State Fair volunteer opportunities

2016 Minnesota State Fair Volunteer Positions

The Minnesota State Fair is coming to St. Paul, August 25 - September 5, and YOU can be a part of it!

  • Receive admission tickets to the fair for each day you volunteer with the DNR!
  • Volunteer at least one day for 4 hours.
  • Parking and meals will be your responsibility.

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 4 hours each day of the fair, you can play the costumed character Smokey Bear! Smokey poses for pictures with people and walks among the crowds in the DNR Park twice a day for one hour intervals.  That makes it only 2 hours total in the suit – with breaks every 15 minutes to cool off for a few minutes.  The rest of the time is spent getting in and out of the costume or resting. 

Smokey must be:

  • 17 years of age or older
  • at least 5' 7" or taller
  • have a chest or waist no larger than 46" to be able to fit in the costume

Wearing the costume can get extremely hot, so if heat bothers you, this is not the job for you!  A cooling vest with ice packs, water and a shower are provided. Since you'll get sweaty every time you go out, you need to bring 2 changes of clothing with you.

Not into wearing a Smokey suit?  How about being his Voice?  Smokey can't speak, so someone else must act as his Voice.

Smokey's Voice must be:

  • 14 years of age or older
  • friendly and confident to talk to people
  • physically capable of carrying a bag of giveaway items
  • able to lead Smokey around and help with his costume

Volunteers must fill BOTH time slots of 11:00 AM - 12:00 noon AND 1:00 - 2:00 PM on one day. You cannot pick just one. Please note that if you volunteer to be Smokey here, you cannot also volunteer to be in the parade on the same day.

Friday, August 26, 2016 is Fire Prevention Day and is different from all other days at the fair. 

At least 2 sets of Smokeys and Voices are needed on this day for shifts every other hour from 10 AM - 4 PM.

  • The 1st shift appears on the grounds at 10 AM, 12 noon, and 2 PM.
  • The 2nd shift appears at 11 AM, 1 PM and 3 PM.

There is only one Smokey and his Voice 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 Mimi Barzen below.
  • Choose your day.  All volunteers are limited to a maximum of 2 days.
  • Click on the conversation bubble to provide “Comments” of your U.S. mailing address so we can 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 26.
  • VolunteerSpot will send you an automated confirmation and reminders for whatever day you choose.

Contact Mimi Barzen, Forester, Grand Rapids at 218-328-8909, or email  for more information on how to play Smokey or his Voice during the fair.

EAB Costume Character

EAB costume

Wear this FUN COLORFUL COSTUME as the Emerald Ash Borer (EAB) as you:

  • roam the DNR grounds at the State Fair from 12 – 1 PM and 2 – 3 PM
  • greet visitors
  • hand out EAB related materials (such as tattoos and firewood brochures)
  • pose for pictures with fairgoers!

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.

The Emerald Ash Borer costume:

  • is a size small/medium
  • best fits people who are between 5 to 6 ft. in height
  • will fit up to a size 11 women's or 9 ½ men's shoe

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 – 3:00 PM) during the fair, go to this Doodle Poll to find out what days are still open. Please provide your phone, email, and mailing address so we may contact you ahead of time and mail you your admission ticket.

For more information, contact Laura Van Riper, Terrestrial Invasive Species Program Coordinator, St. Paul at 651-259-5090 or email Written instructions will be provided prior to your shift.