fresco" feeling to it.

Experienced vendors like Beverly and Lee Bahr say the huge crowds still surprise them, and they've been serving up fair food at their booth, The Lunch Box, for 50 years. Their advice for the newcomers is to go with what you know.

"We were going to remodel and update a couple years ago, but we were asked not to. We're like the old shoe... it still fits," Bahr said.

As many as 2 million people will visit the State Fair over 12 days. Vendors say they try to prepare for thousands of customers every day.

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