A day at the State Fair can be full of inconveniences. You wait in lines for the restroom, you wait in line for cheese curds, you lose your family, you find your family, you spill beer on yourself, someone spills beer on you.
By the time the grandstand show starts in the evening, you might be done with lines.
That's where the party decks come in.
New this year, the elevated decks (East and West) are at the height of the upper level of the main grandstand. They have private bathrooms, a private bar and a view of the stage from the east and west sides. It's standing room only, with bar-height tables for food and drinks.
The capacity is limited to 300 for each deck. And, according to Food and Beverage Manager Danielle Dullinger, the decks haven't been sold out for any of the shows so far.
There's a bit of a catch, though. The State Fair website warns, "Sightlines to video screens and stage are limited and portions of the stage will be blocked from view." The tickets cost more than a standard grandstand ticket. So, why would someone pay more? Is easy access to beer and bathrooms worth it?
We checked out the party deck during the Yung Gravy show. The grandstand was about three-quarters full, which gave us a good sample size.
Most important: The party deck restrooms are so much nicer to use than old grandstand ones — or a State Fair port-a-potty. Even better, there were no lines. The bars were so well-staffed with bartenders that lines were short, if there were lines at all.
And, surprisingly, the view was fairly unobstructed. We could easily see Yung Gravy from both party decks. The decks are farther away from the stage than many grandstand seats, however, and sightlines definitely aren't front-and-center.
They do boast strings of lights. And with the sun setting on a warm Minnesota night, it was a gorgeous place to enjoy the concert — and a late summer evening.
What about the party? During Yung Gravy's set, party deckers were politely dancing along the railings. But I could see a more groovy band getting things moving.
So, if you're the type of person who likes to pay for a better experience, this is definitely for you. If you're not? See you in the line for the bathroom.