State Fair volunteer opportunities

2014 Minnesota State Fair

Minnesota State Fair logoThe State Fair is coming to St. Paul, August 21 - September 1, and YOU can be a part of it!  Admission tickets to the fair will be provided for each day volunteering with the DNR!


Almost half a million people visit the Department of Natural Resources (DNR) Building and Park each year to see fish, birds, to learn more about their favorite lakes, parks, trails, and to see exhibits on various DNR Programs.  The volunteer time commitment is at least one day for 4-6 hours depending on the job.  Admission tickets for each day along with instructions and fair information will be sent about 1 week prior to the fair.  Parking and meals will be the responsibility of the person volunteering. 


Follow the web link cited at the end of each position to sign up or contact the person listed for more information.

Smokey Bear and his Voice

Smokey Bear and friendFor three hours each day of the fair one person will play the costumed character Smokey Bear. Smokey will be required to move among the crowds in and around the DNR building and to pose with people wanting to have their picture taken with him. Smokey does not speak, so another person must be on hand to be his Voice and to help him walk as visibility is partially limited with the costume. The Voice of Smokey must be able to introduce the costumed character to people and assist Smokey getting in and out of his costume.


QUALIFICATIONS: The person playing Smokey must be 17 years of age or older, be at least 5'7" or taller and have a chest or waist no larger than 46" to best fit the costume. Wearing the costume can get terribly hot so people affected by the heat need to take this under consideration.  A cooling vest is provided.


Volunteers are needed to fill BOTH time slots of 11:00 AM - 12:00 noon AND 1:00 - 2:00 PM on the day they volunteer.  You cannot select just one. People who volunteer to be this Smokey cannot also volunteer to be in the parade on the same day.


At least 2 sets of Smokeys and Voices are needed on Friday, August 22, for shifts every other hour from 10 AM - 4 PM on Fire Prevention Day of the fair.  The first shift appears on the grounds at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM.  The second shift appears at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM.  There is only one Smokey on all other days of the fair.


To sign up for a day, go to VolunteerSpot, an online signup tool, at  to find out what days are still open. Enter your email address. You will NOT need to register an account on VolunteerSpot.  Note: VolunteerSpot does not share your email address with anyone. If you prefer not to use your email address, please contact Renee Vail below.


Choose your day.  Under "Comments", please provide your US mailing address so we may mail you your admission ticket to the State Fair. Also, indicate here if you'd like the 1st or 2nd shift if you want to volunteer on Friday, Aug 22, only. VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders for whatever day you choose.


Contact Renée Vail, DNR Volunteer Programs, at 651-259-5249, or email  for more information on how to play Smokey or his Voice during the fair.


EAB Costume Character

EAB costume

Roam the DNR grounds at the State Fair, greet visitors, hand out Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) related materials (potentially fans, ID cards, or similar items), and pose for pictures with fairgoers while wearing this FUN COLORFUL COSTUME!  The purpose of the EAB costume is to engage the public on invasive species issues and encourage them to visit the invasive species exhibits inside the DNR Building at the State Fair and get the fun invasive species hat! 


The Emerald Ash Borer costume is a size small/medium and best fits people who are between 5 ft. up to 6 ft. in height. Shoes that go with the costume will fit up to a size 11 women's or 9 ½ men's.


Volunteers need to arrive by 11:30 AM to sign in and put on the costume.  The EAB costume character will appear on the DNR grounds daily from 12 – 1 PM and again from 2 – 3 PM.  Brief breaks for water and to cool down are permitted every 15 minutes or as needed while wearing the costume.


To sign up for one day (11:30 AM – 3:15 PM) during the fair, go to:   to find out what days are still open.  Please provide your phone and mailing address so we may mail you your admission ticket.  For more information, contact Susan Burks, Forestry Invasive Species Program Coordinator, St Paul at 651-259-5251 or email  .  Training along with written and verbal instructions will be provided prior to your shift.


Adopt-a-River ExhibitMinnesota State Fair Adopt-a-River program booth.

Volunteers are needed to staff our outdoor booth/tent, and explain DNR's Adopt-a-River Program to fair-goers. The Adopt-a-River Program encourages Minnesota volunteers to adopt a section of a lake, river or pond, to ensure its long-term health through annual cleanups. Training materials will be emailed/mailed to volunteers prior to the fair followed up with a phone call from Adopt-a-River staff. Volunteers must enjoy meeting people, have some natural resource experience or education, and must be able to physically set-up and take down display materials.


Volunteers are needed all 12 days of the fair. Shifts are 9:00 AM - 1:30 PM or 1:00 - 5:30 PM. Only the 1:00 – 5:30 p.m. will be available on Sundays during the fair. Contact Paul Nordell at 651-259-5630, Analeisha Vang at 651-259-5620 or email



DNR State Fair Safety Training