A Non-Minnesotan’s Take On The State Fair

July 25, 2017

Even though it’s still one month away, it’s now the time of year when my Facebook feed starts to become consumed by the Minnesota State Fair. I’m seeing the new foods, the new rides, the family pig that’s going to the fair for some reason I do not understand. In the three years I’ve lived here, I’ve learned one thing: Minnesotans love their State Fair.

While visiting family here four years ago, I had my first taste of the fair. I quickly realized that the State Fair really is not a fair; it’s a two-week long celebration of the most stereotypical Midwestern things. Deep-fried food, food on a stick, sketchy rides and all sorts of farm animals. I ate my weight in food that day, from cheese curds to Sweet Martha’s cookies, but my first true State Fair experience wasn’t until last year.

One Friday afternoon, my friends and I jumped on a bus and headed for the fair. They were all excited about seeing this and eating that while I, honestly, wasn’t too excited. It was hot. There were crowds. It smelled like a farm. All the good parts — food — cost more money. What I didn’t know yet was there are some things you can only see at the State Fair.

The first of those was seeing the state’s largest pig. We walked around the barns for a solid hour looking at cows, sheep and goats before stumbling upon this guy, and this not-so-little piggy was massive. He weighed 1,200 pounds. I honestly don’t know how he stands, eats or does any pig-related activities, but he won the title of Minnesota’s largest pig.

The next obscure stop was seeing butter sculptures. In the back of an air-conditioned building sits a rotating case of the dairy princesses carved out of butter. As a suburban-Denver-raised person, the idea that one would actually carve something out of butter baffles me, but people were lined up to see these butter carvings up close and personal.

Lastly, in the most crowded barn there lie baby animals galore. The Miracle of Birth Center sounds overrated and possibly gross at first, but nothing gets better than hundreds of piglets, lambs, calves and goats. There is just something way too cute about a tiny little pig or a baby goat bouncing around, and I honestly could’ve spent hours in there if I didn’t look so out-of-place among all the children.

From the most unusual fried foods to animals everywhere, I must admit the State Fair is not an experience to miss. However, as a non-Minnesotan there is still one thing I do not quite get: How do you go there every single year?