Long lines expected at MSP Thursday as MEA weekend begins

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Students across Minnesota are out of the class the next two day for the four-day MEA weekend, meaning some are traveling, and others are enjoying a staycation.

At Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport, officials are expecting a busy day as families leave town.

As of early Thursday morning, all flights were on time – both departures and arrivals.

The Metropolitan Airports Commission anticipates more than 36,000 passengers will take to the skies out of MSP Thursday, which is more people than Wednesday.

MSP and the airlines tell 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS they are boosting staff to accommodate the high demand – especially in the ticketing lobby – to help things run smoothly.

If you’re traveling, experts recommend you arrive about two hours early for your flight, but make it three hours if you’re flying out of the country.

“We kinda thought they might be long, so we left early,” said one early morning traveler.

“I wasn’t angry, but it was overwhelming, there was a lot of people,” said another traveler.

While you wait, keep in mind almost all of the concession and retail shops are back open. If you plan to drive yourself to the airport, you may want to plan ahead – you can save $2 a day if you pre-book online.

However, not everyone is traveling this weekend, and there are a lot of events happening in the metro area this weekend.

Explore Minnesota says they’re encouraging families to get outside due to the beautiful weekend that is forecasted. CLICK HERE for the latest forecast from the 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS weather team, which is currently calling for sunny skies and high temperatures in the 60s and 70s throughout the long weekend.

The conditions will allow for hiking at the State Parks, a bike ride or visiting a fall festival.

The “Light up the Night Parade” is happening in Anoka, a family event that will be kid-friendly, and doesn’t include gore or blood. That event starts at 7 p.m. Friday on Main Street.

“We have a lot of really wonderful sort of world-famous things here. Anoka is the Halloween capitol of the world,” said Lauren Bennett McGinty, the tourism director of Explore Minnesota.

If you want to travel but stay somewhat local, you can head to multiple events happening within the state.

Blue Mounds State Park in southwest Minnesota is hosting bison tours. You can also head to southeast Minnesota to visit Mystery Cave in Forestville.

“Staying close by means maybe you can check out some of the fall foliage, especially if you’re going south, the peak colors are really popping down there now, so lots of really easy, affordable family friendly options right here in Minnesota,” says Bennett McGinty.

Carter’s Farm in Park Rapids is hosting their fall fest this weekend, and is about three hours northwest of the Twin Cities, where applie cider, corn mazes and wagon rides will be available.

Meanwhile, in Duluth, there is a craft show, a pumpkin hunt and trick or treating at Duluth’s Lake Superior Zoo during their “Boo at the Zoo” event.

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