State Fair    modified: August 16, 2012                                           State Fair photos

To
Minnesota residents, the words “State Fair” mean the end of Summer. The State Fair lasts 12 days and ends on Labor Day, the first Monday in September, which this year is September 2nd.  After Labor Day, most schools will start.

There are many county fairs that take place earlier throughout the state, but the State Fair is the largest because it is for the entire state of Minnesota.  The fairgrounds are located in the suburbs of the Twin Cities on a 340 acre site1).  The site is dedicated to the Fair year round, even though the Fair only lasts 12 days.  Minnesota can afford to do this because the state has much land.  The Fair opens at 6 a.m. and closes at midnight .  The admission price is $8 for adults.  The attendance in 2001 was 1,762,976 (1,769,872 for 2011)  visitors2).

The State Fair is a harvest festival, so there are displays of livestock3) and agricultural products.  There is a contest for the largest pig (often weighing around 1200 lbs) and the largest pumpkin (usually around 500 lbs).  There are also contests for gardening, cooking, baking, farming, and sewing.  In the contests, first place wins a blue ribbon.  Second place wins a red ribbon.  Third place wins a white ribbon.

Cars, boats, snowmobiles, and tractors are on display.  Political parties often have booths to try to gain voters, and churches host worship services.  There are parades with marching bands and floats.  The “Midway” features many amusement rides and games where winners get stuffed animals as prizes.

The Fair offers food that is often deep fried and "on a stick," such as "deep fried candy bar on a stick" and "deep fried cheese on a stick."  The most popular food is called a “corn dog,” which is a deep fried hot dog on a stick.  The stick allows visitors to eat the food easily while walking.  Many people cheat on their diet at the State Fair.

Also at the Fair are rodeos, equestrian events, car races, and concerts in their own stadium.  The concerts often feature well-known country musicians, and there is a large fireworks display after each concert.   There is a big haunted house to scare older children and adults.  It’s also fun to take a “sky ride.”  This ride carries passengers in high gondolas across the fairgrounds.  The view is impressive at night, with the dazzling light displays and the crowds of people.

This year, to honor Peanuts creator Charles Schulz (St. Paul native), over a dozen large statues of the character Lucy are on display. 

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1) source: not available any longer < http://www.loc.gov/bicentennial/propage/MN/mn_s_grams1.html >

2) source: < http://www.mnstatefair.org/general_info/attendance.html >

3) You can see many kinds of livestock at the barns.  There are barns for horses, sheep, poultry (chickens, ducks, geese, and turkeys), swine (boars and sows), and cattle (bulls and cows).  Farmers and their children from around the state bring their best animals for judging in contests.  The animal barns can become noisy, especially the poultry barn in the morning.  The roosters crow loudly together.


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