The new transit hub, which was unveiled Thursday, will handle about a third of the annual 1.8 million visitors -- more than any other entrance.
"It is the biggest change to the Fair landscape since FDR was president," Fair spokeswoman
The transit hub will give bus riders their own entrance -- streamlining the process of getting to the Fair.
For decades, most Fair visitors have crowded through entrances along
But the new hub will route 80 percent of the buses to the opposite corner of the Fair and make getting there faster and easier -- so more people will take the buses, easing car traffic in neighborhoods.
The stream of buses will avoid Snelling and enter via the
The number of people using it will be three times the size of the crowd using the traditional entrance gate on Snelling, predicted Steve Grans, the Fair's transportation manager.
"I think it's a premier location, just fabulous," Shimp said.
About 600,000 visitors are expected to pour into the Fair though the hub.
About 40 percent of fairgoers arrive via bus -- and that number will now increase, predicted Fair spokeswoman Schuette.
Shimp said she rides with her family to the Fair every year on the bus.
"It's just so easy to get right on the bus," she said. "And now you are going to end up right where you want to be."
Next to the hub, the
Schuette said the Fair is partnering with the
The area will include the new
Schuette said several of the new vendors will be recycling materials into new products. For example, Machine Age Lamps uses old industrial materials to create lamps, while another will sell jewelry made from bicycle parts.
One new restaurant will be LuLu's Public House, with the rooftop patio.
"You will see the Midway on one side, and look down on the amphitheater on the other," said
Among other food innovations, LuLu's will serve lobster on a stick, macaroni-and-cheese on a stick and walleye tacos.
The other new restaurant will be the
Co-owner Shimp said the building will be sided with reclaimed antique-wood siding.
It will offer fairgoers food including chicken in a waffle cone, meatloaf on a stick and a beef sandwich called the Farm Hand-Wich.
Shimp personally has been testing recipes for months.
"I did gain 10 pounds over the Christmas holidays because of the State Fair," said Shimp.
Burrows, the co-owner of LuLu's, is glad his company is building the restaurant.
"We believe in it, or else we wouldn't have done it," said Burrows. "People will find us. With lots of new shopping in the area, there is a reason to come here.
"I think it has a lot of upside."
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