How do I get a charter bus to the Minnesota State Fair?

Taking people to and from our state’s iconic State Fair by bus is a point of pride

The Minnesota State Fair & Lorenz Bus Service: 20+ years of fun

Since 2008, Lorenz Bus Service has been the main transportation provider for the Minnesota State Fair’s free park-and-ride service. Today we operate approximately 75 buses on weekdays and over 125 buses on weekends. The service runs for all twelve days of the State Fair.

We provide over 2 million individual rides to approximately 1 million people. Many require ADA accessible service, which we are able to provide on nearly every route. Lorenz Bus Service takes great pride in having the largest ADA accessible fleet in Minnesota.

30 parking lots means lots of variables

Riders come to the Fair from over 30 parking lots. There are 30 different routes, which vary based on the day. Many of the parking lots are from churchs, which are unavailable on Sunday mornings. The largest, most popular lot—the University of Minnesota—typically isn’t available on one of the two Thursdays due to a Gopher football game. At the Fair, there are three different drop-off locations—the Transit Center, Midway Parkway, and the Loop Gate. Lorenz manages each drop-off location.

The Minnesota State Fair is unique in that it utilizes a private roadway, the University of Minnesota transitway, to enter and exit the transit center. By using a road that is reserved strictly for buses, bicyclists, and emergency vehicles, the park-and-ride buses operated by Lorenz are able to avoid the traffic surrounding the fairgrounds. In other words, riding a Lorenz bus to the State Fair is the best and quickest way to get there; there’s no traffic and you get dropped off right at the gate!

The buses don’t stop

Shuttle service is provided from 8:00 AM until 11:00 PM each day.

Each driver receives individualized training prior to the Fair to ensure they are comfortable and familiar with the routes they are driving. On average, our drivers have driven the State Fair for Lorenz for 5 years on average, which means the drivers we employ have a substantial amount of experience working within the transit system.

In an effort to ensure the drivers are well rested, the daily shuttle service is broken into two shifts: a morning shift and an evening shift. At approximately 3:00PM each day, a shift change occurs. It takes significant attention to detail to execute the shift change correctly. With over 75 vehicles on weekdays and 125 vehicles on weekends, there are 150 drivers on weekdays and 250 drivers on weekends who are taking part in the shift change. With over 20 years of experience operating the park-and-ride service, Lorenz staff are able to execute this change over while also ensuring continuity of service for the fairgoer.

Boots on the ground: Supervisors on site

The next time you’re at the Fair, you may notice Lorenz supervisors with two-way radios. They’re coordinating with drivers and Fair volunteers who are at each of the 30+ parking lots. As parking lots fill up, buses are switched from route to route to keep wait times minimal. Throughout the day, based on the Fair event schedule and lot capacity, buses may alternate between routes.

At the end of each day

When the sun goes down, the lights come on and the Minnesota State Fair continues to thrill people who’ve traveled from points near and far to ride the Giant Slide, listen to music, and enjoy a Pronto Pup.

When things finally wrap up for the evening, our drivers return buses to Lorenz. Each vehicle is cleaned, maintained, and parked for use the next day. Fuel levels and fluids are checked. Radios are recharged. People go home for some well-deserved rest.

That’s our transportation contribution to the Minnesota State Fair. We take great pride in what we do.

We hope to see you there!