There are two kinds of people in Minnesota: those who love the State Fair and those who don’t. I belong to the first category and can’t imagine summer coming to an end without a visit or two (sometimes three) to the Fair.
Here are my top 3 favorite things to do at the Fair: 1. Eat all kinds of Good Stuff (in spite of that hateful news expose about how many calories and grams of fat are in your favorite fair foods! 90 grams of fat in Tom Thumb mini donuts – EEGADS) 2. Pet goats 3. Buy some kind of gadget (usually found in the Horticulture Building) 4. People Watching (ok – 4 things)
This week I found myself with a free morning and decided, since I was going by myself, to take advantage of the $5 round trip bus from Burnsville High School. The first bus left at 8 a.m. To my complete surprise, there were at least 150 people in line when I arrived at 7:45!
Upon arriving at the Fair, I had to decide how best to spend my 4 hours before catching the 1 p.m. bus back to Burnsville.
Isn’t it funny how we are creatures of habit? As my husband and I always do, I first opted for “The Breakfast of Champions”: a footlong hotdog. Next came my favorite building: the Horticulture Building. Who can resist gigantic vegetables, Seed Art, and bee beards? WHOA: this year’s giant pumpkin winner weighed 1200 pounds! Next I went and touched and smelled all the Christmas Trees. The Ratchet Pruning Shears Man was there as always, and this year I decided that I just had to have the Whole Set. He put my purchase aside and I would return for it before leaving the Fair.
The VERY BEST FOOD ITEM at the fair? The Honey Sunflower Seed Ice Cream! The benches next to the ice cream stand (on the outer perimeter of the Horticulture building) afford the best people watching, too, as you try to eat the enormous ice cream cone without dripping it all over yourself!
Then we always walk to the very back of the Fair and take the chairlift back. Another Fair rule: you have to find/try something new. I was intrigued by a large silver inflated “building” that looked like a bouncy house for adults. I paid the $4 and walked through the colorful series of rooms. It would have been better if it wasn’t so HOT and SMELLY inside! I couldn’t figure out why it smelled like an animal barn: those were WAY on the other side of the Fair??
Then there was a Giant Sing Along. Kind of like group Karyoke, only not as scary! Continuous songs play and you stand at a microphone (there are about 50) and sing to the lyrics projected on a big screen. Yikes – all I could hear was my voice!
OMG – the time was flying by and I hadn’t even petted a goat yet. Or found the macaroons someone told me I had to try. Then I was almost to the barns and realized I had to go pick up my pruners. I also had to find a concrete sealer that was in the Grandstand complex. Yuck – I hate the crowds in there: traffic definitely does not flow. Maybe this is planned by the vendors?? Well, I did not buy the sealer but was lured by the Perfect Pillow booth next to it. I have been on a 2 year quest to find a good pillow (that is another story). The salesman was very persuasive and I found myself buying an $85 pillow (hey – free delivery!). Then I found a floating lily pad with a frog for my pond. Man – get me outta there – I was on a buying spree!
Sadly, the goats the first week of the fair are in the Stinky Swine Barn. (The dairy goats arrive on Thursday and have their own barn) Farmers were herding their pigs to the pig shower. They were NOT cooperating: you would have thought they were being led into the slaughter house! Multiple people with big plastic gates were trying to coral and force the squealing pigs into the shower. It was really hilarious!
I nearly had to run to the bus stop, as the buses only come on the hour. As I was hurrying there, I was upset that I’d only sampled the two food items. WHAT: no french fries, roasted corn, or eggrolls? I really felt cheated!
And determined to go back in a few days and not be on a time crunched schedule.
So; I always ask everyone: what is your favorite thing to do and favorite thing to eat at the fair? Please leave a comment!