State Fair staff 400 short less than two weeks from 2021 return

ferris wheel

State Fair vendors are having a very tough time staffing their booths for the state fair, which returns next Thursday. That trend also applies to the state fair operations themselves.

The State Fair is 400 people short of its staffing target.

“It’s definitely been a challenge but we’re not alone,” State Fair spokesperson Danielle Dullinger said. “We’re very similar to many others in the hospitality industry.”

They’re hiring specifically for park and ride lot attendants, ticket takers and sellers, sanitation workers and public safety officers for crowd control and crossing streets.

Hiring will continue through the Fair, but Dullinger said they’re asking fair goers to practice patience with expected longer lines. One way to help is to buy tickets ahead of time.

“The Fair will still happen,” Dullinger said. “We’re just asking those who attend the Fair to be a little patient this year. Not only have we not opened our gates in two years, we’re all coming back to a challenging time right now. Things are going to look a little different, so if you do have a longer line waiting to get in or if you have a longer line to buy your ticket or if you have a longer line at a vendor, we just ask for your patience this year.”

It’s not just vendors and operations. Metro Transit is scaling back its state fair service due to a shortage of bus operators.

Several sectors of the economy nationwide are experiencing a labor shortage, but it raises the question if safety is also a concern keeping people from working the state fair. Current state fair guidelines encourage mask wearing indoors regardless of vaccination status, but it is not required.