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Out and About: Minnesota State Fair

The Great Minnesota Get Together

1265 Snelling Ave North, St Paul, MN 55108   –  http://www.mnstatefair.org/

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As I am writing this blog I am realizing how silly it is that I am just getting this up.  I wanted to wait until my last day at the fair to share everything at once instead of posting a bunch of blogs about the same thing.  So, I am still going to write this blog and post it for you to share my experiences at the Minnesota State Fair this year.  Hopefully my review will help you make some great decisions next year when the fair comes around.  Also, head on over to Kesef Entertainment, LLC to check out the review of the concerts we took in at the fair this year.


This year Dan and I went to the MN State Fair a total of four times.  There is some humor in this because I never really liked the fair, I always thought it was super busy, hot and miserable and not a lot going on.  This year proved to me that the fair can be a lot of fun and that there is a lot to see and do even if you don’t want to go in those stinky animal barns or go take a look at any of the other buildings.  Here are a few tips I have for you when it comes to the fair along with some foods that are a must try and the ones that you can just skip on over.

#1.  Take advantage of the free shuttles

Currently we are living in just a block away from a free shuttle so it was so convenient for us to just walk down to the bus stop and hop on the bus when we wanted and then have a free ride back home at the end of the fair.  These free shuttles are located all over Roseville so you can park and not have to worry about parking at the fair and fighting the traffic.

If you live close to a park and ride you are even more in luck.  For us it was nice because we could go to the fair earlier in the day if we wanted, get our re-entry stamp so we could go home and rest then head back to the fair before our concert.

#2.  Souvenir cup is a must

We didn’t discover the souvenir cup until our last day at the fair but I wish that we would have thought of this earlier in the fair.   A lot of the vendors offer the State Fair souvenir cup which you pay a little more for but than you just have to pay for refills throughout the rest of the fair.  The cup is a cute little plastic one with a cheap straw and the one we got features Fairchild’s head on the straw also.  The reason the souvenir cup is really good, other than $2.00 refills, is when we headed home for our naps we could mix a drink of our own in cup and bring it in.  This might sound a little silly and sketchy but when you think of how much they are charging for drinks in the fair it is really worth the hassle.

#3.  Wear comfortable shoes

I used to be all about having to wear cute shoes that matched my outfit.  Well, when you are walking around the State Fair all day you don’t have time for cute shoes.  I learned my lesson one day when I decided that I was going to wear a pair of my custom chucks because it went well with the outfit I was wearing to the concert that night.  That was so dumb of me, after walking around the fair my feet were killing me and I was so crabby I didn’t want to go to the concert that night.  So don’t try and rocking those brand new wedges unless you are used to walking miles and miles in those shoes.

Daily steps after day at fair and a concert

Daily steps after day at fair and a concert

 

#4.  Share, share, share

There is so much to eat at the fair that you don’t want to fill up on just one thing.  So one of my major tips is to share the food that you get with the people you are with.  Not only will you save money by splitting the food purchases but you also won’t get full as quickly so you will be able to enjoy more of the food options that the fair has to offer.  Everything we got Dan and I shared between the two of us.  This allowed for us to get to try more foods and made sure we didn’t over indulge in any of the items.

#5.  Go to a concert

I had never been to a concert at the MN State Fair Grandstand before and I am so glad that I had the opportunity to go to a couple this year.  It is a great experience, the Grandstand is beautiful, the sound is great and they get some pretty good acts in every year.  I feel going to a concert at the fair really adds to the overall experience, you get to enjoy the fair before hand, sit down and enjoy a show for a couple of hours, watch the fire works up close after the show and than enjoy more fair before heading home for the night.  There were lots of great acts their this year, thus why we went to four, and you can see the review of those coming up on our business blog at www.kesefentertainmentllc.com

#6.  Groups are annoying at times

Sometimes it is nice to go with a group of people, but other times it can just be plain frustrating.  Unless you all go with the same intentions of doing the same thing and sticking together 100% of the time it just becomes a hassle.  So many people want to go to different buildings and eat different foods so you spend a lot of time trying to meet up with each other again after splitting up and it just gets annoying.  I recommend only going with a couple of people or one other person that are willing to all do the same thing and are interested in trying the same foods unless you want to be calling the other people every 5 minutes trying to figure out where they went in the crowds of people.


The Food – the reason we go

There were lots of new foods this year and Dan and I tried to try out some of the new options while also having some of the good ole reliable options.

The Old Reliable Options:

#1.  Pronto Pups – you can’t go more than a few feet in the fair ground before you run into one of this carts.  They offer different sizes and the best size for us to share was the Papa Pup.

#2.  Roasted Corn – the corn is so delicious, obviously it isn’t extremely healthy for you once they drown it in the butter but sprinkle some pepper and salt on that bad boy and you are ready to go.

#3.  Foot long Hot dog – can’t go wrong with a good old fashion hot dog.

#4.  Cheese curds – deep fried cheese, enough said.

#5.  Australian Battered Potatoes – these are so good.  We like to get them with ranch and nacho cheese, and for the first time we were actually able to finish the plate.

Delicious deep fried potatoes with sauces...yummm

Delicious deep fried potatoes with sauces…yummm

Foods We Tried and Liked:

#1.  Minnesota Corn Dog – Gass Station Grill

Breakfast on a stick

Breakfast on a stick

The Minnesota Corn Dog was really good.  At first I was afraid I wasn’t going to enjoy it because the reviews said it wasn’t really worth it.  After actually trying it I really enjoyed it, the spices and different flavors in the sausage were delicious and the buttermilk breading added even more to it.  I would recommend that there be some maple syrup to dip it in and it would be amazing.

#2.  Macaroni and Cheese Curds – Oodles of Noodles

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese

Cheese, cheese, and more cheese

Lots of people said this wasn’t that great but we enjoyed it a lot.  It wasn’t what I originally expected which was deep fried cheese curds mixed in with the macaroni and cheese.  Instead it had actually cheese curd chunks mixed in with the noodles and the cheese sauce.  Yes, the cheese sauce wasn’t like homemade macaroni and cheese, it is that more “fake” cheese taste which Dan really loves and I don’t mind.

#3.  Cheesy French Onion Monkey Bread – Blue Moon Dine-In Theater

I want more!

I want more!

This item might be my number one favorite food we had at the fair this year.  The melty cheesy center of the monkey bread tasted amazing with the french onion soup that they pour on top of the bread.  I think this is going to become a yearly item that we have to have when we go to the fair.  If you are a fan of french onion soup this item is for you, it is like eating that crunchy bread and cheese on top which we all know is why you really get french onion soup.

#4.  London Broil Steak Sandwich – Butcher Boys London Broil

Best steak sandwich ever!

Best steak sandwich ever!

This is the ultimate steak sandwich and it was so good.  It is hard not to want to try this sandwich when you are hanging out near the Grandstand and all you smell is the delicious broiled steak.  We had these sandwiches twice in our fair visits that is how good it was.  The first time we just did onions and the cheese sauce and then the second time we decided to have it with the onions, peppers, cheese sauce and some BBQ sauce to go along with it.  In my opinion that was the winning combination.  I will keep going back to this vendor for years to come and this sandwich will definitely be on the ole reliable list next year.

#5.  Loaded Tater Tots – Tot Boss

Eat your tots!

Eat your tots!

Tot Boss was a new vendor at the fair this year so of course we had to check them out.  I usually am not a huge fan of tater tots but these were delicious.  They had many options of toppings and we decided that we wanted to give the loaded tots a try.  They had nacho cheese, bacon, sour cream and green onion and they were just like a loaded baked potato.  The tots were cooked to a crispy perfection and it was very good even for a bacon hating person like me.  We will be heading  back to the Tot Boss food truck next year for sure.

Foods We Tried and Weren’t That Impressed With:

#1.  Loaded Nacho Bucket – OOF-Da Tacos

Loaded Bucket of Nachos

Loaded Bucket of Nachos

OOF-Da Tacos was another new vendor at the fair this year and what had originally attracted me to the stand was the fry bread tacos but we ended up trying out the loaded nacho bucket.  It is exactly what it sounds like, a bucket full of nachos.  They didn’t layer the toppings so all the chips at the bottom didn’t have any toppings on them, so we came up with the brilliant idea to crush up the nachos and mix everything together and eat it with a fork.  The nachos were good enough but I wouldn’t go out of my way to buy them again, also, I felt extremely wasteful tossing the plastic bucket away because I didn’t want to carry it around with me throughout the whole fair.  Next year we will head back to OOF-Da Tacos though to try out one of the delicious looking fry bread tacos.

#2.  Strawberry Donut Delight – The Strawberry Patch

Donut strawberry sandwich anyone?

Donut strawberry sandwich anyone?

This was one of the items that I was extremely excited to try out because I love donuts and I love strawberry shortcake.  This dish is a donut cut in half with strawberry sauce and whipped cream sandwiched between the top and bottom.  It was good enough but not something I would have to have next time I am at the fair.  I enjoyed the bottom section of the donut more because it was soaked in the strawberry sauce so it was softer and had more flavor.  I feel like the top section of the donut was a little stale so it wasn’t as enjoyable.  We won’t be getting this next year but I would love to take a look at some of the other options they have at The Strawberry Patch, I believe I saw something about cheesecake.

#3.  Strawberry Rhubarb Malt – The Dairy Barn

Mmmm...ice cream

Mmmm…ice cream

When you go to the fair you have to go to The Dairy Barn and get a delicious ice cream treat.  Last year I had tried the strawberry rhubarb sundae so when Dan decided we should get a malt I thought this would be a great option.  This was probably a really bad decision because it turned out being a little too much tart in one ice cream treat.  The rhubarb was a little overwhelming in the malt so I would definitely stick with it on a sundae next time and probably just go with a regular strawberry malt instead.


Even going to the fair four times there was so many other options that we didn’t get to try.  I was so over the fair by the end of the fourth day and was glad that I wasn’t going back again, but I am also excited to see what next year brings with new foods, the old classics and of course what concerts will come into town.

 

 

 

 

 

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