Canvas Craft Inc. Otsego, MN

Project Details

Fabric 1

Soltis 86
Producer: Serge Ferrari North America Inc.
Supplier: Serge Ferrari North America Inc.

Engineer Name 1
Jared Reigstad

Engineer Company 1
Reigstad and Associates

Architect Name
Brian Tempas

Architect Company
Cunningham Group

Fabrication Name
Kevin Tutchenhagen

Fabrication Company
Canvas Craft Inc

Installation Company
McGough Construction

Please describe the project specifications

The Minnesota State Fair is the largest single annual event in Minnesota. In fact, it is the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance. The Minnesota State Fair is held 12 days prior to and including Labor Day. And in Minnesota, that means the dog-days of August. Some of the hottest and most humid days of the year. Why not crowd a couple hundred thousand people into a fairgrounds during that time? Yet, they come.

So the Fair was looking for cool, shaded places for people to gather when they build the new Heritage Square entrance and amphitheater in 2015. To help create shade for the hottest days of summer, they called our team. We provided a colorful, modern, dynamic shade sail canopy for the audience and stage at the Schilling Amphitheater. The blue and yellow fabric stretches tightly between an industrial maze of piping to provide shade yet allow air flow to the large stadium seating area below.

Aesthetics were very important to this project. The structure is supported by sturdy steel columns and beams that encircle, support and connect the structure from front to back. The colorful panels intertwine from gold to blue, trading place both horizontally and vertically as they intertwine. The result is a fun, light, shaded, brightly colored and dynamic area that is the cornerstone of the new Heritage Square addition.

We’re greatful to have partnered once again with the Minnesota State Fair on such a unique structure. While it’s obviously a stunning metal and fabric structure, we’re most proud of the shade it creates. After all, we helped shade over 300 seats, where over 70 performers entertain over the course of the fair. That could mean shading over 20,000 people each Great Minnesota Get Together. Now that’s one cool project.

What was the purpose of this project? What did the client request?

The State Fair challenged our team to create an outdoor structure that had the strength, durability, longevity of a permanent fixture with the ability to remove the fabric elements during the harsh Minnesota winters. The Main goal was to provide a landmark and gather space in the Heritage Square area that provides shade, comfort, aesthetics for the fair goers.

What is unique or complex about the project?

The 24 sails have 3 distinct coordinated colors and offer 3 different sizes and shapes up to 30' long. These fabric shade sails need to be carefully removed and replaced each season. The steel columns ranging in size from 8"-12" Dia had to be fabricated offsite then shipped and assembled onsite. The various connection points offered challenges to the fabrication team that would ultimately allow the sails to pass through each other giving dimension and depth.

What were the results of the project?

For a project that could be seen by over a million people who attend the state fair, the initial results were that attendees of events held at this stage arrived earlier and stayed longer after shows while enjoying the atmosphere created. In addition, People used this space as a landmark for meeting friends and family during the fair and state fair guests were able to take a few minutes to enjoy the show in the comfort of the shade. And maybe most obvious, the visual impact of the structure provides an aesthetic “pop” to the modern area of the Great Minnesota Get Together.

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