Every year the Minnesota State Fair comes and goes, leaving extra pounds on our waists and enough fried food to last people the rest of the year. This year the attendance reached an all-time high with a total of 2,046,553 people across all 12 days with at least 100,000 attendees recorded every day.
The“all-time single day attendance record” was also broken. According to the Minnesota State Fair website, the record was broken Sept. 1, 2018 with an attendance of 270,426 people.
In attending the state fair, people experienced endless crowds, animals, ranging from large livestock to puppies, and any type of food that could be fried or come on a stick.
One of the biggest booths with the largest crowd and the best food is Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar. They constantly make cookies to fill buckets and paper cones that aren’t just filled to the top but overflowing to the point people must rush to eat their cookie mountains before they topple over.
The cookie stand also offers milk to accompany the soft, gooey cookies, but if you go to the All You Can Drink Milk Stand, you can purchase fresh milk for $2 and get unlimited refills until you are sufficiently filled with milk and cookies (which you of course have some saved for later because eating them all at once is too much).
The next place that is a Minnesota tradition is the Corn Roast, where you can buy corn on the cob that is grilled to have a slightly burnt flavor and covered in dripping butter.
Next to this stand is the deep-fried alligator at Bayou Bob’s Gator Shack. This food can only be described as small nuggets of salty and chewy with a flavor like chicken. This stand also has frozen grapes, so if you feel bad about all these sweets and fried foods, you can get yourself a cup of frozen grapes to balance out the unhealthiness.
There are many areas to get beer floats, so for you newly 21-year-olds that need to broaden your tastes, get a couple floats to find your new go-to drink instead of getting a drink at a bar and regretting it after you taste how nasty it is.
Sweets are also a huge part of the fair — especially ice cream. It is offered at many vendors, but the one with the longest lines every year is Dairy Goodness, located in the Dairy Building. It has the freshest ice cream and many other dairy-related novelties.
To show that this is truly a novelty and that there is nowhere else to get so many different things on a stick or deep fried, here is a list of food that you would never expect unless you are from Minnesota and have gone every year. There’s cheesecake on a stick, deep fried Twinkies, deep fried candy bars, fried pickles on a stick and so much more. According to the Minnesota State Fair website, there were 298 food vendors and 795 shop vendors, so there has to be a place within the land.
Other than the different types of novelty foods, there are many other aspects to the fair. There are rides and games, as well as contests you can enter to win a bunch of different items. And of course, the people surrounding you, running into you and pushing you to get to their destination.
This year the fair added a giant 156-foot tall Ferris wheel. At around 15 stories tall, it can be seen as you approach the fairgrounds from afar. According to the state fair website, it is “one of the tallest traveling giant Ferris wheels in North America.”
There are also many different buildings you can walk around and buy different items, from “As Seen On TV” products to clothes, shoes and other trinkets. Unfortunately for college students, the items like cars and hot tubs are not on our list of things to buy at the state fair, but maybe enter to win one and find out where to put it later.
There is other entertainment within the fairgrounds, such as the birth center, various animal shows, free music, etc. The international bazaar stage features music like Black Market Brass, who was described as Afrobeat/Afro-Funk music focusing on playing music from West Africa. They jumped around the stage and continued to smile as they sang no matter how hot the day was getting on Sept. 1.
While enjoying free music, you can explore different cultures’ clothing, food and artwork to move away from the otherwise fried food.
With the state fair, everyone has a different game plan, but the most important thing to follow is keeping an open mind. Rather than looking at the ubiquitous unhealthy food options and counting calories, this is the one time of year to enjoy these types of foods at good quality. Anywhere else, deep-fried food is typically cheap and unsatisfying, but at the fair it is fresh and tasty.
Although the event is extremely crowded, you can avoid the rush by going during certain times of the day or not on weekends. Unfortunately, according to records, it will never be less than 100,000 people in a day.