Minnesota State Fairgrounds Has Increase In Events With New Outdoor Shelters

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Known as the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance, the Minnesota State Fair attracts nearly 1.8 million people annually. Often referred to as the “great Minnesota get-together,” this end-of-summer tradition has taken place since 1854.

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Even with a long and successful history, community leaders are constantly looking for ways to improve the aging facilities and programming. Next to the grandstand music stage is an open, grassy space where portable tents were set up and taken down each day of the fair.

In the event of inclement weather, scheduled events were prevented from taking place. Additionally, the Minnesota State Fairgrounds was in need of more event space to accommodate their growth in attendance. Community leaders decided to tackle this problem to better cater to guests. They sought to create permanent outdoor pavilions that can be used during the fair and throughout the rest of the year as well. It was important to find a company that can provide a superior quality product and install it within their tight deadline before the start of the fair.

In partnership with shelter manufacturer Superior Recreational Products, community leaders sought out to find the best shelter structure styles for their space.

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They chose two 44' x 64' gable end shelters that needed to be manufactured and completely installed within eight weeks before the grand opening of the fair.

The completed space was named the Horton Pavilions after a donor who wanted to see family gathering spaces created at the fair.

They had 45 different groups scheduled to have an event during the fair under the large, shaded space provided by the pavilions. The events ranged from corporate functions and weddings to anniversaries, reunions, and more.

“We are very happy with the beautiful pavilions and the feedback from event coordinators and fairgoers passing by the area,” Emily Diedrick, Event and Group Hospitality Supervisor said.

On the first day of the 2015 fair, two big groups were the first to utilize the new event space at the Horton Pavilions: a wedding reception for 100 people in the south pavilion and a Jacob Leinenkugel Brewing Company VIP event for 200 people in the north pavilion.

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With the excitement of the fair in the background, the guests enjoyed food, drinks, and entertainment underneath the new shelters.

The Horton Pavilions is a perfect gathering space because the shelters are secluded from the hustle and bustle of the fair with the grass and trees as a border, but still close enough to the action. Guests can take the short private pathway into the fair after their event.

“The structures have a classy and clean look that allow groups to feel comfortable and relaxed even during a busy day at the fair,” Diedrick said.

Now that the portable structures are a thing of the past, the fairgrounds are able to host more events throughout the year underneath the new shelters and grow their business within the hospitality market place.

“The structures turned out beautiful and I am excited to book more events as a result!” Diedrick said.