It’s almost time for the MN State Fair! Can you smell the cheese curds yet? I know some that don’t understand the love, or the need to go every single year. They think it is the same thing every year. That’s like never going into a Target again because you’ve seen it all. Trust me, there is always something new to discover. If you are hesitant to go again, here are the reasons I keep going back.
Top 5 Reasons to Visit the MN State Fair
See the largest and the smallest animals in one place. Start out with the U of M’s Miracle of Birth Barn. This place gets insanely busy so get there early. I am partial to sticking to the side with all the new babies. They have cows, sheep, goats, pigs, chicks and my personal favorite the ducks. Many times volunteers will hold them so you can get a closer look and sometimes get a pet in. If you are interested in seeing the miracle happen live, they have a viewing area and video screens showing an animal giving birth.
After seeing the smallest animal, head over to the different animal booths. Onsite you will see the prize winning varieties in the different categories. Everyone’s favorite is always the biggest pig. Watch your step as you navigate around this part of the fair. They are good at cleaning up after animals, but you never know what is fresh.
The best entertainment is found at Lennie Lodge. They have good acts running all day long with a bigger act at the end of the night. One of the best parts is the bands will stick around after sometimes to sign their merchandise. The venue seats up to 3,000 people with room for another 2,000 visitors to stand behind. It’s very intimate.
If you want to see a headliner, the grandstand is where to go. They always have amazing acts each night. My family got so into it one year we went to 7 shows. It was a crazy time. After the show, sit back in your chair and watch the fireworks.
3. Shopping – Great Deals
Most of the merchandise area, you’ll find salesperson pitching they’re As Seen On TV wears. This can be a lot of fun watching the demonstrations and seeing what kind of additional deals you can get. My husband and I have a rule on this one. If you see something you like, tell the other person. Next year, if you can find it again and still want it, go for it. If you can’t find it, it’s not meant to be. It helps us with the impulse buys.
Now if you are looking for something unique or custom made, there are a few places to check out. I always start at the International Bazar. It is located on the south side of Judson Ave between Underwood and Cooper Street. You’ll find international themed merchandise, food, and music. The newest shopping location is West End Market. They recently re-did the venue and have a bunch of one of kind items. Like upcycled, candles and home décor made from factory parts.
4. Games and Rides
The Midway and Kidway hold most of the rides and games. For the little ones, the Kidway is open at 9 am and runs until 10:30. The Midway opens at 10 am and is open until Midnight except for Labor Day when they close at 11 pm. Once the sun goes down, everyone at the fair migrates towards it. Just follow the bright lights and giant stuff animals. Oh, and I forgot to mention that they added a new attraction a 156 foot tall Ferris wheel. The tallest in North America.
Some of my favorite rides are not in the midways. The Space Tower is always a tradition in our family and my kid’s favorite has to be the Giant Slide. Keep your eyes out, and you’ll stumble into something fun.
What is the MN State Fair, without some food? I’ve planned my entire trip to the fair around the food booths before. My personal favorites have to be the Dairy Booth’s strawberry sundaes. I also love The Perfect Pickles fried pickle chips. Stick with the Perfect Pickle if you are just starting out. I know pickles and ice-cream may sound a little odd, but they are on opposite sides of the fair. I wouldn’t eat them together. My husband’s favorite is the Pork Chop on a Stick.
Each year they come out with new foods too, which is another reason why I love the fair. Last year, I fell in love with the Minnesota Dog. They use a custom ground sausage, blueberries, apples, wild rice, maple syrup and cayenne, dipped in a corn dog batter and deep-fried. It sounds like a lot going on, but trust me when I say it was amazing. This year I’m dying to try the Mini Sconuts. A buttermilk scone, filled with chocolate, marshmallow, and Nutella, deep-fried and topped with powdered sugar. They are at the French Meadow Bakery and Café. I got the opportunity to try out some of the other new foods. 2017 List of New Foods at the Minnesota State Fair
I am just scratching the surface of the excitement that the MN State Fair brings to my family each year. There is so much more to uncover in each of the different buildings and pavilions. Whatever your reason for going, make sure to bring a stroller for the kiddo’s and cover them in sunscreen. If you are like me and forget it, stop by the information booth and use theirs! You are bound to have a great time.