Minnesota State Fair GM Hammer says he’ll step down

Published 4:55 pm Tuesday, November 22, 2022

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ST. PAUL — The Minnesota State Fair will get a new general manager with Jerry Hammer’s announcement that he’s stepping down after 26 years in the job.

Hammer told the Minneapolis Star Tribune it’s “a gift” to have had the job for such a long time. The 68-year-old Hammer started his career as a temporary employee in the fair greenhouses.

Hammer saw the fair through the difficulty of the coronavirus pandemic, which shut it down in 2020 and depressed crowds in 2021. Hammer said this year’s bounce-back left the fair in its best cash position ever.

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Hammer said two accomplishments are likely to keep the fair healthy in coming years. One was establishing a separate Minnesota State Fair Foundation 20 years ago. The other was getting its own bonding authority to make it easier to maintain the fair’s sprawling grounds and buildings.