A special day to spotlight mental health awareness and new, accessible buildings are among the many highlights at the 2018 Minnesota State Fair. The fair is August 23 through Labor Day September 3 in Falcon Heights.
This edition of Access Press includes information on general fair accessibility, accessible dining venues, Mental Health Awareness Day on Monday, August 27 and a Minnesota Council on Disability effort on parks access. Take the newspaper along as your guide to all that is “fair.”
Accessibility questions can be answered by calling 651-288-4448 or emailing firstname.lastname@example.org.
MENTAL HEALTH AWARENESS AT THE FAIR
A day to promote mental health awareness is 8 a.m.-6 p.m. Monday State Advisory Council on Mental Health, Subcommittee on Children’s Mental Health, National Alliance on Mental Illness Minnesota and more than 40 other organizations.
A costumed T-Rex will help raise awareness of the far-reaching mental health and wellness topics that affect all Minnesotans. Learn about relaxation and breathing exercises, prenatal care, sensory regulation, tele-mental health and recovery resources, art therapy coloring and mindfulness activities, crisis text numbers, reducing the sense of isolation, mental well-being assessments, legal advice on disability and mental health, bullying prevention, Medicaid resources and more. The Dan Patch Park Stage will host a full day of inspiring and entertaining stage acts including drumming, musical theater storytelling for children, yoga, humorous conversations, music, sports psychology Q&A, therapy animals and other presentations.
GETTING TO THE FAIR
Anyone driving to the fairgrounds can seek accessible parking, which is offered on a first-come, first-served basis, at a cost of $14 per day. Expect to pay cash for these spots. Fairgrounds parking is open 6 a.m.-midnight every day except Labor Day, when the lots close at 10 p.m. Go to the fair website for information on accessible parking spaces, in the Rooster Lot at Hoyt Avenue and Underwood Street, and in the Robin Lot on Randall Avenue by the transit hub.
There is also accessible parking in two Como Avenue lots south of the fairgrounds.
But why not use a park and ride lot? One close-in free park and ride lot with free wheelchair-accessible bus service is offered exclusively for people with disabilities and their companions. The lot is located on the north side of the Oscar Johnson Arena, 1039 De Courcy Circle, south of the fairgrounds. Exit from Snelling Avenue at Energy Park Drive; travel east to the first left past Snelling east of the Merrill Corporation office building and go to the north side (rear side) of Oscar Johnson Arena. Passengers travel nonstop to the fairgrounds and are dropped off at the Como Loop Gate #9. Buses run continuously, from 8 a.m. to midnight daily.
Other outlying park and ride lots have limited accessible bus availability. The majority of coaches at Roseville Area High School/Grace Church (daily), St. Rose of Lima in Roseville (Monday-Saturday and Sunday after 1 p.m.) and University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus (daily except August 30) are wheelchair-accessible. Go to www.metrotransit.org for details.
A third option is to use regular Metro Transit service. The A Line buses on Snelling Avenue are accessible, as are regular route buses 960, 84, 61 and 3. Metro Transit also offers State Fair Express Bus service, for a $5 round trip, with locations throughout the Twin Cities area. All express service is accessible. For regular route and fair express information call 612- 373-3333 or go to www.metrotransit.org
Taking Metro Mobility? The paratransit service uses two locations for drop-offs and pickups. These are at Como Loop Gate #9 and gate #2 on Hoyt Avenue. These points can also be used by people dropping off or picking up a person with disabilities.
ACCOMMODATIONS AT THE FAIRGROUNDS
Anyone needing to rent a wheelchair or electric scooter can be dropped off at the Como and Hoyt gates and go to Home-Town Mobility. The company is now accepting rental reservations online at htmia.com or by calling 1-877-928-5388 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily through September 3.
Reservations need to be made at least 24 hours in advance, and cancellations at least 48 hours in advance. Reservations will only be accepted for full-day scooter and wheelchair rentals. Rental fees are $20 per day for wheelchairs and $60 per day or $40 per half-day for electric scooters. Reservations made via phone are subject to an additional $5 call-in reservation fee. A limited number of scooters and wheelchairs are held for walk-up customers on a first-come basis with no guarantee of availability. Wagons and strollers can also be rented.
Wheelchair battery recharging is available at the Care and Assistance Center at 1883 Dan Patch Ave. Care & Assistance also serves as headquarters for people of any age who have become lost or separated from a group, infant care and nursing facilities.
Outlets to plug in scooters are also available on the south wall of the Grandstand Building. The center serves as headquarters for people of any age who have become lost or separated from their group. Infant care facilities are also available. Hours are 8 a.m. to 11 p.m.
Receivers and headsets are available at the guest services desk on the east side of the Grandstand Plaza. A valid driver’s license or state ID and a credit card are required for a deposit, which is refunded when the devices are returned.
ATTENDING A SHOW? RIDING THE RIDES?
All of the fair’s entertainment venues, including the Grandstand, have accessible seating. But it is available on a first-come basis. Plan to arrive early for shows and events.
Grandstand show tickets for people with disabilities can be purchased through the fair’s ticket office or through Etix, for additional information, call 651-288-4427. Grandstand shows also offer assistive listening devices, free of charge.
American Sign Language (ASL) is offered. ASL interpreters will be available to assist guests needing an interpreter from 8:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. daily. Check at the Admin Too Building on Cosgrove Street.
Shows with ASL interpretation are offered daily. The West End Market’s Schell’s Stage History On-A-Schtick show is at 9:30 a.m. The All-Star Stunt Dog Splash at 11 a.m. at North Woods on Cooper Street between Randall and Lee avenues. See performer Sean Emery at 12:30 p.m. on the Family Fair Stage in Baldwin Park.
Interpretation is also offered for the daily parade at 2 p.m. on the east side of the Family Fair Stage in Baldwin Park.
Headed to the Midway or Kidway for rides? Attraction access guides are available at all ticket outlets, to help people make choices about which rides are appropriate.
Information for this article was compiled by Access Press staff with help from the Minnesota State Fair communications office.