August 26th through Labor Day (September 6th, 2021) - Our 14th year at the fair!
It’s BIG!: AFAA is grateful to Health Fair 11 for the opportunity to again have a booth at the Minnesota State Fair which, over the course of 12 days, typically attracts 2 million attendees! The fair is known as the "Great Minnesota Get-together" and AFAA operates an information booth for the full run: thus it is the largest food allergy outreach effort in the United States - 12 days of interactions with fairgoers, 11 hours each day! In addition to personal interactions, and visual exposure to even more people, each year the AFAA booth garners media coverage from local news stations (e.g. affiliates of ABC, CBS, NBC, radio stations etc.)
What We Do: Volunteers at the booth answer basic food allergy questions and offer free handouts and demonstrate how to use various auto-injector trainers. New volunteers are paired with experienced ones. Special guests such as allergists answer more complex questions during “Ask the Doctor” segments, and sponsor representatives answer questions and showcase their products made for the food allergic community. Other featured special guests have been dietitians, cooks, news anchors, legislators, and nationally known food allergy bloggers.
Location: The AFAA booth/HealthFair 11 is inside the Crossroads Building on the corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Cooper Street. (It is 2 short blocks just west of the Snelling Avenue Gate, one of the Park & Ride drop off/pick up locations.) The navigation address is 1315 Cooper Street, St. Paul, Minnesota and it is T-25 on the State Fair map. It is close to the Skyride, Bandshell (free shows!), Space Tower, Butterfly House, Kidway rides, and Creative Activities Building.
Volunteer: In contrast to previous years, AFAA is not recruiting regular volunteers for the booth due to Covid-19 risks. We are utilizing only Shift Leaders in 2021, and they will have limited responsibilities (e.g. undercovering the tables at open, tidying and restocking the table, covering the tables at night). If it is determined that being inside the building for a length of time is safe, then Shift Leaders can remain in the booth to answer questions.
Shift Leaders are required to:
- have previous volunteer experience at the AFAA State Fair booth;
- be on the fairgrounds & reachable from 8:30 a.m. - 2:30 p.m. OR 2:30 p.m. - 8 p.m.;*
- have a Covid-19 vaccination OR a negative Covid-19 test 24 hours prior to each shift;
- have no symptoms of Covid-19;
- maintain 6 feet of social distancing;
- wear a N-95 or KN-95 mask at all times within the HealthFair Building and on all public and State Fair transportation.
If you are interested in volunteering as a Shift Leader and meet the qualifications, AFAA will provide an admission ticket for you prior to your shift, and an AFAA teeshirt once you reach the booth. Additional masks will also be available at the booth if you need to change to a new one.
Getting There: Because of the size of the fairgrounds, please allow 30 minutes to reach the booth after parking or arriving by bus. Generally it is easier to use the Park & Ride system or air-conditioned city buses than to park. More information about park-and-ride, city bus routes, on-site parking, and accessible transportation is available at https://www.mnstatefair.org/transportation/free-park-and-ride/ Remember to wear your mask on all transportation.
*Please arrive at the AFAA booth 30 minutes before your shift starts to get settled in, receive your t-shirt, familiarize yourself with the booth and materials, get a beverage, use the bathroom, etc. Note: entry into the fairgrounds may take longer this year because all individuals must go through a metal detector to screen against guns (which are prohibited on the fairgrounds).
Attire: Your tee shirt, and additional KN-95 masks, will be at the booth for you. Dress comfortably for warm weather, and wear comfortable shoes. Hats & sunscreen are useful before and after your shift(s) when you can enjoy the many wonderful features of the MN State Fair - many free to the public.
Covid-19 Information for those with Allergies: Covid-19 can be deadly or mild. Covid-19 poses a health threat to many regardless of age, and a severe risk to individuals with medical conditions. This year’s surge of the Delta variant is more contagious and more severe. Up to date information is available from the American Academy of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology Covid-19 Response Task Force, and AAAAI addresses myths circulating about Covid-19.
Covid-19 Vaccinations and Allergies: As with influenza, unvaccinated individuals contracting the disease can become vectors of the disease and of mutations of the virus (like the Delta variant). In order to keep yourself and others safe, AFAA endorses the recommendations of the medical community to obtain the Covid-19 vaccination. This is especially important to protect those too young or unable to have the vaccine for medical reasons. If you - or someone you know - is hesitant, the American College of Allergy, Asthma, and Immunology (ACAAI) answers frequently asked questions about Covid-19 vaccines and allergies, and the Allergy and Asthma Foundation of America (AAFA) also has important patient information and vaccine ingredient lists. If you haven’t received a vaccination yet, all 12 days the Minnesota State Fair will offer them FREE.