It’s the end of the summer, and that means state fair time. As the ad says, attendance is practically mandatory, and so we went.
We met a friend on the northeast corner of the fairgrounds, so Giggles’ Campfire Grill was our first stop for their new walleye mac-and-cheese. With so many red peppers, it wasn’t my favorite dish, but it would have been pretty bland without it. Lots of other fairgoers apparently like this one.
We then headed over to the new transit hub to meet up with my sister and her husband. While we were waiting, we walked through the new history and heritage center, an area of the fair that takes on extra meaning for me now that I am an employee of the Minnesota Historical Society. We also walked through the new west end marketplace shops, tried the blueberry basil lemonade at the Blue Barn, and spotted a pop-up puppet show.
I’d never been on the giant slide, but for some reason, this was something I really wanted to do. I’m so glad I did: it was very fast and very fun.
After the activities, we decided to indulge in the new deep-fried buckeyes, my favorite food this year. Very sweet because of the chocolate, peanut butter, powdered sugar, and strawberry jam, but not too much when shared among four people.
Up next: the new pretzel curds at O’Gara’s. I was unsure about these before we tried them (why ruin a good cheese curd?), and I wasn’t impressed. Of course, we stopped there at a slow time, so the curds had been sitting for awhile and the cheese wasn’t very melty anymore. Those two items were all I needed for my fried food fix.
While waiting for the curds, we stumbled across the daily parade and saw the MNHS History Hound.
On to the dairy building to see the butter sculptures, then over to the barns. The Miracle of Life building was pretty active, with lots of newly born or hatched babies.
A quick stop at the DNR fish pond, with 45 different types of fish.
For the first time, I had dinner at one of the “sit-down restaurants” at the fair, the Hamline Dining Hall. I liked their new hamloaf sliders, a trendy addition this year to their traditional hamloaf entree. But unfortunately everyone was too full to try their jello salad ice cream.
Last but not least, my favorite building at the fair: the Agriculture Horticulture building (affectionately called the Ag-Hort Building). Of course the giant pumpkin is always a draw, but I enjoy the neatly stacked vegetables and seeds even more.
I can’t tell any difference between the different corn entries, but it’s always fascinating anyway.
Minnesota apples: there’s more than just Honeycrisp.
I don’t remember seeing a Christmas tree competition in previous years. It was really fun to walk through and smell all the fir trees. It even felt cool in that room, though I’m sure that was just my imagination.
And my absolute favorite spot at the fair: the honey room. As long as I get a chance to see the pretty ombre rows of honey, my trip to the fair is complete.
2014 Minnesota State Fair
- All of my photos | Photos from other fairgoers
- A fun look at vintage state fair posters from the MNHS collection
- State fair origins and traditions
- Recap from Daughter Number Three