Metro Transit will operate round-trip express service to the State Fair for $6 from park-and-ride lots in Minnetonka, Bloomington and Cottage Grove this year. Credit: Star Tribune

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This story comes to you from the Star Tribune, through a partnership with Sahan Journal.

The Minnesota State Fair begins Thursday, and as many as 2 million people will pass through the gates by the time the event wraps up on Sept. 5, Labor Day.

For 12 days, the fairgrounds in Falcon Heights will be alive with stage shows, exhibits, carnival rides, parades, concerts and, of course, all the foods on a stick.

To take it all in, you first have to get there. Here’s how, whether you drive, bus, roll, walk, or bike.

By car

The fair has on-site parking lots on the south side of Como Avenue, off Hoyt Avenue on the north end of the fairgrounds, near the transit station and just outside the North End on Dan Elmer Way. Leaving your car in one of those prime spots will cost you $17, and fair officials warn they fill quickly. Lots are open 6 a.m. to 11 p.m. daily, except Labor Day when they close at 9 p.m.

Off-site parking

The fair will operate 29 free park-and-ride lots at nearby churches, businesses and schools, with the largest availability at the University of Minnesota near Huntington Bank Stadium. Buses will shuttle fairgoers to the gates and back from 8 a.m. to 11 p.m. (9 p.m. on Labor Day) at no cost.

Ride share or taxi

Uber and Lyft will pick up and drop off fairgoers at Gate 2 near Snelling and Hoyt avenues on the north end, and across from Gate 7 near the Dairy Building on Como Avenue on the south end.

Taxi drop-off and pick-up is located by Gate 9 on Como Avenue on the south side of the fairgrounds.

Express Bus

Metro Transit will operate round-trip express service for $6 from the park-and-ride lots at I-394 and County Road 73 in Minnetonka, the 30th Avenue Station in Bloomington and in Cottage Grove on W. Point Douglas Road between 80th St. and Jamaica Avenue. Trips will run every 30 minutes starting at 9 a.m. on weekdays and 8 a.m. on weekends. Last bus leaves at midnight, except Labor Day when service ends at 10 p.m.

Southwest Transit will run buses Thursday through Sunday and Sept. 1-4 from SouthWest Station in Eden Prairie, SouthWest Village in Chanhassen and East Creek Station in Chaska. Service will operate about every 15 minutes from 7 a.m to 11 p.m. Cost is $6.

Minnesota Valley Transit Authority (MVTA) will run daily service from the Burnsville Transit Station, the Eagan Transit Station and the Southbridge Crossings Park and Ride at 1401 Crossing Boulevard in Shakopee. Service begins at 7 a.m. daily in Burnsville, and 10 a.m. weekdays and 8 a.m. weekends and Labor Day in Eagan and Shakopee. Return service runs from noon to 11:30 p.m. daily at all locations. Cost is $6.

Bikes and scooters

Free parking is available to those arriving on non-licensed bicycles and scooters. Lots are near Gate 6 on Como Avenue, Gate 2 on the north end and Gate 16 on Randall Avenue on the west side.

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Tim Harlow is a traffic and transportation reporter for the Star Tribune. He also covers breaking news.