Updated: 08/27/2014 11:44 AM
Created: 08/14/2014 3:27 PM KSTP.com
By: Todd Wilson
Gates to the Minnesota State Fair open in one week, which means a lot of vendors are getting their booths, stalls and stands ready for the crowds.
The big thing everyone seems to be talking about is the facelift the west side of the fairgrounds received.
Minnesota State Fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuette says the old Heritage Square is gone and has been replaced with the West End Market.
"What that is, is a brand new area with all sorts of artisans and clothiers and jewelers," she said.
There are also two new restaurants. One is called the Blue Barn and the other is Lulu's Public House.
"We were here from when they broke ground and watched the whole thing go up," said Mike Brennan of Lulu's Public House.
He says for 13 years the restaurant was known as Bo Bites. They were located at the southeast corner of the food building. The move gave them a new name, more room and better views.
"We'll be able to see shell stage, we can see the grandstand, we can see the midway," Brennan said.
There are 300 licensed food vendors with about 500 different types of food. Twenty-eight new dishes will be rolled out. The new eats include bacon-wrapped turkey legs, beer gelato to blue cheese and corn fritz.
"There's also the West End Creamery. We have a new kettle corn vendor down there and then Johnny Pops," Schuette said.
This year there are between 1,500 to 1,600 commercial exhibitors at the fair. Mary McKenzie works for J.R. Watkins. She says the new West End Market is great.
"I love the openness of the booth, the airiness, the freshness. I hope a lot of people come and see it," she said.
It is not easy becoming a vendor at the state fair. Fair organizers look for certain things like experience, uniqueness and market interest.
Food and beverage vendors pay 15 percent of their gross sales after tax.