Updated: 08/26/2014 12:50 PM
Created: 08/26/2014 6:58 AM KSTP.com
By: Jennie Olson
The Veteran's Garden near the Agriculture Horticulture Building at the state fairgrounds is mostly used as a shady area to rest your tired feet, enjoy some form of fried food on a stick or just give the kids a place to run around for a bit.
But on Tuesday, it was a quiet, respected and sacred place as the flag was raised during the fair's Military Appreciation Day.
James Carroll was one of about 50 service men and women who attended the ceremony. If it weren't for the medals and accolades he proudly displays on his uniform, you'd never know to ask what he survived more than 70 years ago.
Carroll served as a paratrooper in the 101st Airborne Division, also known as "The Screaming Eagles."
Although Carroll vividly remembers the enormous role he played during World War II, he is very humble. He said serving in the war has made days at the fair with his family, like Tuesday, priceless.
"It feels great to be an American," Carroll said. "Living in this country, that's a blessing in itself."
Carroll enlisted when he was just 19 years old. He now lives in Bloomington with his family.
A special tribute to Minnesota’s military kids and the challenges they face took place around 11:30 a.m., and more than 1,500 military family members were planned to be the center of a parade marching from Leinie Lodge to Carousel Park.
The celebration will continue throughout the day with concerts and flash mobs.
Military members and their families will also get a discount on entrance tickets.
Two of rock’s biggest groups will share the stage Tuesday night at the Grandstand: Linkin Park and Thirty Seconds to Mars.
Academy-award winning actor Jared Leto is also the lead singer of Thirty Seconds to Mars and will be in town Tuesday for the concert.
Tickets are still available and cost about $80. The concert starts at 6:30 p.m.
This year marks the 50th anniversary of the Skyride, which glides people above the fairgrounds. A lot of people like to use the ride simply for transportation, while others like to use it for the view. Owner Don McClure says it’s best to ride the Skyride eastbound in the evening during the fireworks show.
The Skyride was made just for the Minnesota State Fair; it was built in 1965 in Switzerland and was then shipped to Duluth before making it to the state fairgrounds.
Gloomy weather didn’t keep people from enjoying the state fair Sunday. More than 164,000 people strolled through the fairgrounds, which is right on par with previous years.
Although the numbers are great, they don’t come close to the record. Back in 1994, more than 209,000 people attended the first Sunday of the fair.
An update on Monday’s attendance numbers is expected Tuesday afternoon.
NBA fans will get to meet three of the newest players to join the Timberwolves. The team will introduce Andrew Wiggins, Thaddeus Young and Anthony Bennett during a special event at 1 p.m. Tuesday.
The players arrived in town Monday and will meet with fans and the media at the state fair.
Getting to the Fair
New this year, the renovated Gate 16 is serving as a grand entrance to the fairgrounds. A projected one-third of the crowd is expected to enter and exit through that gate, which is also right next to the new transit hub.
The transit hub will be the designated drop-off and pick-up zone for anyone taking Metro Transit or the park-and-ride system.
"The idea of this is to relieve bottleneck," Minnesota State Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer said.
Hammer hopes the renovations and the addition of the Green Line light rail will ease congestion along Como Avenue on the south side of the fairgrounds. In the past, buses shared that space with cars, pedestrians and livestock trailers.
Hammer expects the horseshoe-shaped transit hub to reduce the number of buses turning across busy intersections and crosswalks.
KSTP at the Fair
You can find KSTP near the corner of Chambers Street and Carnes Avenue, just south of the Grandstand. We’ll be on air throughout the fair.
The Minnesota State Fair runs through Labor Day, the tickets can be purchased at the fairgrounds.