State Fair Time seems like an alternate reality… when things slow down and it’s chill time. Our son’s family has made a tradition of camping on the fairgrounds the night before the fair opens and the night of opening day. They love it because they don’t have to deal with parking (insider tip!) and have a place for some down time during the day. We meet them there for a family day on opening day… after all, the fair is best experienced as a group activity (that way you get to taste a bigger variety of food without having to eat it all yourself)!
The first day of the fair traditionally isn’t as crowded (another insider tip!), and this year the weather was also perfect!! This tip is a big one if you prefer smaller crowds, because the Minnesota State Fair is one of the largest and best-attended fairs in the world… last year set an attendance record of 260,374 people on the busiest day and total attendance of nearly 2 million people (1,943,719)! By contrast, we enjoyed a relatively uncrowded day with only 117,877 fairgoers.
It is always fun to see who we encounter. This year our web/SEO designer and social strategist found us! I had told him we got red t-shirts with our logo for the whole family and they came searching for us so he could say he wanted to talk in person instead of sending an email! Tim and Bea are awesome… check them out at Tim B Design!
I love the reliable old standbys… along with a few newbies. It was fun to see Sean Emery’s show (he said this is his 26th year!)… with the brand new 15-story Ferris wheel in the background. Our daughter-in-law’s favorite honey sunflower seed ice cream was gone this year, but there was a delicious new raspberry swirl honey ice cream that almost made up for it.
You cant’ go hungry at the fair, with nearly 500 different foods available at 300 food concessions. In case you haven’t heard, the Minnesota State Fair is famous for its deep-fried food-on-a-stick… my husband’s favorite is green olives (just south of the grandstand if you are interested)!
There is also free fun stuff to do everywhere you turn, including more than 100 acts performing 900+ shows at the fair’s numerous free entertainment venues scattered throughout the fair grounds.
We plan to go back with grandkids on Wednesday… two stops on our list for that day are Ye Old Mill boat ride that is the oldest amusement at the fairgrounds (and that we have never experienced!) and the new History On-A-Schtick presented by the Minnesota Historical society (a vaudevillian romp through Minnesota’s past with wacky fun, sing-alongs, trivia, prizes and astonishing historical tidbits!)
What I love most about the fair is its serendipitous nature… simply relax, ‘go with the flow’ and a good time will be had by all!