Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Minnesota State Fair

When Pete and I moved to Minnesota twenty years ago with our then 4 month old daughter, Taylor, one of the first things we had to check out was the Minnesota State Fair. Nothing had prepared me for this event that we call "The Great Minnesota Get Together". I had been to other state fairs, but, besides the awesome cream puffs at the Wisconsin State Fair, I don't remember much from any of them. Most of them were made up of carnival rides, barkers for the yak woman, and games that seemed impossible to win. This fair was almost wholesome in comparison....and everyone went to it. Oh, there is a midway at this fair, with rides and maybe even the yak woman, but I don't know from that area. As you may have guessed, we go for the food.

The fish taco with mango salsa--our first food purchase--and the best of the day!

For many years, we had it down to a science. We always caught a special "fair bus" that would take us to and from the fair, thus avoiding the nasty traffic. Once there, the first food purchase was always a bucket of fresh french fries. Nowadays, we can find the fresh fries at Five Guys, so we went on the hunt for some new things. I had read about the fantastic fish tacos being sold in the food building, so that was the first stop we made. It was a huge taco--fried tilapia, shredded cabbage, cheese and mango salsa all wrapped up in a spinach tortilla. It was all sorts of wonderful.

Taylor and her boyfriend, Tyler, opted for some jalapeno poppers for their first stop.

Now, the state fair isn't all about just food. We have the required farm animals and 4H buildings (it amazes me what the 4H kids are into from an early age...talented bunch). We have machinery hill, with all of its farm equipment, and we have a fine arts building that houses the seed art, paintings and other artwork from some very talented Minnesotans. Then we have the unique.

I'm not sure if Spamville is exclusive to the Minnesota State Fair, but it would make sense since Spam is made in Austin, MN. Here we found all things Spam including, but not limited to, deep fried Spam curds. We did not try them.

And we have the traditional.

Here we listened to Eddie Blazonczyk's Versatones. If you look close, you can see some couples doing the polka in front.

I insisted on a burger with fried onions from our "usual" place. Unfortunately, I mixed up the place. So while I was eating this ho-hum burger, Pete was next door enjoying our usual burger, freshly grilled and much tastier. He allowed me a bite, but no picture.

Check out all of the men in line for the 1/4 pound bacon on a stick. We opted out of this one, too.

Here, a Minnesota gopher welcomes us to the fair.

 This place sold all things tie-dyed. The owner told me that earlier in the day, some young kid actually asked him if he sold rolling papers.

Of course we had to try fried potatoes of some kind. These fresh "chips" were to die for.

It's not the fair without at least one thing on a stick. These Pronto Pups were first served in 1947.

And we had to have some deep fried cheese curds.

Worth a second picture. :)

We split some ice cream made with liquid nitrogen.

And we had to have mini-donuts.

While Pete and I checked out the fine arts building, Taylor and Tyler played games on the midway.

The last stop of the day was to see the butter sculptures. Twelve young women were Princess Kay of the Milky Way finalists. They were sculpted in butter. Enough said.

And so, another state fair and another summer are done. It seemed like the very next day the furnace kicked in for the first time. Now the leaves are turning all sorts of beautiful colors and everyone is back to school and work. Autumn is my favorite time of year. What is yours?


  1. I love state fairs, especially the food. Looks like you had a great time.

  2. Cathy what a great blog! You know I still love and remember the good old Seymour Fair! Keep your blog going! I will continue to read and be full of pride because I graduated with you! Keep it up!

  3. Thanks, Kristen!

    Ok, WiscEisy, I'm trying to decipher who you are. :) Thanks much for the compliment. And for the record, nothing will ever compete with the Outagamie County Fair in Seymour. Heck--it's the home of the hamburger! My good friend Cheri and I used to do lunch dishes at her family's restaurant to earn our spending money for the fair. LOL Stay tuned. I have yet to do a Home of The Hamburger edition!

  4. GREAT post! I love all the fair food. I didn't know about Spamville - crazy! Looks like fun!!

  5. you had quite a day my friend! And the food looks amazing!

  6. Went to the Colorado State Fair. Had Rib Eye Steak on a stick, and the best Strawberry Ice Cream ever! And on a hot day, nothing beats a good handmade Limeade! There is a mid-way and carnival, but lots of other stuff also: PRCA Rodeo, concerts, 4-H exhibits, agricultural and animal exhibits, farm machinery, the usual vendor bldg., petting farm, farm animals for sale and auction, Fine Arts, Creative Arts, etc. Its a real adventure!

  7. Bjking--the Colorado State Fair sounds awesome! I need to visit some of these other fairs so I can do some good comparisons. LOL I could go for a Rib Eye Steak on a stick right now!

  8. Wow, Cathy, I think your Minnesota State Fair has the Outagamie one here at home beat! We don't have a Spamville, drat. Ice cream made with liquid nitrogen...another new one for me, but it sure looks delicious, dang cholesterol. All the food looks soooooo tempting, right when I vowed to start watching what I eat (and not just before I pop it in my mouth).

    I didn't even make it to the Seymour Fair this year, can you imagine? What is wrong with me? But there's always next year. Thanks for sharing your fair with me!