Home News State Fair of Minnesota: A Novice Complete Information

State Fair of Minnesota: A Novice Complete Information


The Minnesota State Fair is a must-see for anyone moving to Minneapolis in July Locals love to talk about the 80+ different foods served on sticks, and the beauty queens who were sculpted in butter blocks that weigh 90 pounds, giant Ferris wheels, and 1,450-pound swine.

They will urge you (or better still, compell) to see the Llama Costume Contest. To avoid the Kidway, whatever it is, to wear comfortable shoes. To take the SkyGlider chairlift rather than the Skyride for better photos. And to bring along a trusted guide.

I was a new resident, and I attended the fair for the first time. I appreciated the advice, even though I didn’t always follow it.

I spent seven hours alone wandering the fairgrounds on Thursday with 122,694 other people. The Minnesota State Fair, which is the largest state fair in America by daily attendance, broke the record for most people to attend the opening day. A personal record was broken for the most junk food eaten in one day.

Minnesota state fair: Butter is all in the eyes of the beholder

minnesota state fair

It was advised that I dress appropriately for the heat and humidity. A friend described it as “the Mall of America”. “But sweaty.”

You can see why the butter sculptures of beauty queens are so remarkable in the heat — they would not last very long outside the Dairy Building’s 40-degree cooling.

The finalists of the Princess Kay contest on Milky Way (a pageant for women who work or live on dairy farms), sit there for six to eight hours while Linda Christensen carves their likeness. Linda Christensen has been carving at the fair since 1972.

Rebekka Paskewitz was a finalist in this competition. She smiled with braces while she sat down for her sculpture and then waved to her adoring fans. Two of her cousins were Princess Kay finalists in the past.

The family also planned to photograph the pageant queens and their sculptures after the fair. The family must have plenty of freezer space.

The Minnesota State Fair has many other competitions, including dairy pageants. At the Timberworks Lumberjack Show, I saw buff men dressed in plaid participating in events such as the speed climb, the ax throw and the springboard chop.

The Giant Pumpkin Contest’s winner, who weighed 1,108 lbs, and the Christmas tree No. 14 was a favorite because of its needle retention, scent, and conifer shape. I watched fairgoers slide down a rainbow-colored Giant Slide that was 170-foot long.

Some traditions can be difficult to digest.

It wasn’t just fun and games. I expected to find something positive when I entered the CHS Miracle of Birth Center. I was disappointed. Instead, I discovered…

A sow was in the process of giving birth to a litter of piglets. A man used a forceps-like tool in order to remove a stuck piglet, while the crowd waited with bated breath under the bleachers.

The one piglet that survived was bloodied but made it out alive. The next one, however, was stillborn and was immediately taken away in a plastic bag. The only thing that saved me was the little boy who asked about the piglet in labor “Why aren’t we looking at the butt?”

Looking for something lighter, I booked a round-trip SkyGlider ticket and took the 360-degree Sky Flyer swing riding ride. I was able to enjoy half an hour peace and a bird’s-eye view over all the food at the fairgrounds.

I couldn’t eat the Twinkies deep-fried.

Minnesota state fair: As I understand it now, the real point of the fair is to eat all day.

I started with a Pronto Pup, which is a corn dog with pancake batter. Then, I moved on to Mouth Trap cheese cuds, deep-fried apple pie with cinnamon ice-cream; a frozen apple juice push-pop; fresh squeezed lemonade; then to a First Kiss Apple, which is a new variety from the University of Minnesota. It’s similar to Honeycrisp and ripens one month earlier.

The corn on the cob was not available to me due to the fact that it required advance tickets, but I couldn’t leave without Sweet Martha’s chocolate-chip cookies. They sell a million cookies each day and distribute them at three locations using large plastic tubs.

Before I went to the fair, one of my best tips was to save Sweet Martha’s for the end. It holds almost four dozen cookies, and it isn’t easy to transport throughout the day. With a full stomach and sore feet I decided to join a 45-minute wait line for baked goods.

One point I heard a young boy shout exactly what we were all feeling. “I just want cookies and go home!” It was a long day for everyone, including the butter models, ride engineers, butter modellers, the sow, corn dog fryers, and cookie bakers. After Sweet Martha’s had given me my bucket, I returned home to digest and rest.


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