FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. (WCCO) — For those of us that enjoy the peace and solace of the outdoors, the Great Minnesota Get-Together can be a cumbersome and busy experience. But fear not — there are still a few places around the State Fair where you can check out the latest camping, hiking and fishing gear, and find new places to explore.
JM Cremp’s The Boys Adventure Store
Fair Location: Grandstand upper level, east section
If you’re bringing kids to the fair, this new fan favorite is a must-stop for families that love to hike, camp, fish and backpack. The booth holds all sorts of gadgets, tools and books for kids who stay outside all summer. You’ll find kid-friendly pocket knives, model airplanes, outdoor gadgets and even kid-oriented field guides to all the plants and animals in your backyard.
JM Cremp’s even earned a slot in the fair’s “2015 Best Awards,” for Best Product or Service. You can find JM Cremp’s year-round at the Mall of America, or at their storefront in St. Cloud.
Catch It! Outdoors
Fair Location: Dairy Building, north-center aisles
A small operation, to be sure, but Minnesota fisherman should go out of their way to hit this booth during their day at the fair. It’s owned and run by Brad Yaritz, who pointed out several locally-made gadgets that could prove quite handy for a day on the lake.
First is the Fillet Maker — a small, plastic bin that serves as a perfect workspace to capture the mess of filleting your catch of the day before throwing it on the grill.
Yaritz says the booth’s rod retainer is a local product as well — made by an Anoka County Sheriff’s officer. The plastic fishing rod rack could fit perfectly around a dock post on your lake house, or under the leg of a chair on the boat. It’s a great way to fish multiple rods at once, or keep your rods organized.
Bring a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book for 30 percent off the rod retainer, which normally costs $30.
Hi Tempo Kayaks and Sailboats
Fair Location: Dairy Building, south-center aisle
Sometimes when browsing some of the fair’s many vendor booths and exhibits, you find huge vehicles and products that would require throwing down a sizable chunk of cash — too sizable for an impulse buy at the State Fair. Yet sometimes a deal will drop by that seems too good to pass up, and you can better understand why someone might be willing to whip out their credit cards.
Such is the situation at Hi Tempo, where a special deal at the State Fair offers $300 off your purchase — a not-insignificant amount on a small kayak or sailboat. Stop by their booth in the Dairy Building to see a few nice Hobies, or swing by their store in White Bear Lake for a larger selection.
Cabela’s The North Woods
Fair Location: Cooper Street, between Lee and Randall Avenues on the east side
One of the obvious spots for outdoor enthusiasts at the fair, the North Woods has activities and vendors for everyone.
For kids, a great place to start is the Boy Scouts’ booth, where a small ropes course is available for kids who aren’t too afraid of heights.
Another must-see show for families is the Timberworks Lumberjack Show, which runs every day at 12:00, 3:00, 5:30 and 7:00 p.m. Watch professional lumberjacks and lumberjills hack wood, log roll, speed-climb, and carve wood sculptures. Look out for a few cheesy jokes along the way, to keep everyone engaged. And be ready to cheer for your team!
The Cabela’s booth, on the other hand, leaves much to be desired. While there are a few great deals to be had, those of us more interested in browsing than buying only had a few boats and trucks to check out.
In the meantime, you’re better off browsing at your local Cabela’s, but stop by the fair booth to get a few coupons while you’re around.
The Department of Natural Resources Building
Fair Location: On Carnes Avenue, just across from the WCCO Booth.
The DNR Building is the obvious and best choice for anyone looking to get a taste of the wilderness while squeezing through crowds of fair goers on a hot, summer day. It’s the best spot to find information on Minnesota’s many amazing land and water trails, and to learn something about many of our state’s native fauna, flower and wildlife species.
If you’re looking to cool down, head inside for an up-close look at some of Minnesota’s native fish species in the aquarium, or check out the wildlife exhibit. It’s the only place at this year’s fair where you’ll be able to see a turkey (stuffed turkeys, that is).
The park and fish pond out back are a great place to relax and watch the fish swim, or stop and smell some of Minnesota’s most beautiful prairie flowers.
At the end of the day, climb the DNR’s fire tower to get some of the best views of the fairgrounds.