"Eat something on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair."
This is one of the items on my Summer Bucket List. So this past Saturday, Dustin and I put on our comfortable walking shoes and headed to the Great Minnesota Get-Together! (You can read past recaps of the fair HERE and HERE.)
Speaking of walking shoes, Dustin decided to wear his Garmin while we were at the fair. Guess what? We covered over SIX miles of walking! I couldn't believe it. Add that to the 17 mile long run we did in the morning, and I think we covered a lot of ground!
Anyways, back to the fair. This post is going to be very picture heavy. We brought our "good" camera to the fair and I went a little crazy taking pictures of all of my favorite fair activities. But we squeezed a lot into one day, and I'm here to tell you all about my favorite things to do at the Minnesota State Fair.
1. Visit the alpacas.
A visit to the state fair must include a visit with my favorite fair animals, the alpacas! Not to be confused with llamas, though alpacas can spit like a llama. The biggest difference between alpacas and llamas is their coat. Alpacas have a very fine, soft, single coat, whereas llamas have a course outer coat and soft inner coat.
I just love their adorable faces. And I'm still wearing my alpaca slippers that I bought last year at the fair. So comfy!
"Alpaca fiber is almost as strong as silk and highly durable. It's also soft, lightweight, lustrous and highly thermally efficient. When made into garments it doesn't pill or provoke any kind of skin reaction in people who are allergic to the lanolin or guard hairs in sheep's wool." source
2. Check out the butter busts!
The Minnesota State Fair is known nationally for the butter busts that are created in the images of the fair princesses, "Princess Kay of the Milky Way!" <-- famous enough that there was a movie with Jennifer Garner loosely based on this.
We made our requisite stop in the dairy building for a shake and a peek at this year's princesses' butter replicas.
*Does anyone know what the princesses do with their butter busts after the fair?
3. Taste some Minnesota craft brews:
In the horticulture building, you can purchase a 4-sample taster of a variety of local craft beers. This is a great addition to the fair, especially as our local beer scene continues to grow. I tried the hoppy set of four and they were all quite good.
4. Check out the crop art!
The crop art is always impressive and every year there are new and often funny pieces on display. This artwork is all made entirely out of seeds. I can't imagine the patience that goes into these items.
5. Try to understand the Creative Activities displays...
The displays in the Creative Activities building always confuse but fascinate us. There's the cooking competitions, the scrapbooking pages, and plenty of random collections- stamps, postcards, etc.
The top left picture below is an award winning box of straws collection<-- yet there weren't any other similar collections? So confusing. How is this judged? We never really understand these displays, but we try to come up with explanations...
6. Try one of the hot new novelty items at the fair!
We achieved this by trying out the blueberry beer at the Schells Brewing Booth (read all about it HERE). We tried this Japanese style foam beer on top of a Schell's Oktoberfest.
The blueberry foam beer was decent, but I enjoyed the s'mores beer more. It was a porter served with a marshmallow and a graham cracker crust on the rim.
7. Watch the parade
I'm not sure what it is about a parade, but I always have to stop what we're doing and watch it go by if I can. I don't know the schedule, but we always catch some of it while we're at the fair.
8. Ride on the Giant Slide
It's tradition. We take a ride or two on this slide every year. Simple good old-fashioned fun.
9. Admire the flowers in the Horticulture Building
Some years its roses, some years its dahlias, and this year it was orchids. The display was every type of orchid available. Fascinating.
10. Take a break on the Sky Ride
This is a newer tradition for us, but I think between the 17 mile long run that morning and the 6 miles of walking, a quick break on the Sky Ride was just what we needed. We really enjoyed the view of the fair from up above. We will definitely keep this as part of our must-do list!
Visit Any of the Animal Barns.
The rabbit barn and/or the chicken barn, or any of the animal barns actually...last year, I milked a goat. This year, we caught a bit of the goat competition. All good fun.
Miracle of Birth Center: The Miracle of Birth center is also usually interesting, but it was just way too crowded yesterday to fight our way through.
All-You-Can-Drink-Milk: Dustin loves the all-you-can-drink milk, but we opted for a shake in the dairy building instead yesterday.
Traditional Fair Food: Pronto Pups, Sweet Martha's cookies, Deep-Fried Candy Bars (way too rich for me, but Dustin likes these), and of course, anything on a stick. It's true, I spent 6 hours at the fair, walking over 6 miles, but I didn't consume ANYTHING on a stick. We kept meaning to get the mango on a stick at the Midtown Global Market, but we never made it over there. So technically, I didn't cross this item off of my summer bucket list this year... But nonetheless, we enjoyed a lot of our Minnesota State Fair traditions, while making some new ones!
Did you make it to the fair this weekend?
Tell me what are some of your state fair traditions?