The Minnesota State Fair began construction Wednesday on a $15 million project called the West End Market that will replace the aging Heritage Square attraction.
General Manager Jerry Hammer said it will open for the next year's fair just north of the Midway. It'll include an updated State Fair History and Heritage Center, a bigger entertainment stage, dozens of artisans and specialty merchants, and several new food and beverage vendors. It will also include a new entrance gate and transit hub for buses.
"West End Market will be a brand-new State Fair neighborhood that everyone will really enjoy," Hammer said.
Hammer compared the project with the 2008 upgrade of the International Bazaar, which replaced the old Mexican Village, and said the West End Market will be built to last. Heritage Square was originally built in 1964 as the Young America Center, a temporary teen center that was intended to last no more than five to 10 years. Instead, it was converted into Heritage Square in 1975 as part of a program to commemorate the U.S. bicentennial in 1976 and lived on as a history-themed area through last year's fair.
The 2014 fair opens Aug. 21 and runs through Labor Day.