The Great Minnesota Get-Together, 2015 edition

This year, I went to the Minnesota State Fair twice: on opening day with two friends to celebrate a milestone birthday, and another time with my husband, my sister, and her husband. The first day featured wonderful weather – not-too-hot, not humid, with a breeze. The second time was right after a rainstorm with more rain to come, followed by uncomfortable humidity. These photos combine the two trips.

street crowded with people and a trolley from curb to curb

Last year I did the Giant Slide for the first time, and this year it was the Space Tower. It spun fast as it climbed and descended and I got a *little* bit of motion sickness, but it was my favorite activity this year. A neat look at my favorite building, Agriculture Horticulture:

octagonal building with spokes on the roof leading to each door

I don’t usually get all the way to the north side of the fair, but this year we stopped briefly at the Giant Sing-Along and thought it would be fun to participate (from afar – next time it will be at a mic).

people at microphones with lyrics to Dancing Queen

Waited for a friend in the International Bazaar, where we listened to a steel drum band play not Kokomo, but Call Me Maybe.

The new Math on-a-Stick section, which my math-teacher sister was excited to see:

the hands of kids playing at an activity table

On my second trip we got to the fair incredibly early (my words) to catch the History-on-a-Schtick performance by the Minnesota Historical Society, where I work. I thought it was charming, especially the 10,000 Lakes Polka, which attempted to name every lake in the state (they soon realized it would take forever).

three singers wearing life jackets

If you get to the fair early enough, there’s no waiting at Sweet Martha’s:

several open lines

We ducked into a barn more than once to avoid the rain:

a sheep and five lambs

Apparently this needs to be said…?

Sign: Please do not put your fingers in the mouths of the donkeys.

Also ducked into the Coliseum, where I was surprised to enjoy the barrel racing:

a horse and rider making a sharp turn around a barrel

My favorite food of the fair is not a new food, but it was a first for me: fudge puppies, which are waffles dipped in chocolate and covered in whipped cream. This is what I will make next year when my office has a fair-food contest.

Other food we shared:

Super Stick from Spaghetti Eddie’s – basically a cheese-and-pepperoni-filled breadstick that’s been fried (would have been better as a regular breadstick):

Hotdish-on-a-stick (I was expecting more hotdish, less cornbread):

looks and tastes like a corndog

Deep-fried green olives (I didn’t even try this because I don’t like olives or cream cheese, but everyone else thought this was great):

deep fried olives stand

Minneapple pie with cinnamon ice cream (delicious):

two people sharing a pie

and tipsy pie (tasted like regular pie):

a round pie drizzled with honey

Not pictured from the two trips: my friend’s first Pronto Pup, walleye cakes and stuffed mushrooms from Giggles, cheese curds from the Mouth Trap (plenty for two people to share), a meatball sub from Spaghetti Eddie’s (really good for lunch the next day), French fries, Swedish meatballs-on-a-stick from Lynne’s Lefse (good), fried green tomatoes (highly rated by the others), Gizmo (meh), a couple of special beers (not mine).

We also looked at a lot of food that we couldn’t eat in the Creative Arts building, like award-winning pies…


and cookies.

several entries in the snickerdoodles contest

My trip to the fair is never complete without a visit to the honey room:

honey jars with a painting of a beekeeper in the background

…and a look at all the vegetables lined up. I was particularly interested in the kohlrabi since we are growing a lot of it this year:

individual trays of kohlrabi, horseradish, cucumbers, and more

Things at least one person wanted to do but we didn’t get to – save this list for next year:

  • River Raft ride (I couldn’t convince anyone to go with me)
  • Education building and the MNHS booth
  • Newspaper museum
  • Reptile show
  • Dole Whip
  • Brown butter ice cream at Hamline dining hall
  • Key lime pie on a stick
  • Puffcorn ice cream
  • Nitro ice cream
  • Minnekabob

More from the Minnesota State Fair:

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