The Minnesota State Fair–aka the Great Minnesota Get Together–is the largest (and of course best, IMO) fair in the country. Nearly 2 million people attend its 12 days–that’s almost half the population of MN! We love our fair, which is equally about our ag heritage as it is about “fun”–in the form of unique and overindulgent foods, art and creative activities and entertainment like Stevie Nicks, Garrison Keillor and John Mellancamp. To give you an idea of the scale, some of the food vendors do nothing else because they make an entire year’s income in 12 days!
I’m not the average fairgoer (best summer job ever–working in PR at the fair! I met fantastic people, from pig farmers to Tim McGraw)…here are some highlights from this year’s trip:
These are the “have to” get every year:
- Pronto pup (no, this is NOT a corn dog. It’s made with regular flour batter, making it lighter). Mustard only!
- Chocolate malts from the Dairy Barn or Kiwanis booth
- Roasted corn on the cob
- Fresh french fries (watch them peel potatoes!)
- Mini donuts (preferably before a ride on the world’s oldest tunnel of love, Ye Old Mill)
- Cheese curds (must be shared)
- Sweet Martha’s bucket of cookies, accompanied by the all-the-milk-you-can-drink stand
- Fried pickles with ranch (trust me)
- Creative Activities winners. From home cook food entries to gorgeous quilts and woodworking, it’s inspiring. Maybe I will enter my snickerdoodles next year
- Fine Arts show, which gets better every year! I always find 2-3 artists to check out
- Animal barns, we happened to arrive as the 6-horse hitch was getting prepped. Wow, draft horses are amazing! Biggest boar weighing in over 1,000 lbs, I always find the llamas interesting too, along with handlers–interesting people to talk to in the barns passionate about their animals
- DNR, the fish pond is stocked with rare to find species like the paddlefish
- Crop art. It’s somewhere between kitschy and incredible for its meticulous detail. A Prince tribute section caught my eye.
- Scarecrow contest (make America grate!) and display of vintage seed bags so cool! Grab a craft beer, hard cider or view wine winners in the Ag building.
And because no trip to the Fair should ever not include something new:
Nitro cold press and blueberry corn creme eclair, yum!! Can’t wait til next year! The official end of summer…