The end of summer can be a depressing experience for people, especially for those of us who live in Minnesota. However, there is an event that occurs at the end of August that makes it all worth it. A place where you can walk around for hours and never run out of things to do, a place where you can stuff your face with food that is served on a handy wooden stick, a place where the smell of cow shit is welcomed, a place where you can walk around double-fisting craft beer and ride down a giant slide on a burlap sack. Where is this magical land you wonder? No place other than the Minnesota State Fair.
Our State Fair is not just any old fair, it is the largest 12-day festival in North America and attracts over 1.5 million people every year. On 320 acres of fairgrounds you can indulge in over 450 foods-on-a-stick, join a live broadcast from your favorite news channel, watch a pig give birth in the Miracle of Birth Barn or rock out at the Grand stand to Def Leppard, The Avett Brothers or Merle Haggard. Plus, you can enjoy over 100 different free music and art performances at various stages throughout the grounds.
“State Fair Day”, as it is affectionately known in our house, is one of our favorite days of the year. There is nothing more exciting than walking through the gates for a fun-filled day of festivities. The sounds, the smells, the people watching. Oh man, the people watching. The MN State Fair draws both rural and urban folk alike from all over the county and there is nothing better than sitting back on a bench and watching the parade of one-of-a-kind patrons as they file by.
My husband and I have attended the fair every single year we have been together and hope to be rolling our wheelchairs through the gates 50 years from now. We drink and eat ourselves silly and enjoy several annual traditions that include riding Ye Old Mill (a cheesy boat ride that floats you past ‘scenes’ of cartoon lands that haven’t been updated since the 70s), taking the Skyride to enjoy a panoramic view of the fair grounds, playing with baby goats in the barn and having our picture taken in a genuine 1960s photo booth. State Fair Day is akin to what Christmas Day used to feel like when I was a kid: full of excitement and wonder.
To Minnesotans the fair is more than just a carnival or festival that takes place at the end of summer, it is tradition. It is a part of us. The Minnesota State Fair is the crown jewel of our state and we are very proud of it. If you ever find yourself wondering what fun vacation you can take with your family for Labor Day weekend I would highly recommend coming to Minnesota to experience the fair. I promise, you won’t be disappointed!