Known as “The Great Minnesota Get-Together” the Minnesota State Fair is the largest 12-day event in North America, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. This year the State Fair will start on August 25 and run through Labor Day. It is held at the state fairgrounds, adjoining the Saint Paul campus of the University of Minnesota. The site is in the suburb of Falcon Heights, Minnesota, midway between the state’s capital city of St. Paul and the largest city, Minneapolis.
The Minnesota State Fair is famous for food-on-a-stick. More than 450 foods are available at the fair at over 300 food concession stands and over 60 types of food-on-a-stick. Among those foods-on-stick you can find the Pronto Pup (the MN State Fair version of a corn dog), Big Fat Bacon, key lime pie, hot dish, spaghetti & meatballs, and deep-fried pickles. Some of these items have a “cult” like following; others are just food oddities waiting to be discovered. Rest assured, you can graze the entire 320 acres of the fairgrounds all while eating various items on-a-stick.
Little Farm Hands
“Little Farm Hands at the Fair” is an agricultural education exhibit for kids. This exhibit teaches children ages 3-10 about the process of where our food comes from by teaching them about the planting and growing process all the way through purchasing food at the grocery store. The “farm” has mock up buildings where kids can plant crops, harvest eggs from chickens, milk cows, and drive tractors. At the end they “sell” their products at a farmers market for “cash” and have the chance to buy goods at the market also.
Doggies of the Wild West
One of the new attractions at the Minnesota State Fair this year is the “Doggies of the Wild West Show”. This show is a one of a kind western themed animal attraction put on by trainer Gary Noel. All the dogs in the show have been rescued by Noel from animal shelters around the country and trained by him to perform. The “Doggies of the Wild West Show” will be performed three times daily at 12, 3, and 6pm just East of Heritage Street.
State Fair Traditions
Something that all kids enjoy is a parade. Every day at 2 p.m., the State Fair Mall Parade features the high school marching band competition and follows a 14-block route beginning and ending south of Como Avenue. Included in the parade are floats, animal and specialty units, and visiting royalty from festivals throughout the state. In the evening, every night at 6 p.m. crowds converge at the Leinie Lodge Bandshell to witness an event almost as legendary as corn dogs and cotton candy. The annual Minnesota State Fair Amateur Talent Contest semifinals draw hundreds of fairgoers who grab a seat, and watch singers, cloggers and every type of performer in between compete for the right to be named Minnesota’s top talent.
Judy Grundstrom is Director of Business Development at Pixel Farm Digital in Minneapolis. You can read her personal work at JustJudyJudyJudy.com.