In an effort to ease congestion and facilitate pre-fair preparations, vehicle access will again be restricted on the fairgrounds beginning three days before the start of the 2000 Iowa State Fair, Aug. 10 to 20.

Fair fans eager for a sneak preview will be allowed access to the fairgrounds Monday to Wednesday, Aug. 7 to 9; however, their vehicles won't . Free public parking will be available in the fair's north lot, while gates will be open for walk-in traffic only. No admission will be charged on these days. Only vehicles belonging to vendors, exhibitors and media with proper gate credentials will be permitted on the inner grounds.

During that time some food and beverage vendors will be open for business, but no beer or wine cooler sales will be allowed after 7 p.m., Wednesday, Aug. 9, until the fair opens Thursday.

Officials say, last year, both measures succeeded in increasing public safety, as well as helping vendors and exhibitors in set-up preparations.

"We again welcome the pre-fair enthusiast," said Fair Manager Marion Lucas, "but must minimize the traffic and inner grounds gridlock."

For the latest fair information, "zero in" on or call 800-545-FAIR.

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