An accessible trolley and spacious new restrooms near the Kidway are among new Minnesota State Fair accessible accommodations for 2016. Also available for 2016 is a list of accessible and affordable dining options. This year’s fair is August 25 through September 5 in Falcon Heights.
Fair Communications Director Brienna Schuette said the dining list outlines sit-down eating establishments at the fair that are accessible via curb cuts, have hard and sturdy floor surfaces and have places where a fair-goer can pull a wheelchair up to a table. In some places, Schuette said a chair might have to be moved to make room for a wheelchair or scooter. Diners should always ask for accommodations. The list appears at the end of this article.
The fair offers an accessibility guide. Go to www.mnstatefair.org, click on the general information tab and then click on accessibility. Print out the guide. Accessibility questions can be sent to accessibility@mnstate fair.org, or call 651-288-4448. The fair’s main website offers information about admissions costs, special days and much more.
A new 2016 feature is a free, accessible trolley. The trolley will travel along Randall Avenue with a stop at Buford Avenue. It will run 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. and 3 to 9 p.m. daily. It will serve guests who enter at Buford or park at the Robin Lot.
A third addition is a new restroom building south of the Kidway children’s area, on the west side of Cooper Street. The new 6,540-square-foot restroom is home to accessible men’s and women’s facilities and 14 family restrooms.
Transportation and parking
Several options are available for fair visitors. The new 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
A free park and ride lot with free wheelchair-accessible bus service is offered 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 park and ride lots have limited accessible bus availability. The majority of coaches at Roseville Area High School/Grace Church, St. Rose of Lima in Roseville, Gloria Dei Lutheran Church in St. Paul and University of Minnesota Minneapolis campus are wheelchair-accessible. Hours are limited to church parking on Sundays. Go to www.mnstatefair.org for details.
Also go to the fair website for information on accessible parking spaces, at Larpenteur Avenue at Underwood Street and Gate #2 off Snelling at Hoyt Avenue, and south of Como Avenue. Parking for people with disabilities is available on a first come, first served basis. Cost is $13. Vehicles with trailers are charged $26.
The Metro Mobility drop-off and pickup sites are at the Como Avenue Loop Gate 9 and Hoyt Avenue Gate at Snelling and Hoyt.
On the fairgrounds
Anyone needing to rent a wheelchair or electric scooter can be dropped off at the Como and Hoyt gates and go to HomeTown 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.
Monday–Friday through Aug. 14, and 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. daily during the fair Aug. 25–Sept. 5. 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 $55 per 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.
Wheelchair battery recharging is available at the Care and Assistance Center at 1883 Dan Patch Ave. 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. Free Assistive listening devices are available for use during Grandstand events. Receivers and headsets are available from Guest Services in the Visitors Plaza. A valid driver’s license or state ID and a credit card are required for deposit.
During the fair, American Sign Language (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 offered daily; West End Market’s Schell’s Stage History On-A-Schtick show at 9:30 a.m., All-Star Stunt Dog Splash at 11 a.m. at North Woods on Cooper Street between Randall and Lee avenues, performer Sean Emery at 12:30 p.m. on the Family Fair Stage in Baldwin Park, and the parade at 2 p.m. on the east side of the Family Fair Stage in Baldwin Park. Roving ASL interpreters are available to interpret other shows and exhibits upon request every day between 8:30 a.m. and 3 p.m.
Keep in mind, that while entertainment venues have accessible seating, it is available on a first-come basis. Plan to arrive early for shows and events. An Attraction Access Guide is available to assist fairgoers in making choices about which rides are appropriate for them, at all ticket outlets on the Mighty Midway and Kidway.
Food is a big part of the fair fun, but many people need a place to sit or be served when they dine. Mighty Midway visitors will find tented picnic tables beside food vendors there. Other sites include:
- Andy’s Grille, on the south side of Carnes between Liggett and Nelson
- Ball Park Café, on the east side of Underwood between Dan Patch and Carnes
- Blue Barn (limited general seating picnic tables), at West End Market, south of the History & Heritage Center
- Blue Moon Dine-In Theater, on the northeast corner of Carnes and Chambers
- Cafe Caribe, on the south side of Carnes between Liggett and Nelson
- Chicago Dogs, in The Garden on the corner of Dan Patch and Underwood
- Charcoal Hut, on the east side of Judson between Underwood and Cooper, next to the International Bazaar
- Coasters, on the southeast corner of Carnes and Liggett
- Dino’s Gyros, on the north side of Carnes between Nelson and Underwood
- Farmers Union Coffee Shop, on the north side of Dan Patch between Cooper and Cosgrove
- French Creperie, on the north side of Carnes between Nelson and Underwood
- French Meadow Bakery & Café, on the north side of Carnes between Nelson and Underwood
- Frontier Bar, on the south side of Carnes between Liggett and Nelson
- Giggles’ Campfire Grill, on the southeast corner of Lee and Cooper at the North Woods
- Hamline Church Dining Hall, on the north side of Dan Patch between Underwood and Cooper
- Italian Junction, on the south side of Dan Patch between Nelson and Underwood
- LuLu’s Public House, with most accessible seating on the second story via elevator, at West End Market,
south of the Schilling Amphitheater
- Mancini’s Al Fresco, on the north side of Carnes between Nelson and Underwood
- Minnesota Wine Country, on the west side of Underwood between Carnes and Judson
- Mexican Hat, east of Chambers, south of the Grandstand
- O’Gara’s at the Fair, on the southwest corner of Dan Patch and Cosgrove
- RC’s BBQ, On the north side of Dan Patch between Liggett and Chambers
- Ragin Cajun, in the Garden on the corner of Dan Patch and Underwood
- Robbinsdale OES Dining Hall, on the west side of Underwood between Dan Patch and Carnes
- Salem Lutheran Church, on the north side of Randall Ave. South of the Progress Center
- Shanghaied Henri’s, at the International Bazaar, north wall
- Tejas, in the Garden on the corner of Dan Patch and Underwood
- Texas Steak Out, on the west side of Underwood between Lee and Randall
- The Peg, on the extreme southeast side of the Agriculture Horticulture Building