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Fair Food, Minnesota-Style

August 31st, 2008 · 2 Comments

Every year, the members of the Association of Food Journalists meet in a different city at an annual conference (upcoming in October, in Houston, Texas). We worry about the state of the industry (critical this year); we brainstorm ideas for stories, investigate food trends, listen to expert speakers — and do a city on our stomachs.

Last year, the AFJ conference was in Minneapolis, Minn. If it didn’t snow there so much, I’d move in a heartbeat.

And just what won me over so quickly? The people. Hard-working people, helpful and courteous, fun and savvy, too — they had everything going for them.

I got a huge view of them at the Minneapolis State Fair. It ends tomorrow (Labor Day); the 12-day event is held each year at the end of August.

If you’re a fan of Garrison Keillor, you know all about his state’s fair. He broadcasts from it and is there every year with his kids. And if you’ve ever seen the classic old movie State Fair, you’ll appreciate Minnesota’s.

I don’t think I’ve ever seen so many families with so many kids in tow at any one place before, unless it’s Disney World. The difference was — and it was raining when I was there — everyone seemed to be smiling and happy at the fair. I felt as though I had been set down in a parallel universe set in the ’50s.

It also boasts the notorious Food on a Stick. If it can be staked, it’s served on a stick here. Walleye (the state fish). Cheese curds. Meatballs AND spaghetti. Alligator. Cheesecake. Pickles. Candy bars. Fruit. Grilled salmon. Fried…everything.

Macaroni and cheese on a stick. Photo by Kitty Crider.

Macaroni and cheese on a stick. Photo by Kitty Crider.

My favorite was “coffee on a stick.” Frozen latte, covered in chocolate. Mmm, mmm.

I can highly recommend the chicken exhibition, too. The very proud 4-H kids were amazingly informative about the chickens and fancy fowl, and I learned a great deal more about poultry than I ever thought possible. One of these days, look for a “chicken” page here.

Tags: Off Road

2 responses so far ↓

  • 1 Kitty Crider // Sep 2, 2008 at 11:55 am

    Texas and Minnesota have the two biggest state fairs in the country. And both are definitely worth visits. While Minnesota rules with its edible things on a stick, Texas fries all, including Coke! (Yeah, it takes some doing and involves dough. But it makes for great party chatter. )

  • 2 Ben // Sep 2, 2008 at 3:29 pm

    There is nothing better than fair food. Oddly enough, I just blogged about a corn dog I ate at Mansion on Turtle Creek in Dallas (a five star resort serving corn dogs!).

    Best fair food that I have ever eaten has come from Collier County, FL… many many local folks cooking and selling to the patrons. With local doing most of the cooking, the fare was regional and top quality.

    My parents drove to the fair almost every night for a week to get this famous London Broil sandwich.

    Other than a hot corn dog, I love the Elephant Ear with extra cinammon & sugar… a slice of heaven that insures you will get their faster with every bite! Wow.

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