Minnesotans thrilled to welcome yet another major sporting event to town

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The anticipation is over as the Final Four action at U.S. Bank Stadium is underway in Minneapolis.

The event is one of several major sporting spectacles to come to the Twin Cities in recent years, including a Super Bowl 14 months ago.

Saturday, temperatures were about 50 degrees warmer than they were in February 2018 for the Super Bowl.

This time, however, the Twin Cities were invaded by fans of four different teams that were whittled down from 68.

In the Minneapolis Convention Center lobby, the line to get into Fan Fest moved quickly, which was good because it stretched hundreds of feet and hundreds of people, wrapping around three hallways.

“This has been going on since 10 a.m. when we opened Fan Fest today and it’s amazing that we have a turnout and we’re loving it,” said Kristen Montag, of Meet Minneapolis. “It’s exactly what we want to see.”

For Logan Weeres, of Becker, having the game at home is special.

“Oh it’s awesome, it’s amazing,” he said. “It’s just fun to have it in Minnesota where it’s close and we don’t have to travel very far.”

For Minnesotans who had hopes for the University of Minnesota making an appearance, they knew it was a long shot. Still, it’s a big deal just to host the event.

There are a huge number of basketball fans in the state, despite it being called the state of hockey.

In some cases, Minnesotans are fans of the Final Four teams, including Sean and Angela O’Leary, of East Grand Forks who are originally from Lubbock, Texas.

The O’Learys were wading through a sea of people at the Convention Center Saturday and were thrilled to do it.

Angela O’Leary went to Texas Tech before moving to Minnesota and now her team has come home.

“I had to come,” she said. “Everybody at work said, ‘You have to go.’ My team won. I haven’t been around my fans since 1993.”