MINNEAPOLIS — In a little less than two weeks, the Minnesota State Fair will be bustling with fairgoers. And while the first day isn't until Aug. 25, the fairgrounds aren't empty
Saturday, dozens of local craftspeople stood in line with homemade clothing, quilts and art to showcase in the Creative Activities building.
Gwen Swenson, of North Branch, brought an orange vest she sewed for her grandson and a green 4-H skirt she sewed for her granddaughter. She's been showing at the fair since 1979.
"I'm very happy that the Minnesota State Fair is here," Swenson said. "I enjoy coming out to it."
While it's been a family tradition to her, she also enjoys the friendly competition.
"It's fun to win ribbons," she said.
Martha Grant and her son Grant Cooper brought pickled pumpkin spice beets and mixed vegetables.
"Daikon radish, hot peppers, regular peppers, onion," Martha Grant said.
Her son added, "I hope I win a ribbon!"
Dozens of volunteers at Hamline Church Dining Hall spent Saturday setting up tables, posting the latest menus on the walls and discussing food preparations.
Candyce Osterkamp, a church member, says the annual dining hall takes a lot of work to operate, but it's a meaningful opportunity.
"Showing that we are a presence in the community...the greater community," Osterkamp said. "We're excited to be open."
Elaine Christiansen, a church volunteer who turns 92 this month, added, "This is an important time for all of us."