I live in a suburb of the Twin Cities, you know, Minneapolis and St. Paul. This means that I am lucky enough not to have to travel far for the Minnesota State Fair. For those of you who aren’t so lucky or familiar with the fair, we call it the “great Minnesota get together”. It is usually ranked as one of the top state fairs in the country, and for good reason. It runs for a week and a half at the end of every summer, and is actually one of the main reasons why most schools in Minnesota don’t start until after Labor Day. Now sure there are lots of people who go to the fair for the animals or the midway rides, but we go for one main reason – FOOD!
The fair is known for all kinds of crazy food, mainly anything deep fried or on a stick, or both! We have started a tradition where we have some good friends come into town for Labor Day Weekend and spend an afternoon at the fair. We have one very simple rule: you are allowed to buy any food you want, but you must share! That way we all get to sample a little bit of everything without breaking the bank (or exploding our stomachs)! Yes I know this is mainly a baking blog, but I figure many of you out there are foodies like me and would enjoy seeing some of these phenomenal treats! I apologize for some of the pictures not being of high quality, they were usually taken pretty quickly so we could all dive into the food!
Derek and I on the way to the fair.
The insanity! Do you see all those people???
Our first purchase…Australian Battered Potatoes. From what we could tell they were giant slices of potatoes battered and fried, and served with either ranch dressing, cheese sauce, hot sauce, or ketchup. Quite tasty and a worthy opening to the fair this year. From what we could tell the only thing Australian about them was the fact that they stuck a mini Australian flag on a stick in the middle!
One of Derek’s favorites, a Scotch Egg. A hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage, then breaded and fried, served here with honey mustard or ranch dressing. Personally not one of my favorites, but Derek can’t get enough.
Ahh, cheese curds. A state fair staple. We lived in Nashville for three years and that experience taught me that many people outside of Minnesota and Wisconsin have never heard of cheese curds, so let me enlighten you. Fried pieces of mozzarella cheese people, pure heaven!
A new item this year, and one of everyone’s favorites: Deep fried cheddar-bacon mashed potatoes on a stick. Wow. Served with gravy, ranch, honey mustard or sour cream. I have a feeling these will be purchased again next year!
Deep fried pickle slices. I have usually enjoyed these in the past, but this year we bought them from a different stand and they had a Cajun seasoning and quite a kick! Probably my least favorite of the whole day.
Always a popular favorite, Sweet Martha’s Chocolate Chip Cookies. You can either get 6 cookies served in a cone like this, or about 4 dozen served in a bucket. They are always served fresh and warm and the chocolate is gooey and delicious!
One of my new favorites, a Pickle Dog. A pickle spear wrapped in cream cheese and pastrami. Absolutely fabulous and just like eating a giant pickle roll-up (another typically midwestern appetizer).
Another staple at any state fair, a massive foot long hot dog.
Big Fat Bacon, on a stick. Salty and actually quite tasty. My friend Dave is a lover of all things bacon so it was only natural that he tried this. There is chocolate covered bacon somewhere on the fairgrounds, but we have yet to find it.
By far the highlight of the fair for me every year, Deep Fried Candy Bars. Can it really get any better than this? Pictured here are Snickers and Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups. They also have Three Musketeers and Oreos.
One of my other fair highlights, sweet corn. Dipped in a vat of butter and covered in salt and pepper…pure joy!
Hello delicious! Chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick. I don’t think I really need to say anymore!
Another fair favorite…the deep fried Twinkie (pictured on the right). On the left are deep fried canolli’s, which were ok, but not my favorite.
Sampling various different Minnesota wines. Notice how the cardboard carrier is in the shape of MN? I love it! The raspberry wine was my favorite, and the rhubarb was a close second.
The “princess” of the fair is known as Princess Kay of the Milky Way, and must be the daughter of a dairy farmer. In the dairy building of the fair all of the candidates sit in what is basically a chilled turntable and get their likeness carved in a 90 pound block of butter. Only in Minnesota folks!
And to round out the fair, my friend Julie had to get some cotton candy. I haven’t had this in YEARS! I forgot how much it dissolves once hitting your tongue. I didn’t eat much of the cotton candy because, honestly, I was so STUFFED!
If you ever get a chance to visit the MN state fair, my best piece of advice is to go hungry! I guarantee you’ll have a fabulous time.
Happy Labor Day!