Minneapolis is a great city for runners. Don’t believe me? Check out this recent article in Runner’s World, ranking Minneapolis #7 of 50! So proud.
Generally, this blog is all about running, but today we’ll be talking about another thing that the Twin Cities are well-known for other than running- the Minnesota State Fair!
If you’ve been reading the Right Fits for awhile, you probably know that Dustin and I love the Minnesota State Fair. I know, it’s not exactly the healthiest event in the state, but it’s a Minnesota tradition. Growing up in Wisconsin we didn’t go to the state fair. But when I moved here, particularly when I started dating Dustin, I realized that the Minnesota State Fair is not like the others. It’s unique and quirky and fun. (And P.S. it doesn’t have to be totally unhealthy!)
First of all, the fair is enormous, which means you get in a lot of walking. Dustin wore his Garmin a few years ago and we covered about six miles.
It’s the second biggest state fair (second only to Texas- everything is bigger in Texas!). Also, it’s right in the city, meaning it gets a lot of attention from restaurants, chefs, i.e. it’s not just fair food. Yes, we have all the traditional fair foods and activities- and everything you could possibly want on-a-stick. But there are some really charming and quirky parts to the fair that are a lot of fun.
This year, we attended the fair a week before my goal marathon, so we didn’t have any of the fun new adult beverages (chocolate chip cookie beer, hopmosa, Sweet Corn ale, etc). We stuck with other beverages that were just as good!
We started our fair day with a watermelon and kombucha drink from the Produce Exchange. OMG. It was so refreshing! It was $7 for the “Booch and Fruit” and well worth it. The watermelon was also perfectly ripe and delicious.
We then made our way to French Meadow Cafe. You might recognize this place as their brick-and-mortar restaurant was one of my top 5 favorite brunch places in Minneapolis! They have a ‘booth’ at the fair and it always has good options. We split a Rustic Beef Pastry and Cucumber Lemonade. I could have drank another three glasses of the lemonade.
“Mouth-puckeringly tart lemonade — from Meyer lemons — is mellowed (in a macerated-overnight process) by cool English cucumbers. Then a few more cuke slices go in for a garnish. A total beat-the-heat treat. $5, and worth it.” Star Tribune
We stopped by to say hello to a lot of the farm animals.
The cattle, the horses, the bunnies, the poultry…
And of course, my favorite, the alpacas. These three alpacas were actually for sale! If I lived in the country, I would for sure have alpacas. I don’t know how Matilda would feel about that though!
We always make a quick stop in the coliseum to see what competitions are going on. Last year, we saw gymnastics on horses?!? I’m not sure what that is called exactly, but it was interesting!
Another highlight of the fair for me is the Creative Activities building.
I am fascinated by all the different competitions that exist and are on display in this building. There are some very talented people with skills in woodworking, quilting, and more! But who are these people? How are these things judged? I wish I knew more.
Oatmeal raisin cookie contest for the 60+ division? Who knew!
We split the Bang Bang Chicken tenders at Lulu’s, which were also delicious (and actually not all that heavily fried or as greasy as you’d expect.)
In the Horticulture building, you can check out the rotating flower exhibit. When we were there, it was dahlias.
I took a million photos of these flowers. I loved all the different varieties and bold colors!
More crop/seed art:
I love the Fine Arts building, full of works done by local artists. There, you can vote for the “People’s Choice” award. This place is special to Dustin too, as his dad, (who has passed away), used to enter his artwork/sculptures into this competition. He once won best in show!
And guess what? We have a few of his pieces in our dining room (not the ‘best in show’ piece though).
Seriously, there is more to the fair than corn dogs and beer. It really is a fun Minnesota tradition!
Tell me- do you love or hate the fair?
If you love it, what are some of your favorites?