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Minnesota State Fair CEO to retire after 26 years in leadership role

Hammer announced Monday that he will retire in the spring as the CEO of the Minnesota State Fair — a role he's held for 26 years.
Credit: KARE

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. — The Minnesota State Fair announced Monday that Jerry Hammer — who has served as the CEO for the past 26 years — will retire from his role in the spring of 2023.

Hammer has been the longest-serving chief executive in the 169-year-old institution’s history and has worked for The Great Minnesota Get-Together for over 53 years.

“I’m extremely grateful for the opportunity to serve this amazing place for so long,” Hammer said. “What a great gift it is when your life’s work is bringing people together to celebrate the very best of each other. This is way more than an agricultural fair. It’s a uniquely Minnesota-style celebration of our humanity.”

Hammer spent almost his entire life at the State Fair. According the fair's news release, Hammer began working in the fair's greenhouse in the early '70s, before joining the full-time staff in 1977.

He served a myriad of positions the next two decades in events, media, public relations and more — before being promoted to CEO in 1997.

The State Fair's board of managers has initiated a search process to name Hammer's successor. Hammer will continue serving as the CEO to assist with the leadership transition process throughout the winter.

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