Minnesota State Fair still working to hire 270 positions, many vendors also short employees

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Final preparations are underway at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The gates open on Thursday and vendors are optimistic there will be large crowds.

“I get just energized just looking at the place,” said Tim Weiss, the owner of Giggles’ Campfire Grill. “It’s really, really good to be back.”

After the Great Minnesota Get-Together was canceled in 2020, more than 1.3 million people attended the fair in 2021. Attendance surpassed 2 million people in 2019.

“We’re hoping we have a banner year,” said Weiss. “We’ve got over 15,000 pounds of fish we’re hoping to sell.”

He typically has a team of about 250 people that work to serve the lines of fair-goers that gather at his building at the corner of Lee Ave. and Cooper St. at The North Woods.

Although they are planning for larger crowds this year, staffing challenges that started during the pandemic persist. They currently have about 210 employees.

“Staffing has been an absolute nightmare this year,” said Weiss. “I just think that people are going to have to work harder and longer.”

Weiss told us they wouldn’t slow down, even if they don’t hit their target for hiring.

“We have 12 days to make a living here, and we’re going to have to do whatever it takes,” he said. “We’re going to be fine. You know what, everybody who comes out to the Great Minnesota Get-Together will have a great time, a great experience.”

The Minnesota State Fair is also still looking to fill about 270 positions. A spokesperson said they typically employ around 2,700 employees throughout the summer. The remaining open jobs include sanitation, parking, and park and ride attendants.

A Minnesota State Fair spokesperson told 5 EYEWITNESS NEWS, “2,700 was our optimum number, but we feel confident we will be able to fill in any open slots with the great people we have already hired.”

Stone and Steel Design Owner, Brian Rosen, is showcasing his stone engraving at the fair for the first time this year. Rosen’s 73-year-old mother, who is retired, is helping him at his shop.

“I’ve been shorthanded the last couple of years; it’s hard to find help,” he said. “My daughter will be here the first full week. We don’t know what to expect.”

He explained his team is working 24/7 to prepare.

“It doesn’t all start here. It starts with loading trailers, all sorts of stuff back at the shop,” said Rosen. “I’ve got people back at the shop working right now engraving last-minute rocks.”

He carves images and words into small and large rocks. Rosen’s work includes gifts, house markers, and pet memorials.

“The last few years, we’ve engraved the bricks that you see here all over by the Grandstand,” said Rosen.

He’s sharing his venue with Tonka Bay Fountains. Both owners are hopeful their hard work will pay off when the streets fill with people.

“We have high expectations that we’ll get a fair amount of business,” said Scott Estrem, the owner of Tonka Bay Fountains. “I hope to get a year’s worth of commissioned work, commissioned artwork.”

Apply for open positions at the Minnesota State Fair here.