MINNEAPOLIS (GopherSports.com) - For 11 months of the year, Craig Flor spends his days overseeing 3M Arena at Mariucci and Ridder Arena - maintaining two of the top facilities in college hockey.
But his summer "vacation" is no less interesting.
For 28 years, Flor has helped some of the biggest acts in the world put on shows at the Minnesota State Fair Grandstand including his current role as Operations Manager for the venue.
We caught up with Flor earlier this week during the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
GopherSports.com: How did you get involved with the Grandstand at the Minnesota State Fair?
Flor: Twenty-eight years ago, my high school swimming coach asked me if I was available and interested in making some money for two weeks of work. We swept floors, we pushed boxes - all kinds of maintenance type projects that need to be done for an event of this size. It's all evolved since then. Now it's very similar to what I do at our facilities on campus - pretty much take care of whatever needs to be done and try to have a good time doing it.
GopherSports.com: What's your typical day like here at the State Fair?
Flor: I normally get to work around eight or nine in the morning - making sure the cleanup crew has taken care of everything from the night before. Then we start preparing for the next act - making sure everything is set up per the artist's requests. We have a great staff here who takes care of all of our acts - from getting them to where they need to be to our security team making sure the right people are here when they need to be. As the shows get closer, it's kind of a mixed bag of everything...making sure everyone is ready for show time - ushers, ticket takers, concession workers - and doing our best to make sure the show goes off without a hitch.
GopherSports.com: Do you have a couple performances that stand out as your favorites over the years?
Flor: I always enjoy the spectacles of the Def Leppard shows and the Kiss shows that we've seen here over the years. They've been awesome. But one of my all-time favorites was when we had Martina McBride with a 60-piece orchestra behind her. That was an incredible show, and we had a perfect night for it.
GopherSports.com: Have you ever been surprised while interacting with an artist or band?
Flor: One of our better stories was when Ringo Starr came through, and we picked them up at the airport. We had two vans and a town car, and after we got them loaded up, Ringo hopped in the passenger seat of a van and was the nicest guy you'll ever meet. Our runner was starstruck. We've usually found that the bigger the act is or the longer they've been around, the nicer they are. Most acts are actually super cool and just want to put on a great show for the fans.
GopherSports.com: What's on deck for you after the State Fair? Do you get a break before hockey starts?
Flor: Nope, I'll be out of here at about two or three in the morning on Labor Day, and I'll be back on campus the next morning to get ready for Gopher Hockey!
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