Monday, August 29, 2011

The Great Minnesota Get Together

by Susan Sey

There are a lot of reasons I love my adopted home state of Minnesota but one of the biggest is the state fair.

We have the world's best state fair. Nothing against your state fair, I'm sure it's lovely. But the MN state fair just makes me happy. It's about five miles from my house, first of all, but there's a free park & ride less than a mile away that runs every fifteen minutes from 8 a.m. until midnight so we bike over there. I'm all about letting Metro Transit do the heavy lifting when it comes to fair traffic and parking.

Then there's the 4H building. I was never in 4H as a kid but I love their projects. (Who knew wool was so versatile? And the seed art!) Plus they put on an adorable little musical every year that usually involves pirates. I don't know what pirates have to do with 4H but I'm in favor.

I also love the competitions. Checking out the blue ribbon cakes, the home-made honey, the preserves & knitted goods. I always thing to myself, "Next year I'm going to enter my cookies," but I never do. I'm an happy amateur.

Then there's the food. Everything you ever wanted to eat (and then some.) On a stick, too. Even foods you didn't think could go on a stick. A few years back the they put mac & cheese on a stick. (This girl's verdict? Meh.) Last year the big deal was chocolate dipped bacon on a stick. (Again, better in theory than in practice.)

This year the big talkers are sweet corn ice cream (yes please) and breakfast on a stick. This consists of a sausage patty dipped in cornmeal waffle batter deep fried & drizzled with maple syrup. Three words: Sign. Me. Up.

Then there's my favorite part. The Milk Run. Sponsored by the Minnesota Dairy Farmers, it's a 5k race the opening weekend of the fair, starting & ending on the fairgrounds. For the price of the race you get a t-shirt, an admission ticket to the fair, some free dairy goods (last year it was yogurt), a ticket to the all-you-can-drink milk booth and a free milkshake. Plus it starts at 7:45 a.m. so you're done at like 8:30. You're a little sweaty but you're at the fair. You'd get sweaty without the 5k. Time to cash in that milk shake ticket & get your fair on while the fair grounds are cool & uncrowded.

That, by the way, is where I am today. The Milk Run kicked off at 7:45 & this year my 8 year old is running it with me. The rest of the family is joining us at the finish line & we're hitting the 4H booth. But not before I check out that breakfast on a stick thing. I'll report back.

How about you? Do you enjoy the fair season? What's your favorite treat on a stick?

27 comments:

Helen said...

Is he staying with me

Have Fun
Helen

Helen said...

Yep there are still Tim Tams left so he wanted to stay LOL

Susan

Here in my state NSW we have the Royal Easter Show that is held yes at Easter time and it is huge it is where the country comes to meet the city. Halls filled with produce made into huge pictures all types of animals and shows in the main arena lots of showbags filled with lollies chocolate etc love The Easter Show although very expensive these days. I do love looking at the cake baking and the hand made knitting and sewing things.

As for food on a stick we have what they call Dagwood Dogs or Pluto Pups which are frankfuts dipped in batter fried then dipped in tomato sauce (ketchup) love them LOL.

Have Fun
Helen

Keziah Hill said...

Ah, the Royal Easter Show. Not the same since it moved to Homebush Bay. I loved it at the Sydney Showground. All those lovely Art Deco buildings. I once went to the Monroe County Fair near Bloomington Indiana and had a great time. There were some good ol' boys from Nashville Tennessee selling corn on the cob and I couldn't understand a word they were saying. Had to get my American relatives to translate.

Anna Campbell said...

Hey, Helen, he's really got a thing for you at the moment. What's your secret?

Susan, what a fun post! I must say it brought back memories of the Royal National Association Exhibition in Brisbane, the capital of the State where I grew up. It's when the country comes to the city. I was horse mad so it was a wonderful opportunity for me to see lots and lots of horses - which I have to say bored my parents stiff. The best bit was sideshow alley where you had rides. Oh, and the dog pavillion. I LOVED the dog pavillion!

Sheree said...

Congrats, Helen!

I like my county fair but that's in July. It has fireworks and some of the coolest high-tech/multimedia exhibits, thanks to local business Lucas Arts (yes, George Lucas lives here). I also like the animals - the cows, the horses, and the pig racing.

marybelle said...

I love Toffee Apples. Of course, the apple needs to be super fresh to counter-balance the sweet toffee.

hrdwrkdmom aka Dianna said...

Helen, do you want to talk about the chook? You know you can share your secrets with us.

I love fairs in general and when my granddaughter comes in for a summer (July and a couple weeks August) I take her to a county fair. This year we had problems though, I had a little problem dealing with the heat but I wouldn't leave until my BF got her a funnel cake! Some traditions must stand.

Susan Sey said...

Helen, the Royal Easter show sounds wonderful! And our batter-dipped-hot-dogs-on-a-stick are called Pronto Pups. I cannot imagine the reason for this but there you have it.

I'm heading out to the fair myself today & this time (we went yesterday as well because of course my husband is at work today & didn't want to miss it) I'm going solely to look at the things we didn't see yesterday. The blue ribbon pigs, the home-made honey, the hawkers selling bizarro things...

My children will roll their eyes at me but I must do this. I'll buy them a few pronto pups & they'll be fine.

Susan Sey said...

Keziah Hill wrote: I once went to the Monroe County Fair near Bloomington Indiana and had a great time. There were some good ol' boys from Nashville Tennessee selling corn on the cob and I couldn't understand a word they were saying. Had to get my American relatives to translate.

If it makes you feel any better, I probably would have needed a translator,too. :-)

However, I feel sweet corn speaks its own universal language & would have snapped it up immediately.

Which reminds me, the sweet corn ice cream I mentioned in my post? I tried some yesterday & it was delicious. You wouldn't think it would work but it totally does.

Susan Sey said...

Anna wrote: I was horse mad so it was a wonderful opportunity for me to see lots and lots of horses - which I have to say bored my parents stiff. The best bit was sideshow alley where you had rides. Oh, and the dog pavillion. I LOVED the dog pavillion!

Oh, I'm taking my kids to see dog & horse stuff today! The horse shows used to charge admission but they're free this year & we're totally going! They're already mad for dogs but I think this is the year they start begging for a pony. :-)

Susan Sey said...

Sheree wrote: I also like the animals - the cows, the horses, and the pig racing.

Pig racing! Now that sounds like something I'd like to hear more about. Share?

Susan Sey said...

Marybelle wrote: I love Toffee Apples. Of course, the apple needs to be super fresh to counter-balance the sweet toffee.

Yes! It must also be (IMHO) extremely firm and tart. Otherwise, too much mushy sweetness for me. I also like them dipped in crushed nuts. But that's just me.

Susan Sey said...

hrdwrkdmom wrote: I had a little problem dealing with the heat but I wouldn't leave until my BF got her a funnel cake! Some traditions must stand.

You're a trooper, Dianna! Then again, the lure of the funnelcake is strong stuff. Just yesterday I discovered a fudge puppy. Do you have these? It's basically a finger of waffle in a hot-dog boat slathered with hot fudge & whipped cream. So it's technically breakfast but for all practical purposes, it's dessert. Yay!

Suzanne Ferrell said...

Hey Susan!

I have mixed emotions about state fairs. I worked the Ohio State Fair for five summers as a teen, hawking soda and hot dogs. It was within biking or walking distance from my home,too. So I never felt bad about eating the hot dogs, cotton candy, corn dogs (my favorite), etc. I knew I'd be walking them off.

I got in free to some great concerts, and got to go to the craft exhibits. (I loved the quilts, the needle work and the baking.)

What I hated and the reason I don't go near them now is, the smell of grease in the air. It isn't a pleasant scent for me. I smelled it day after day for 14 days and YUCK is the only thing I can say, even if it means missing out on fried ice cream, fried snickers, fried twinkies, fried butter, (Texas seems to have a fasciation with frying weird stuff!)

Joan said...

My State Fair is a great State Fair, don't miss it, don't even be late...

I went to the KY State Fair held here in Louisville last Friday. My friend and I basically mapped out our eating route (we call pronto pups...corn dogs) pork sandwiches and funnel cakes. Ran out of money to try Deep Fried KoolAid...

We have all the agriculture, a chapionship horse show and this year they brought baby farm animals intot the South wing...calf, mama and piglets, baby ducklings sliding down a water slide and eggs with chicks hatching out of them...horrendeously sponsored by Tyson!

They also have health screenings available and many counties from around KY showcase themselves.

jo robertson said...

Fair Day with the kids! What fun! Great post, Susan. The State Fair is a big deal here in Sacramento. Last year my granddaughter sang at one of the events, so we had a great time.

I fell in love with funnel cakes last year. Yummmy! And very, very fattening.

Sheree said...

The pig racing is just a bunch of piglets racing around a fenced off track for an Oreo cookie at the finish line (because only the winning piglets get the treat).

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Louisa Cornell said...

Good on you, Helen!

Susan, your state fair sounds great.

The Alabama State Fair is usually a great time. I love the livestock show, the needlework competitions and the flower and gardening competitions.

Fried pickle on a stick. Sounded disgusting, but I tried it and I liked it!

Susan Sey said...

Suz wrote: What I hated and the reason I don't go near them now is, the smell of grease in the air...YUCK is the only thing I can say, even if it means missing out on fried ice cream, fried snickers, fried twinkies, fried butter, (Texas seems to have a fasciation with frying weird stuff!)

Oh, frying weird things? Check. Our fair had deep friend cookie dough this year. In theory, I understand the appeal. In reality, it was (or so I've heard as I didn't pony up the courage to try it myself) a deep fried ball of molten lava cookie. For some people this was heaven. For me? Not so much.

And a little frying grease smell goes a long way for me, too.

Susan Sey said...

Joanie wrote: calf, mama and piglets, baby ducklings sliding down a water slide and eggs with chicks hatching out of them...horrendeously sponsored by Tyson!

OMG! This made me laugh out loud. I love it! Tyson! Heh.

Susan Sey said...

Jo wrote: I fell in love with funnel cakes last year. Yummmy! And very, very fattening.

Yeah, I fell in love with the fudge puppies, sad to say. This is a waffle finger topped with hot fudge, whipped cream & nuts. Yummers but not exactly easy on the old diet.

Susan Sey said...

Sheree wrote: The pig racing is just a bunch of piglets racing around a fenced off track for an Oreo cookie at the finish line (because only the winning piglets get the treat).

Thank you for this. I will enjoy the visual for weeks.

Susan Sey said...

Louisa wrote: Fried pickle on a stick. Sounded disgusting, but I tried it and I liked it!

Oh, hey! I saw that this year by the sky ride! (Our favorite ride--the gondolas that glide over the entire fair grounds.) I wondered if they were any good. I appreciated the theory--salty/vinegary crisp inside hot, deep-fried batter. What's not to love? Will definitely give them a go next year...

Pissenlit said...

I love fairs but I don't get to them much. A lot of food seems oh so much more fun to eat when it's on a stick. Why is that? :D My favourite? Possibly those giant pickles on a stick.

PJ said...

I love fairs! I haven't been to one in years though. I mostly stick to the various festivals in our area. Favorite foods on a stick? Love corn dogs, caramel apples and frozen bananas dipped in chocolate and rolled in nuts.

Our local Apple Festival kicks off soon so there will be lots of great local apples straight from the orchard and I have the caramel in the pantry ready to make some yummy caramel apples on a stick!

How was the Milk Run? Did you have fun?

Susan Sey said...

Pissenlit wrote: My favourite? Possibly those giant pickles on a stick.

You & Louisa! I didn't try them but definitely considered it. Maybe next year....

Susan Sey said...

PJ wrote: How was the Milk Run? Did you have fun?

It was as good as it could be considered I was literally dragging a weeping 8 yo by the hand for the last two miles. Turns out she out grew her running shoes since last month. Kids. Sheesh.

But we both survived & have the t-shirts to prove it. And because I am not a heartless mom, I fed her caramel apples & mini-donuts for breakfast. :-)