“Our state fair is a great state fair”

in Opinion by

A heart-attack paradise where all you need is a stick to delve into a unique cuisine. Ostrich-on-a-stick anyone? The crowds, the heat, the music, the animals, the tradition.
Thursday kicks off one of the best times of the year. That’s right, it’s the Minnesota State Fair. And for the following 12 days, there will be non-stop fun and excitement for people of all ages.
It’s a time when you really are excited to be from the frigid tundra of Minnesota. That’s because as Minnesotans you can boast as having the second largest state fair—aside from Texas. And in my humble opinion, Minnesotans can also claim the title of best state fair around.
First off, we have the food. Anything and everything you can imagine on a stick, we have it and we eat it. From fair food staples like corn dogs (however, at the fair they are called pronto pups) to Minnesota favorites like hotdish, whatever can somehow magically be skewered and portable, the Minnesota Get-Together has it.
Also, let’s not forget the assortment of deep-fried goodies that even the healthiest person in the world would be craving. Cheese curds, deep-fried candy bars, funnel cakes, to the new creations of deep-fried breakfast on-a-stick and deep-fried lobster on-a-stick, the Minnesota State Fair has it all.
Next, aside from the food, the Minnesota State Fair offers so many different attractions it literally can’t be beat. Kicking off the greatness is the sheer number of animals you can find at the fair.
Farmers, FFA and 4-H enthusiasts bring a variety of livestock to showcase at the fair. From the cows in the Moo Booth to the pigs and chickens, rabbits and goats, horses and sheep, the state fair is really a time to showcase the best animals in the state. Not to mention the numerous demonstrations going on in the Lee & Rose Warner Coliseum. And how about the Miracle of Birth Center in which fair-goers can actually see baby animals come into this world?
Animals not your thing? Well don’t worry because the Minnesota State Fair also offers some of the best entertainment out there, and with the exception of the grandstand which brings big artists like Journey, Kiss, and Tim McGraw, they are free.
Sometimes it’s just nice to sit down, preferably in the shade and take in a show. Doesn’t matter who is playing. As long as the music is good, the breeze is blowing and the ice cold lemonade I’m sipping on is amazing, it just makes it that much more enjoyable.
And yes, while there are other sorts of entertainment such as the famous giant slide, go-carts and the river raft ride, to me those are more of extras that you can do at any amusement park. But they are available for those so choosing.
Aside from all the fun stuff at the fair, I guess what makes the Minnesota State Fair the best fair out there is the experiences it brings to those who visit.
Every year, for as long as I can remember, my mom would take my brother, sister and me to the fair. Of course there would be those times we would have my dad tag along, or we would bring grandma, the aunts, and cousins as well. Don’t get me wrong; those were fun times as well. But the time us kids got to spend with mom was special and the fair made it extra special.
We would leave super early in the morning, driving through all of the traffic congestion that is synonymous with the Twin Cities. We would park in the same location, make the same trek through the gates, travel through the same buildings and stop for the same food.
And while that may sound boring to some, it never got old for us. We’d take in the craft building, snag our free stuff out of the education building, make our way to the food building, and then stop at the dairy building to see the newest Princess Kay of the Milky Way 90 pound butter head sculptures.
Rounding out our journey was the trips to the barns, mom and my sister leading us to the coliseum to take in a horse show. And if we were lucky enough to secure tickets to a grandstand act, we would see a show.
We would get to see a lot of stuff, do a lot of stuff, and the best part was we got to experience it together. Sampling each other’s newest treats, pointing out attractions we would like to see, and then spending the next few weeks talking about how much fun it was and how we can’t wait to go back next year.
That’s what makes the fair so special. Its not just about the food, the animals, the various attractions—which are a bonus and incredibly awesome—but its about the opportunity to send summer out with a bang. And what better way to do that then sharing time with the ones you care about the most?
The Minnesota State Fair may be the state’s great get-together, but it also served as a reconnecting opportunity with my family. And we all need that special time with the ones we love.