Minnesota State Fair honors group with 50-year award
23 people were honored with a prestigious award at the Minnesota State Fair this morning.
The group joins the more than 350 folks who have already received the 50-year medal since the program started back in 1979.
This is a way the Minnesota State Fair recognizes those who have been active in the Great Minnesota Get-Together for 50 years or more.
Many honorees have given more than half a century of service, with state fair officials saying that combined, the 23 people honored have put in more than 1,200 years at the state fair.
Those years with the fair do not have to be consecutive — just 50 total.
Those awarded can range from a fair employee, an exhibitor, a vendor or a volunteer. Unfortunately, coming to the fair as a guest does not count for this title.
72-year-old Gordy Toenges is currently on the board of managers at the fair and hasn’t missed it once since he was three.
He’s been part of the fair since 1963 and says it’s a privilege to get this plaque.
“Started showing dairy cattle, moved to FFA [and] showed there, and then I got on Swine Committee and then I got to be sheep superintendent, and I did that for 8 years and then I got elected to the Board of Managers! So this is a big deal. This is part of our life. This is what we do,” Toenges said.
All those honored today will have their name added to a permanent plaque that’s already hung at the fairgrounds in the administration building.