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Good Question: Reply All: State Fair History

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(credit: CBS) Heather Brown
Heather Brown loves to put her innate curiosity to work to answer yo...
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FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) – There’s so much history to the Great Minnesota Get-Together that we thought we’d let the fairgoers ask their Good Questions.

Stacey Foust wanted to know: How old is the Grandstand?

Built in 1909, the Grandstand is now 104 years old. According the Minnesota State Fair archivist, the original two-decked wooden Grandstand, built in 1885, was razed after the 1908 State Fair.

The current Grandstand, much larger than the original, was built in 1909 and was nicknamed “the house that Dan Patch built” because of the enormous crowds attracted to harness racing.

Kathy Sather asked: We know Dan Patch is a racehorse, but do the other street names mean something too?

Most are prominent Minnesotans from the late 1800s and early 1900s. David Marston Clough was the governor of Minnesota from 1895 to 1899. Colonel John H. Stevens was considered the father of agricultural fairs of in Minnesota. Benjamin Franklin Nelson was a Minneapolis city councilman who made his fortune in lumber.

Natalie Nelson wanted to know: What is the oldest food place at the Fair?

When it comes to vendors, the State Fair says it’s the Hamline Dining Hall, which was started by a small group of Hamline Church women in 1897. The oldest small vendor booth is Rainbow Ice Cream Cones. The Davis family started it in 1928 and still runs today.

Another fairgoer asked: Root beer was my favorite, blueberry was always delicious. Where did Rudy’s Milk go?

Senator Rudy Boschwitz ran a popular flavored milk stand at the fair for many years. WCCO Political Reporter Pat Kessler says the booth became too much for the former senator.

“People flocked to Rudy’s booth, but he’s no longer a U.S. Senator,” Kessler said. “It doesn’t have to go, but why would you spend your time doing something that costs a lot of money to be here at the State Fair? You can’t sell if you’re a candidate; you’re not going to make money out here, so why stay here?”

After Wisconsin Senator Herb Kohl retired from the U.S. Senate, he did continue his Superb Herb’s Milk House at the Wisconsin State Fair. This year, he partnered with the Milwaukee Bucks to continue serving the flavored milks.

Lindsay Borja asked: What is the average amount of money somebody spends at the fair?

According to the State Fair:

Admission: $10.09
Food/Drinks: $19.20
Retail: $10.38
Carnival/Midway/Kidway: $2.77
Grandstand $2.41
Other: $1.51

Grand Total: $46.46

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