DNR State Fair exhibit fact sheet

DNR Building

• Historic DNR building at the State Fair opened Sept. 1, 1934.

• It cost $73,000 to build (almost 10 times the net profit of 1934 State Fair).

• Gate tickets in 1934 cost 25 cents.

• Funding came from federal and state emergency relief administration and State Fair funds.

• Civilian Conservation Corps erected the building in less than six months using machined logs.

• The main building is 186 feet by 66 feet and is 40 feet high.

• DNR building open during the State Fair daily from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.


DNR Fish Pond

• The DNR’s live fish exhibit is one of the State Fair’s most popular attractions with an estimated 800,000 visitors each year.

• Started in 1905, the State Fair’s first live fish exhibit used aquariums purchased from the 1904 World’s Fair in St. Louis.

• This year’s exhibit is expected to display about 45 species of fish that call Minnesota home.

• One of the most popular fish with fairgoers has been the paddlefish. Characterized by its long, paddle-like bill, the paddlefish is found in the lower Mississippi River below Minneapolis. Paddlefish grow to be quite large, with fish up to 200 pounds being recorded. The paddlefish is a state threatened species.

• The largest fish in the exhibit is the lake sturgeon, which exceeds 50 inches. A State Fair veteran, this specimen was the gift of an angler who harvested it legally from the St. Croix River several years ago. Lake sturgeon in Minnesota are found in the Mississippi, St. Croix and Rainy river systems.

• The largest sturgeon reported in Minnesota was a 215-pound fish found dead along the shore of Lake of the Woods in the early part of the 20th century.


DNR Fire Tower

• Was specifically built for the State Fair to provide a wildfire prevention message to visitors.

• Fire tower opened in 1966 and was closed in 1978 because of safety concerns.

• Fire tower was repaired and reopened in 2007.

• Fire tower is 65-feet tall.

• There are 84 steps from bottom to top.

• There is no charge for people to climb to fire tower stairs to get birds-eye view of the fair.

• Tower open daily during the fair from 9 a.m.-5 p.m., weather permitting.


Adopt-a-River Sculpture

• This is the 19th consecutive year that an Adopt-a-River sculpture has been on display.

• Each year a new sculpture is made from trash and scrap collected by the artist from Minnesota waterways.

• This year’s sculpture is named “Scuttled.” It weighs about 800 pounds and features a turtle and a bird navigating a 15-foot tall sailboat on rough seas.

• Artist Andrew Vomhof, a Minnesota native and 2010 graduate of the Minneapolis College of Art and Design (MCAD), spent many hours creating the sculpture.

• Sculpture is a tribute to more than 85,000 volunteers who have removed 6 million pounds of trash from public waters at more than 3,000 clean-ups over the years.

• Sculpture is located in DNR Park, south of the DNR fish pond.

• Fairgoers can learn about Minnesota species and wildlife habitat.

• Special sound and lighting effects help create an experience of moving from day to night and through the four seasons, as visitors walk through the display.

• Display located in DNR Building and is open daily during State Fair from 9 a.m.-9 p.m.

Smokey Bear

• Smokey Bear is celebrating 68 years of reminding children and their parents about the dangers of wildfires.

• In conjunction with the Governor’s 14th annual Fire Prevention Day on Friday, Aug. 24, the DNR Forestry Division will host a variety of special activities and events including the opportunity to “Take a Walk with Smokey Bear” at 11 a.m., 1 p.m., 3 p.m.

• Smokey Bear makes daily appearances at DNR Park at 11 a.m. and 1 p.m.

More information is available at http://www.dnr.state.mn.us/events/statefair/index.html.

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