FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — With so many options for food at the Minnesota State Fair it can be a bit overwhelming knowing where to begin. So knowing that your money goes back to a good cause may make the decision a little easier.
The Midway Men’s Club has spent years building a fair following.
“We are known for the coldest beer and the best cheeseburgers at the fair,” said Steve Gorman.
Yet good food and beverage are only part of the reason for their success.
“We pay for all the youth activities for like sports, for baseball,” Gorman said.
That cold beer will ultimately help make youth activities more accessible to all kids. Ninety percent of the proceeds raised at the fair go back to the community.
“We have three kids, a 17,16 and an 11-year-old so that’s nice to know,” said one fairgoer.
They are among a handful of food vendors whose business model is based on charitable giving.
“We’re all volunteers and Kiwanis is a service organization,” said Ron Zuercher.
Fairgoers can’t resist the $5 malts at the North Suburban Kiwanis Malt Shop.
“We serve chocolate, strawberry and vanilla malts,” Zuercher said.
This frozen treat has helped Kiwanis donate more than a million dollars to various organizations globally and locally over its 47 years.
“We also give, not only to children, but also children-related, like the Union Gospel Mission and Salvation Army,” Zuercher said.
While not every vendor can afford to give the majority of their earnings, charitable giving happens on the smaller scale at Sara’s Tipsy Pies.
“At the end of the year we look over our business and we give part of our proceeds from all the Finnegans pies to the Down Syndrome Association of Minnesota,” founder Sara Hayden said.
Two years in and Hayden’s donation total is already at $2500.
“We’ve been able to give as a new business,” she said.
Giving through fair foods at Minnesota’s great get-together.
These are just a few of the food vendors who donate to charity. The proceeds from most of the dining halls go to local church groups and Jonny Pops, the frozen smoothie on a stick, donates a portion of its earnings to the Hazelden Betty Ford Center.