Minnesota State Fair, Saint Paul
The annual Minnesota State Fair is one of the best state fairs in the country (second only to New York's). For 12 days each summer a million and a half plus people turn out to enjoy the rides, exhibits, and of course, all the food!
Some things that we/I particularly enjoyed:
Miracle of Birth Center - goats, cows, and pigs that had either just given birth or were about to. You can watch previous births on video screens or live if you were there at the right time. You can also pet the newborns.
Horticulture Exhibit Hall - Lots of colorful flowers and interesting plants. But what was more interesting were all the prize winning vegetables. Rows and rows of eggplants, tomatoes, beans, potatoes, etc. with their winning ribbons attached. What I liked most were the “largest” – the largest tomato, potato, and of course, pumpkin (at over 1,000 pounds).
“Crop” or Seed Art – pictures made from seeds. Some actually quite good, some subjects
a little odd, some very current. In the same building were various scarecrows – everything from a Statue of Liberty scarecrow to Lucy & Ricky scarecrows to a Lady Gaga scarecrow! Very creative stuff.
Creative Activities Building - lots of handmade quilts, clothes, etc. But what I loved were the rows and rows of baked goods. Prize winning cakes, cookies, breads, muffins, etc. Lots of jams and pickles as well. But the best? A hand knitted sweater for chickens! Seriously.
Sheep Building - rows and rows of sheep in pens waiting to be judged. They were
absolutely adorable. We watched some of them being groomed and laughed at the ones that had little coats on – to prevent them from getting dirty after being groomed. They looked like some creatures out of Star Wars with just their eyes, ears, and nose visible.
There were so many other things that we did and saw - a fun parade, an international
marketplace, lots of John Deere tractors, a woman sculpting in butter, etc., etc.!
Foods available included: camel on a stick, deep fried twinkie, beer battered deep fried cheese curds, deep fried candy bars, pork chops on a stick, along with the"normal" pizza, burgers, fries, cotton candy, etc., etc. You won't leave hungry!
Be sure to get a map of the fairgrounds and plan out your visit. The grounds are huge and it is unlikely that you will be able to see everything in a day, even a very long day!
Tickets were $11 but there are alot of special offers so be sure to check the website and I'd definitely recommend buying your tickets online to avoid the long lines.
The MN State Fair is so much fun! Adults and kids alike just love everything that this fair has to offer--especially all the food "on a stick." There are so many different foods to try, from chocolate covered bacon (on a stick), fried Snickers bars (on a stick), alligator (on a stick), pork chop (on a stick), etc. etc. Though the tried and true remain the most popular--cheese curds, garlic fries, pronto pups, and mini donuts.
As with all state fairs, there are rides and games in the huge midway area. There is also a separate Kidway for the younger kids (ages 0-6). The rides are a bit of a rip-off, but you've got to go on a couple--just to say you did it! There is also the GIANT SLIDE, which is so much fun! There's also bungee jumping, the rip-cord, sling shot, and other thrilling rides for the older "kids."
There are so many exhibits at this fair! It's next to impossible to see them all. One of my kids' favorite things to do is to see all the baby farm animals that have just been born at the Miracle of Birth Center. They also like to see and pet all the sheep in the sheep and poultry barn. (Don't recommend trying to pet the chickens though!) Horse shows and rodeos are abundant. Another favorite is the Little Farm Hands exhibit, which allows little ones (ages 1-6) to become a "farmer". The kids get to "feed" chickens (fake ones), collect eggs, "plant" seeds, "grow" produce, "drive" a tractor, "milk" a cow (again--fake), and then trade their wares into the "store" for either a small box of General Mills cereal or an apple. It's really cute and the kids love it.
There are 9 music stages, the largest being the Grandstand, where only the "big names" play. Big names such as Bon Jovi, Rascal Flatts, Poison, and others have come through. Tickets for the Grandstand shows can be purchased through Ticketmaster, but the other stages are free. Every night there's a fireworks display--and it's actually pretty good.
The fair runs for 12 days--at the end of August, always ending on Labor Day. For more specifics, check out the link below around June/July.
It's loud, hot, crowded, dusty, sort of stinky and you just gotta love it. It's 12 days of artery-clogging, people-watching heaven and you must see it ALL or it doesn't count. Yes, that includes checking out the latest in air-conditioned, VCR- equipped combines on Machinery Hill. Among the highlights are the state's biggest boar, the head of the current Princess Kay of the Milky Way - carved completely out of butter - and counting how many "on a stick" edibles are available this year (I think there were 59 in 2006). It's a hoot.
The Great Minnesota Get-Together is at the fairgrounds in St. Paul, starts on a Thursday and runs for the 12 days before and during Labor Day. See the website for ticket prices, times, maps, daily entertainment, etc.
If at all possible, come to Minnesota late August and go to the state fair. It's one of the best state fair's in the country, no doubt!
Lots of agricultural, technological, cultural, culinary, musical, and recreational activities. However, be warned. You'll get all kinds of foods 'on-a-stick,' and none will be low in calories!
One of the nation's largest state fair's in the country. For 12 days during the end of August through Labor Day. Awesome entertainment, six stages, so much to do, its like its own little town!! And this, you can 25 different food items on a stick!! But, you gotta have a Pronto Pup!
It's one of the largest State Fair's in the nation and Minnesotans take it seriously. There's a huge variety of food, booths, animals, carnival rides, free concerts, and general people watching.