Great Minnesosota Get Together
Last Weekend to Catch the Fair
By Shannon Butler
We Minnesotans, don’t like to brag, but that doesn’t mean we don’t have anything to about. We have our beautiful lakes, parks, wilderness and farmland. We are the birthplace of innovative companies, and world class healthcare. We are also the home of Minnesota Nice, and the Great Minnesota Get Together, our very own Minnesota Stat Fair. Did you know, the Minnesota State Fair is the 2nd largest state fair in the US by attendance (2 million visitors), behind the Texas State Fair (2.25 million) and #1 for daily attendance? Pretty impressive given the population of Texas is five times larger with a fair which runs twice as many days.
With live music and entertainment, 270 food vendors, daily parades, rides, games, artists, crafts, vendors, animals, crop art, competitions and health and educational opportunities, our fair something for everyone.
Nearly every year a dear friend and I make plans to attend The Fair. We arrive early and make a day of it, enjoying new foods and our perennial favorites (honey Ice cream at the Agriculture Building). We take in live music or a show on one of the many stages around the fairgrounds. We visit animals, tour the Fine Arts 4H, Eco and Creative Activities buildings then make our way to peruse the booths at the Grandstand. Afterwards we stop by the Cream of the Crop Artist Gallery on our way to the Shilling Stage for some live music. We never miss the crop art, the giant pumpkins, and the floral competitions. It is a full day of fun. As we head into the Labor Day Weekend, a popular time to attend, I figured it would be a good time to share my favorite tips to make your day at The Fair run smoothly.
Before you go:
Visit www.mnstatefair.org/ to find new foods, maps, live music and entertainment schedules.
Check the weather forecast, and plan accordingly.
Among my “don’t forget” items: sunscreen, sunglasses, (or umbrella), lip balm, water bottle, comfortable shoes, a fully charged phone, a travel pack of hand wipes, an appetite, and a bit of patience.
Explore all The Fair has to offer. Visit something you haven’t seen before.
Try a new food, each year the fair highlights the new foods on their website to make them easy to find.
Take breaks-especially if attending with children or elders. I like to grab a bit to eat then sit down to watch a show. By the time the concert of show is over, I feel rested and ready to continue exploring the fair.
If you like to shop, sample a variety of food or go on lots of rides, you may purchase a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book for $5. To see a list of the coupons available, visit: https://assets.mnstatefair.org/pdf/22-brbb-coupons.pdf
Stay hydrated. Have fun.
My number one pro tip for having an enjoyable day? Take transit if you can. Years ago, I used to drive to the Fair, wait in line to pay to park, or loop surrounding neighborhoods to find street parking, then make the long trek to the gates. These days, I start the day our right… I go to my nearest park and ride, (stand in line) hop on the express bus and arrive right at the gate, refreshed and ready to explore The Fair.