The Great Minnesota Get-Together!

September 2, 2015

To even the most cynical Minnesotan, the annual State Fair holds a special place in our hearts. Whether it’s for cheese curds or live births, we’re all drawn – for one reason or another – to the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

The funny thing is, despite the nearly constant ridicule it receives, almost everyone I know makes it a point each year to go to the fair. If not for food, then for beer. We spend an afternoon in the heat, companions by our side, people-watching till our eyes can’t take it anymore. End the night with some all-you-can-drink milk, and we call it good.

Is this what it means to be a Minnesotan?

Year after year, the radio commercials announce the fair in a familiar way. “On a stick” gets stuck in our brains — a catch phrase to both intrigue and terrify us. In a way, the State Fair markets itself by making fun of itself. There are no frills or modern twists that tell us to use our mobile devices to check-in at Big Fat Bacon. We’re never surprised by the list of attractions, never awed by the addition of yet another fried food (on a stick). At the end of August, we know the fair is coming, and we love it. Don’t we?

It doesn’t take much to tug at the heartstrings of a Minnesotan. Mix a bit of nostalgia with deep-fried cheese, and you’ve got an annual tradition on your hands. Here are five more reasons why I think the Great Minnesota Get-Together is doing just fine:

Creativity
Whether you like it or not, you can’t deny the many creative ways our state fair chooses to express itself. From butter carvings to butterfly houses, attractions come in all shapes and sizes, for crowds from all walks of life.

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Authenticity
Never in any of its marketing efforts does the Minnesota State Fair pretend to be something that it’s not. We expect the dairy, and it’s delivered. We expect the pigs, and there they are. We’re never shocked, and we’re never dismayed.

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Tradition
A big part of why we love the fair is because it happens every year. As a kid, it was a family tradition. As an adult, it’s (somewhat) of a friend tradition. Every year, I get a flu shot, do my taxes, shovel the snow. And every year, I go to the fair.

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Unapologetic Attitude
The Minnesota State Fair is just about the most unapologetic thing out there. Between the deep-fried pickles and buckets of Sweet Martha’s Cookies, there is no room for calorie-counting or diet restrictions. Our state fair’s “no-shame” attitude comes at us with a force, and why shouldn’t it? *hair flip*

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Fun
Whether it’s your cup of milk tea or not, a trip to the Minnesota State Fair always ends as a good time. Go once or go often, there’s a little bit of fun involved for everyone.

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And to that, I say: If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it.