Originally published on Sept. 3, 2021By John Lauritsen

MINNEAPOLIS (WCCO) — One State Fair vendor has close to 700 employees. They also make about 3 million cookies a day. Sweet Martha’s is, year in and year out, the highest-earning food vendor at the State Fair.

“It’s just so much fun actually working in the booth and serving the Great Minnesota Get-Together, because customers are so happy to get the cookies,” owner Martha Rossini said.

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WCCO’s John Lauritsen decided to talk with one of the employees responsible for helping the booths move as many cookies as they do.

A software engineer by day, a Sweet Martha’s cookie filler during the State Fair, Rich Lydenne wears many hats. He said he works 11 of the 12 days at the fair, and sleeps on his one day off.

He works 16-hour days, and it takes him about 45 seconds to take an order and fill a bucket.

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Cookie casualties are not something Rich knows about. He fills fast and leaves no cookie behind.

“It’s definitely better than being in an office all day,” he said.

Lydenne is a valued Sweet Martha’s employee, as they all are. They are down about 100 workers this year, but still super busy, even with smaller crowds.

Rossini starts getting ready for the Fair in February; it’s a six-month process.

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John Lauritsen