The State Fair Experience

A few years ago, my friend Crystal and I volunteered for an early morning shift at the MPR booth at the MN State Fair. Then we spent the afternoon wandering around and Crystal showed me some of the fun I wasn’t previously aware of.

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So now I’m sort of obsessed. I joined my sister, bro-in-law, and niece the year after that experience and last year I went with my team from tena.cious. This year I was hoping that I could finally convince Jason to go with me, but he chose an alternate “date” option I supplied. (Why did I provide a choice?!) After whining for a couple days and asking a few other friends who might be fun to attend with, my sister took pity on me again and decided to head to the fair with her family and me on the first Sunday afternoon.

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My preference would be to attend on a weekday — and especially in the earlier hours of the day — but this year I didn’t have enough time off from my job to have that luxury. It’s definitely less crazy and crowded during the weekday mornings which means it’s a little easier to stroll around casually… versus constantly playing State Fair Frogger (trying to get from one side of a street to another through moving crowds is a challenge).

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Prize-winning bouquets caught my eye in Agriculture & Horticulture building. I’m so super obsessed with flowers this summer. #landscapinggoals But there is always a ton of interesting art and creations in that building. (Plus, that’s where the craft beer flights are, though I passed on those this year.)

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Our first (shared) food this year? Honey ice cream. We got the plain kind, but there was also raspberry or peanut butter flavors.

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Hot debate: corn dog or Pronto Pup? At the fair, I go for the Pronto Pup simply because it’s the only time of year I’ll ever get one so it’s more unique. (I try to stick to the same rule when traveling: eat the stuff I can’t necessarily get as easily back home.)

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I decided to skip the craft beers this year so I could get a Minnesota wines flight and this cool Minnesota-shaped cardboard cutout. (Yeah, I kept it!)

From top: the Snowy White from Falconer Vineyards (I once went grape-picking there), Sogn Blanc from Cannon River Winery (cute yarn shop across the street from this one, not a “good” idea to drink wine then spend money on yarn — at least, not for my wallet), and the Brianna from Garvin Heights Vineyards (where I have not yet been!).

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I sipped my wines while Karyn, Hannie and Bryan went into the Butterfly House. They were in there for so long, “catching” so many butterflies, that I actually finished my flight and joined them for a few minutes. Conclusion: it’s stinkin’ hot in there.

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I also got a chance to try the SPAM curds this year. I thought they were tasty, actually! Pepper-y. Hannie actually helped me eat them, too, which was a little surprising. (Hello, picky eater!)

We were about to head up the grandstand ramp to check out the yarn bombing but were taking a tiny break with our food… when the skies opened and it poured! Solid, soaking rain for five minutes or so. It was a little miserable, but Hannie had a blast.

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After the rain cleared, we headed over to drenched yarn.

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Minnesota still misses Prince so, so much.

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And that was just about it for our 2017 state fair experience! Except, wait — how do we quickly get back to the gate we entered through and get the heck out of here? Sky ride!

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Hannie decided to ride with me and let her parents have a little “alone time.” Was I nervous? Maybe.

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But it all went fine! In fact, all of the cars were painted bright colors but ours was painted with black & white cow print. When we exited on the other side, the staff rang a cowbell and shouted in unison, “MORE COWBELL!”

Which pleased me very much. Stay cool, MN State Fair — until next year…