Tag Archives: Minnesota state fair

Minnesota State Fair 2019

It’s time for my annual recap of our trips to the fair.  We did opening day a little differently than most years where we all have the day off and go together. One big difference this year is that I no longer have a parking spot on the St. Paul campus which meant a different way to get to the fair. And I didn’t have enough vacation days to take the opening day off.  Instead, hubby and Miss M met each other at the fair and I met up with them a few hours later.

All the lots had filled up by before noon I believe but I know there is a first wave of people who went to the fair early and after lunch, they were ready to head for home. I timed it perfectly and found a parking spot about 3:00 on opening day. And the bus came five minutes later. On other trips we weren’t as lucky and had to wait for a bus for about 30 minutes once. Taking the bus is a great option for us as there are many lots nearby to park for free and the bus takes you to the fair for free. We even tried a different lot this year because we had volunteered for a 2 hour stint at my new department’s tables at U of M Central in the Crossroads building. And that was a Sunday which meant that all the church lots around us didn’t open until 1:00 and we had to be there at 11:00 so we parked in another lot not owned by a church. It went amazingly well :)

We had lots of fun at the fair again this year. Great food, great company, great art and great stuff in the agriculture building, as usual. Fantastic crop art again this year and you’ll see some of that in my galleries below. We saw some animals and old tractors too.

For the floral displays in the center of the agriculture building this year was a theme of  “Minnesota Grown”. Here’s the wording from the fair’s website:

This year’s floral extravaganza features large-scale handcrafted and personalized designs created by local florists to celebrate the lives of iconic “Minnesota Grown” hometown legends such as Judy Garland, Charles Schulz, Prince and others.

I really enjoyed this year’s floral extravaganza. I actually never knew it was called an extravaganza. The things one learns. Below is a gallery of those displays. I loved it so much I had to take a second and third look. See what you think.

Next, some scenes at the fair:

Another great year for art, both in the art building and the crop art in the agriculture building:

To end, here are some antique machines and some animals that we saw:

 

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Minnesota State Fair 2018

We never miss the fair and this year we went three times.  We always go opening day and this year’s crowd was dizzying.  Sure enough, it broke the record for opening day attendance.  I met hubby and Miss M mid morning as I had to work a few hours that morning and I knew the moment I entered the fair that it would be a big crowd, it already felt that way.

I went right into the grandstand to peruse their wares until I heard when to meet hubby and Miss M.  Right off the bat I found a fair shirt.  The state fair gift shop in the grandstand moved making it more centrally located and it pulled me right in. I bought the shirt on our way out that afternoon.  I also found some great Christmas gift items so I was feeling fairly accomplished!

I met my family near the sky ride outside the Agriculture Building.  I always go into the Ag Building.  I love the flower rooms, the crop art, the scarecrows, U of MN apples, the biggest gourds.  So much to see in the Ag Building! There was a long line for the crop art and it was that way with each of our visits this year.  I did wait in the line on opening day when we went back later.  You don ‘t have to wait in line, but if you want a front row spot to take photos, it works better to wait in line.

We got our buttons at the Admin building, we do that every year too.  They’re free and it’s fun to see the new design every year.  This year it’s a circle of guitars and the wording is Minnesota’s largest music festival.  I never thought of it that way but I can see it now.  Lots of music entertainment options for sure!  From the various free stages all around the fair or the grandstand show, there is something for everyone musically speaking at the fair.

We always tour the art in the art building and there were lots of gems in there again this year.  I usually get a malt from the Kiwanis club next to the art building but Miss M wanted to get one at the dairy building to see her friend who was going to be working there at 3:00.  Well, we could barely breathe with the wall to wall people at the fair that day so we decided to just get the malt earlier than 3:00 at the dairy building.  That turned out to be so fun!! Miss M saw one of her buddies working and he erupted with happiness after she handed him the ticket for the malt and he realized it was her.  It was adorable.

We left shortly after the malt, it was well past time to go.  It was fun but our next visit was even better in terms of a much more subdued crowd.  I met hubby from work the following Thursday afternoon.  As soon as I arrived it also felt different.  It was much calmer with a lot less people.  And the weather was perfect too.  We had so much fun finding things to buy.  We like to visit the international bazaar to check out the music and do some shopping.  Hubby found a new Day of the Dead shirt, I got a new mug both from El Burrito Mercado, a Mexican imports shops.  Hubby found a new silver pinky ring and we got Miss M maple syrup made by Native Americans.  It was a fun shopping year this year!! I don’t usually find that much to buy but this year was different.

We decided to go back a third time this year just because and hubby wanted to see the newspaper museum again. We live 5 miles away and there are many free park and ride buses to the fair that make it easy for us to get there.  We thought there might be less people on Sunday vs. Saturday and we opted for the bus this time, to go in a different gate than when we use my U of MN parking spot.  We were right about there being fewer people but wrong about the weather.  Oh it worked out alright but it wasn’t ideal.  No matter, we still had fun. We hadn’t yet ridden the skyride, something else we usually do, because those lines were too long in previous visits.  But not on our final visit.  Because it was raining, there was virtually no line at the skyride.  Score!!! We did get a little wet but it was better than walking to the grandstand for one last shopping spree.  And I can add riding the skyride in the rain to my list of things I had not done before.

We didn’t find anything at the grandstand but I took the opportunity to finally try a roasted corn on the cob. I’ve been going to this fair since 1992 and I’ve never had a corn. This last trip to the fair the timing was perfect.  And it was excellent and so juicy!!  We got back on the skyride since we’d be leaving from the front gates and went back into the Ag building to see if the flower rooms were open yet. They were both closed temporarily for judging as soon as they opened the building so we had to come back. And we only got to see one room since the other was still closed for judging. I did get to see the room at a distance and the dahlias in the other room were just gorgeous!

I feel so fortunate to be able to go to the great Minnesota get together every year.  I think we’ll go three times next year too.  Why not?

Following are some galleries of fair memorabilia that I hope you will enjoy. First up is a combination of all our visits to the Agriculture Building:

Next is a gallery of our visit to the newspaper museum and the art building:

The remaining gallery are photos of other things at the fair:

 

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Minnesota State Fair 2017

Woo hoo! It’s time for my annual post about the Minnesota State Fair!

We always go to the fair opening day and it seems every year it feels more crowded.  I checked out the fair’s website and found some interesting numbers.  I wasn’t imagining it. Each year on opening day for the last two years the attendance increased.  Between 2017 and 2016 it was almost 6,000 higher!  There were three record-breaking attendance days this year, the most record breaking days in three years.  Plus, this year’s total attendance is the highest ever, another record broken.  So, yes, there were lots more people at the fair this year.

No matter, we still enjoy it and this year was no different. I went twice.  Opening day was fun but by 1:00 it was getting too crowded so we called it quits early.  For my second visit, I met hubby there one late afternoon from work the following week. I park my car like I’m going to work and walk on over to the fair.   Very easy!

On opening day we headed over to Minnesota Public Radio after breakfast and were treated with a handshake from our governor!  He went one by one in the small crowd and shook each of our hands. He commented how brave Miss M was for wearing short sleeves as it was in the upper 50s at that moment.  So that was fun!  We also saw Al Franken posing for photos with a constituent.

The agriculture building is a must for me for each visit.  Some of the exhibits change every other day so it’s worth it to see other types of flowers when you can.   First some crop art:

In the next gallery is a little bit of everything else that I saw in the ag building:

And then some other scenes at the fair:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s tour of the Minnesota State Fair.  I’ll be back soon with a few more travel adventures. I hope you’ll come along!

 

 

 

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Minnesota State Fair 2016

Guessing most of you know that we always go to the state fair. Every year, without fail.  And now that I think about it, this is one thing I will really miss when I leave Minnesota.  A wonderful treat every year.  Although this year we noticed it was a bit more crowded.  The attendance numbers seem to go up each successive year. Hubby went to the fair while I was in California over Labor Day weekend and he said it was the most people he’s ever seen there!  Indeed, that was the record breaking attendance day this year with just over 260,000 fair goers. I’m glad I missed it.

Coming up are this year’s favorite photos from the fair.  I hope you enjoy!!

First up, various scenes at the fair.

We always visit the agriculture building:

This year’s crop art had many Prince tributes.  I think the Prince crop art overtook the political art this year. We sure miss our native son rock/pop star:

This last gallery displays something that I imagine has been at the fair the entire time we’ve been going (about 25 years).  We decided to take a short cut and ended up going through this very interesting log cabin.  It’s directly across from the agriculture building and it never beckoned to us.  And now I’m at a loss a little bit to explain what this is exactly since it’s been almost 3 months since I took these photos. As near as I can remember this is a replica of a type of cabin the earlier pioneers in Minnesota would have lived in.  It’s a museum with items from daily life from those days.  These are the folks that lived in Minnesota before it became a state in 1858.  Oh, ah, I did find this link with a bit more information in case you’re interested.

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The great Minnesota get-together 2015 version

If you’ve been following my blog you probably know that we always go to the Minnesota State Fair, affectionately referred to as the great Minnesota get-together.  I was about to say this year was no different.  Well, it was no different in that we went to the fair as is our tradition. But this year was a little different because we decided to park on campus at the University of Minnesota. I have a parking pass because I work there.  For the past I can’t remember exactly how many years, we have been doing the park and ride.  We park at the high school and a bus eventually takes us to the fair. The last several years have been challenging because there are never enough buses first thing in the morning and it takes 40 minutes to go a few miles.  So, yes, let’s try something new and park at the U!

It worked great!  Oh, except that it was much more walking.  The U only allows you to go into the newer gate which is several blocks from my parking ramp.  So that part wasn’t so great especially at the end of your day and you cannot walk another step. However, on opening day we took the sky ride from the south end of the fair to get us closer to the parking ramp instead of walking across the fair again.  That worked great.

Below are several galleries of my visits to the fair this year.  I hope you enjoy!!

Let’s start in the agriculture building. A must every year and we usually go more than once.

The crop art display is also an annual event. We never miss the crop art. And this year I went twice because after we viewed the art on opening day I learned that someone I knew had an entry!  So I had to go back and get a photo of it.  But the second time I went it was crowded again and I couldn’t get a good, close shot.  Here are some of my favorites this year.

Gotta check out the animal barns.

And the rest are scenes from another great state fair.  It was fun!  See you next year!

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Minnesota State Fair 2014

Also dubbed the great Minnesota get together, it’s held every year the 12 days prior to and including Labor Day here in the great white north.  Our tradition has been to go opening day and then once or twice more.  This year was a bit different as I was not able to join hubby and kidlet for the usual visit first thing in the morning due to my new job.  Instead hubby and kidlet went without me and they got their hands stamped so that they could return with me after I was off of work later in the day.  Oh and kidlet got her braces off in between too.  Her teeth look great!!  It was definitely worth it!

I didn’t take as many photos this year due to not returning for a second trip.  Hubby and I had planned to go together the last weekend but I had to bow out because I stubbed my toe so badly that my foot got swollen and I could barely walk.  I was bumming because I really wanted to see the dahlia display in the Agriculture building.  However, I do have some great photos that hubby took when he went without me.  I hope you all enjoy the photo tour of this year’s fair.  Next year I will see the dahlias in person!

Up first, the crop art photos that I took:

The rest of the photos are the ones that hubby took.  Here are some from his first trip on opening day:

A bit of explanation for those that might not be aware….there are all kinds of foods on a stick at our fair. Every year there is a list of the new foods on a stick to try. So, the booth with the original eraser on a stick is a play on that.

In closing, please enjoy hubby’s photos of the dahlias I could not see in person.  He did a great job!

 

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The great Minnesota get-together

If you live here you know that get-together means the Minnesota State Fair.  It comes around every year for twelve days ending on Labor Day.  And it’s our tradition to go on opening day.  We usually go additional days too because you just cannot do it all in one day.  So, while these photos are from this year’s state fair experience, they were not all taken on the same day.  And if you don’t live here, I hope you’ll enjoy my collection of this year’s state fair.  Perhaps it will inspire you to visit Minnesota while our fair is going on.

There are many entrances to our state fair, this one is where we enter:

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We always start in the ag building or the Agriculture Horticulture Building officially.  We never miss the seed art display and this year’s entries were great once again.  There are always several politically charged pieces and this year we had many regarding the marriage amendment on our ballot this fall.

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That last one also mentions another item that will be on our ballot this fall having to do with voter ID.  Next up, one of our favorite sons, Fritz Mondale:

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We enjoy the various flower contests which occupy two rooms in the ag building.  Every couple of days the displays change.  We managed to see both the orchids and the gladiolas but I only got photos of the glads.  Brilliant colors and fine arrangements all!

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Our annual visit to the fair would not be complete without viewing the art in the art building.  Always a great display of local art.

This bust is made from parts of a piano:

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Here’s hubby with his favorite artist.  Bruce Nygren always has interesting pieces:

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And I have to tell a funny story about his shirt.  It’s from the 2008 campaign.  We stopped by the Al Franken booth that year and his wife Frannie was there.  She and hubby struck up a conversation because, as it turned out, they were the same age with similar political leanings.  So he bought that shirt from her and he wore it at our subsequent visit to the fair that year.  This time it was Al himself manning the booth with the normal crowd gathered around him.  He was signing the baseball cards he used for his campaign and as he was signing mine he saw hubby’s shirt and said “oh, nice shirt.” And without hesitation hubby replied “I got it off your wife the other day.” Al looked up, started to smile and then, “wait, I don’t like the sound of that!!” and everyone laughed.

We happened upon Al once again this year but we decided not to greet him this time.  Still fun to see him:

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But back to the art building.  One fun thing to do is to vote for your favorite piece of art.  Probably not the best photo of it, but here’s the one I voted for this year:

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We took the sky ride to the northwest end of the fair and then headed to the animal buildings.  We saw cows, horses and donkeys.

We got the “cow car” this time around and that was pretty cool.  It’s painted to resemble a cow and there’s a bell on the back that is rung by the ride operators at the beginning and the end of the ride.  I didn’t get a pic of the cow car but here’s one from the inside:

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We saw lots of animals and their babies.  Here’s a baby donkey:

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A mama and baby cow:

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And a scultped tree trunk of a mama and baby bear:

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Getting a henna tattoo was very popular:

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Well, okay, here’s my political statement in the way of a photo. With our favorite president:

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Of course there are plenty of places to take breaks.  Here we are taking a break in an old tilt-a-whirl car:

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And O’Gara’s Paddyo for a beer and a cool mist.  We sat at a tall table just under those mists and it was rather nice. We were told a couple of times what a great spot we had:

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This is the best place for a chocolate malt, less crazy than the dairy building.  That’s the art building to the left of the malt stand:

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And then eventually it’s time to go home.  Bye Minnesota State Fair, see you again next year:

Minnesota state fair front gate from the inside

Minnesota state fair front gate from the inside

I hope you’ve enjoyed this brief tour of our fair.  And really, there is even more that I haven’t shared.  You’d really have to experience it for yourself to believe how big it is.  Hubby tells me the Minnesota State Fair is one of the two or three largest fairs in the country.  It’s always a great time with plenty of things to see, do and eat.

The Minnesota state fair is known for having foods on a stick.  I tried a new food this year:  lamb chop on a stick.  Delish!!  Did you have a favorite of the various things to do or eat at the state fair?  Does anything from my photos here intrigue you or catch your attention?

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