By Megan Zemple

ST. PAUL, Minn. (KTTC) -- The Minnesota State Fair opened Thursday morning to large crowds and celebration.

People were already waiting outside the gates as the countdown to the 6 a.m. opening started.

This year will look a little different for fairgoers as they will be met with new metal detectors before they enter the fairgrounds. Facial coverings are being recommended, even for the outdoors, as per CDC guidelines.

Senators Amy Klobuchar and Tina Smith met with people as the fair opened and both mentioned being excited for the food and seeing people smile again.

Anna Euerle of Litchfield was crowned the 68th Princess Kay of the Milky Way Wed. night at the fairgrounds.

She will have her likeness carved into a 90 pound block of butter by sculptor Linda Christensen. Christensen has been sculpting Princess Kay and finalists for the past 50 years at the Minnesota State Fair.

Christensen is retiring after this year, and Minnesota Governor Tim Walz surprised her Thursday morning with a plaque commemorating her years of work. He declared Friday, Aug. 27 as "Linda Christensen Day" in Minnesota.

The Great Minnesota Get-Together runs Aug. 26-Sept. 6 this year.