Thursday August 25th is the start of most likely, Minnesota’s biggest event of the year – the State Fair which runs through Labor Day! Is this your first time to the fair or do you go often but can never remember where your favorite things are located??? This year they have a free smart phone app that will direct you exactly to the place you are looking for. Search for food items, crafts, livestock, you name it and it will find it for you. Click here to get the app. Up until midnight on the 24th there are several places where you can purchase fair tickets at a discount, check the state fair site for more information. If you are too late this year, every year discount tickets are offered at various places up to the day before fair start
One of the biggest challenges is how to get to the fair with some 1.7 million people, limited parking and massive traffic. If you arrive early, you can usually find a parking spot but the fair prefers that you use public transportation and to help encourage this option, there are special park and ride set ups all around the metro (free round trip service) as well as service from selected mall parking lots ($5 round trip) that will take you by express bus right to the fair and back. These buses run every 15 minutes to half hour from 8 am to midnight which makes it a simple option! Another fun and free way to get to the fair is by bicycle – also a great way to burn off some of those calories from all the food on a stick you will be eating!
One of the main attractions every year is the food – everything from foot long hot dogs to pronto pups to fried cheese curds to Sweet Martha’s Cookies to mini donuts. The trend these days is to see what you can actually get to “stick” on a stick and sell that. This year there are well over a dozen new additions to the food selection – including a Breakfast Lollipop, chocolate covered jalapeno peppers pretzel dogs and sweet corn ice cream. After attending the fair a few times you will figure out what you really enjoy eating and go back every year for more and occasionally try something new.
One of the oldest attractions at the fair turns 98 this year and has finally gotten a new makeover – the Ye Old Mill ride. For some this ride may be a bit old fashioned and corny but it is something you have to try! The giant slide is another place that has been around forever that you can’t pass up! A big hit with the little ones is the Little Farm Hands exhibit which is a hands on agriculture experience for children and little boys love machinery hill where they can climb on and sit in the big farm machinery. The new hit attraction this year is a giant sing along field which means Karaoke for some 30+ people at a time with computer programs that fix up the voices so no one is way off key. Should be interesting!
There is also the dairy building with excellent ice cold all you can drink milk, ice cream and malts – a real winner on a hot day! Here you can see the famous carving of the heads of Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her runner ups. These poor beauties sit in the freezer showcase while it slowly spins around and the artist carves out a bust of each one – a definite fair highlight! This may be a clue that we live in the agricultural Midwest!
It would not be a State Fair without out all the livestock, 4-H exhibits, canning and baking contests and exhibits as well as machinery and home and hobby exhibits and much more. You can purchase many products at the fair at a discount as well so if you are looking for a new water softener, sewing machine or lawn mower this may be a good deal for you! The television and radio stations all have booths with many free give aways and the chance to appear on a live broadcast.
Another major attraction at the fair is the Midway – the carnival section which features all the games and rides you can imagine. This is especially popular in the evenings when it is all lit up.
The Grandstand always has several good acts booked. This year a couple of the shows will be Reba McEntire and Steely Dan.
If you find that walking the fair is just too much for you there are scooter chairs available for rent as well as the sky ride gondolas and sky glider chair lift that take you from side to side of the fair grounds for a fee.
Make sure you don’t miss the fair – it is really a Minnesota experience everyone needs to have!!!