The end of August is always such a bittersweet time of year…summer is winding down, the bees seem to be especially moody, and school is right around the corner.. BUT August also brings with it one of the greatest joys on this Earth, or at least in Minnesota – the Minnesota State Fair!
The Fairgrounds are spread out over 320 glorious acres in St. Paul – that’s a lot of pavement to pound! We’re very proud of our state fair and there’s good reason to be! It is the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance. Our fair dates back to 1859, the year after statehood. Since then, the fair has run annually except for five different years.
In 2014 a new attendance record was set, 1,824,830 people attended the State Fair, the shear volume of people is one of the things that makes for such great people watching! (FYI About 5.5 million people live in MN, so we’re talking really HUGE MN crowds! Granted some of us – present company included – visit more than once a year). The highest daily attendance in the entire history of the fair was set on Saturday, August 30th, 2014 when 252,092 people visited the fair.
This year the fair runs August 27th-September 7th. The Fairgrounds are open from 6am – midnight, Labor Day the fairs ends at 10pm.
Everybody seems to have their own State Fair game plan. The sKIDaddlers team was lucky enough to attend a MN State Fair blogger event in order to make sure you all had the down low on these top 12 days of summer. The State Fair can be a bit daunting.. so much to do in so little time. Let us help you make the most out of your trip to the fair this year!
FOOD – Let’s be honest, for most people the food is the reason for the fair. Here are our favorite new offerings for 2015 (tried and true):
- Salted Caramel Puff Malts & Sundaes– Located at the Dairy Goodness Bar located in the Dairy Bar. This treat was a huge hit across all the bloggers. Ice cream, Old Dutch Puffcorn, drizzled with caramel. It’s sweet, creamy, crunchy with a hint of salt. Basically it is perfection in a cup!
- MORE FUN… Minnesota State Fair-goers can suggest possible 2016 “Flavor of the Fair” combinations at the Dairy Bar. Write in a flavor suggestion to be considered for next year’s menu. Think you can beat the Salted Caramel Puff Sundae? We’d love to see you try!
- Totchos – This Tator Tot Natcho dish is available at the Boulevard Grill. Our prediction is that this is going to be the hot item of the year. Tator tots, cheese, sour cream and more. Oh yah, you betcha they were good!
- Maple Bacon Funnel Cake – Find it at Funnel Cakes located in the Food Building. Funnel Cakes- good! Bacon- good! Together – Wow! Crumbled bacon in the funnel cake batter, drizzled with a maple glaze and some more bacon on top for good measure.
- Grandma Deb’s Snicker Bar Salad – The Blue Barn has outdone themselves with this seriously delicious classic Snicker bar salad with a twist. This one comes with a creamy pudding in the bottom of the cup and topped with the refreshing Snicker/apple/whipped topping combo we all know and love. Thank you Grandma Deb!
- Grilled Venetian-Style Pizza – Brought to you by Mancini’s Al Fresco. These guys know grilling and they can sure make an awesome pizza! The pizza we sampled had a white alfredo sauce, big pieces of tomatoes, and thick slices of shaved Parmesan cheese all on a wonderful grilled pizza crust. That’s amore!
FAMILY FRIENDLY ACTIVITIES – Who knew there were so many activities geared towards the kiddos?
- Math On-A-Stick- New exhibit for 2015. There is a new space for kids and adults to have fun exploring math. They also have a fun math scavenger hunt, completed game cards can be turned in for a ribbon! This exhibit is located at Family Fair in Baldwin Park on the southwest corner of Randall and Cosgrove Street.
- Alphabet Forest- Have fun with letters! Meet a different author guest each day. Play the Fair Alphabet Game. Complete the card and bring it back for ribbon! Find the Alphabet Forest at Family Fair in Baldwin Park.
- Equimania! Presented by Equine Guelph, this fascinating exhibit allows kids to get hands on with a full size horse model. See the anatomy, braid the tail, wrap the leg and more. Located in the Horse Barn.
- Little Farm Hands: Always a big hit with the kids. The mock farm allows little ones to follow the path to learn where their food comes from. At the end they get to use their “earnings” to buy something from the store.
- Meet Costumed Characters
- State Fair Mascots Fairborne and Fairchild at the visitors center daily at 11a and 4p.
- Smokey Bear and Emerald Ash Borer daily at DNR Park
- Curious George and Word Girl at TPT
- Special Guest PAW Patrol on August 28 and 29
- Scavenger Hunts
- Be a Flower Detective – Agriculture Horticulture Building on 8/31 and 9/1
- Be a Fine Arts Detective – Fine Arts Center
- Moo Booth CSI at the Cattle Barn
- Giant Sing Along – Sing Karaoke style in a large group in a field of microphones with lyrics on a big screen
- Great Big Sandbox – Baldwin Park
- Home Depot Booth – Kid projects done daily
- Thank a Farmer Magic Show – Daily at the Miracle of Birth Center
- All-Star Stunt Dogs Splash – Daily at the North Woods
- 3rd Lair SkatePark – Daily at The X-Zone
- Nature Adventure Play Area – Outside EcoExperience
- Parades – Daily at 2pm
- And of course there’s always the Animal Barns, Mighty Midway & Kidway
Did you know…
- You can enter your child’s arts, crafts, baked goods, photography, etc. into the competition? You do not need to enter through a school. Entering is easy and free. Check out more details here.
- Those trolleys going to the north end of the fairgrounds and back.. they’re free.
- Complimentary sunscreen at all information booths
- Want to escape the crowds? Go early! Little Farm Hands opens at 8am. Some Carousel Park & Expo Place days begin at 8, too.
- Free identification bracelets offered at guest services to help reunite lost children with their families
- Instead of driving, park your car for free and take a stress-free, non-stop, air-conditioned ride straight to the fairgrounds. Gotta stroller? No problem! Click here for the State Fair Bus Service
- Kids under 5 are ALWAYS free; Adults & Kids 5+ priced at $11-13
- Pre-fair discount admission tickets for the 2015 Minnesota State Fair are on sale NOW for just $10. Click here to purchase!
- Hey Pinners, check out the MN Fair’s Pinterest page for more fair tips geared towards little tykes
Find more details for the state fair at www.mnstatefair.org/