What In The World Is This: The Great Minnesota State Fair!

All’s fair in love and war… and fair food on a stick.

Since moving to Chicago, I’ve had the chance to check out cities I can say I never really thought of traveling through before, and they’ve all been fantastic. I’ve seen The Arch of St. Louis, The Bronze Fonze of Minneapolis, the farm side of Illinois and now, The Great Minnesota State Fair.

Now, this is no simple fair. Oh no, The Minnesota State Fair has been running since 1859 and is the LARGEST state fair in the world, according to daily attendance. It comes in second only to Texas’ state fair for the full number of people, but that’s only because theirs runs for a month while Minnesota’s runs for 12 days. And this year was the largest they’ve ever seen, with 1,997,320 people coming through the doors.

And I was one of them!

I will say, I really didn’t know what to expect. I’d been to The Big E when I was little, and The New York State Fair in college, but none of it compared to the sheer size, crowds and insanity of The Minnesota State Fair.

Listen, there’s lots to talk about, and I’ll mention a little of it below, but here’s really what you’ve come for: the insane food. And oh, what insanity it was. We ate the holiest unnatural of items, including mergings of foods, foods made giant, deep fried and then deep fried again and of course, it all came on a stick.

Everything came on a stick, including Freedom.

And it was glorious!


Here is a selection of most of the things we tried. Hold on to your stomach, you may not be ready:


In addition to the food (which let’s be fair, is really going to be the star of the show), the fair is a collection of everything Minnesota, from livestock to famous lives lived.

There were centers celebrating horticulture, the ecosystem, technology and so many other random things. And of course, so many locally produced and delicious products. Who knew the world had a million varieties of apples, and new apples were being created all the time? Not I friends, not I.

We saw baby animals (and I mean babies, as we walked through the Miracle of Life Center, a cow was literally giving birth).

We saw butter sculptures of dairy princesses (and one was even be carved in the slowly rotating glass snow globe that the princess had to sit in and wave to people at as she got her face immortalized in butter.)

We saw the parade, which included giant sculptures of cows and math teams with their calculator mascots.

And we saw people, so many strange, weird and wonderful people.

Want a few more interesting facts about The Minnesota State Fair?

  • The phrase “Speak Softly and Carry a Big Stick” was delivered by Teddy Roosevelt during a speech at the Minnesota State Fair in 1901.
  • In the 20’s and the 30’s the Minnesota State Fair staged train crashes to entertain guests.
  • The first ever Minnesota airplane flight took place on the fairgrounds in 1910
  • 500,000 corn dogs are consumed at the fair each year, and legend has it, they were invented at the fair in 1941.
  • The “All You Can Drink” Milk hands out over 25,000 gallons of milk every year.

Facts lovingly stolen from here.

Loved the whole experience. Can’t wait to do it all again next year.

ps. Hey look, a fried pickle we found that looks like BB-8! Worth sharing? We thought so.