Breaking News
More () »

For many, working the State Fair is a summer tradition

"When it gets to the 12th day, you have such mixed feelings because you're tired but you're really going to miss it," said Corn Roast's Lori Ribar.

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minnesota — Labor Day marks the last day of the Minnesota State Fair. 

"When it gets to the 12th day, you have such mixed feelings because you're tired but you're really going to miss it," Lori Ribar said. 

Ribar is celebrating her 50th year at the fair. 

She started working at her family's stand — Peters Hot Dogs — at the age of 11 in 1971. She went on to meet her husband at the fair and they opened the Corn Roast stand in 1985. 

"Our employees come back because it's corn camp. We call it corn camp and there's tears on the last day when everybody leaves. It's just the camaraderie. We try to make it as fun as we can," Ribar said. 

They have 160 employees this year, selling about 20,000 cobs per day. 

"It's a dirty job; it's hot, but they have fun," Ribar said. 

Grace Ross is finishing up her seventh year at the Corn Roast, saying, "It's a community. It's a family. I love it here." 

On Labor Day, Ribar was spending time with her longtime friend Mary Wagner who runs the Granny's Apples and Fresh Squeezed Lemonade stand in the Food Building. 

Wagner has worked the fair for 36 years. They arrive at 8 a.m. and leave around 9:30 p.m. each day. 

"It's a long day for an old lady," said Wagner, 86, laughing. 

This year, her grandkids are running the stand. 

"It's tiring for sure working here all the time and they get to be long days and helping people out, but it's still fun," said Wagner's grandson, Andy Munsen. 

Carlita Fletcher has worked at the fair for 17 years, six of those with Lynn's Lefse. 

"I love it. I like the Great Get-Together. I miss this. When the pandemic was going on, it was just sad for me because even though it gets hot, I just like to see the people," Fletcher said. 

When talking about the last day, Ribar said, "You just miss everything. You miss the employees, the crowds. It's just part of your life. It gets in your blood."

From staffing ticket booths, to parking lots and rides, the Minnesota State Fair employs 2,700 summer and seasonal staff. There are approximately 80 year-round, full-time employees.

They'll begin planning for the 2023 fair immediately after this year's ends. 

Watch more local news:

Watch the latest local news from the Twin Cities in our YouTube playlist:

Before You Leave, Check This Out