The Minnesota State Fair is legendary throughout the midwest (maybe even the whole country). From baby animals, to endless food options (half of which are on sticks), to butter sculptures and carnival rides, this fair has a little something for everyone. We took people's advice and stopped by during our time in Minneapolis. After walk the entire fair and seeing all we could see, we decided to compile a list of MUST DO things when you find yourself at the Minnesota State Fair.
The Miracle of Birth Center
This exhibit is dedicated to pregnant animals that are moments away from giving birth. Veterinarians and vet students walk you through and explain what's happening as they help livestock have their babies RIGHT THERE IN FRONT OF YOU! If you aren't able to get a front row seat don't worry because they have TVs playing throughout the barn with the live action broadcasting in real time. We happened to stumble into the exhibit as a pig was giving birth to her adorable little piglets. On our way out of the barn we also saw lambs with their mommas, too. So if you like fluffy baby animals and/or want to learn a little something about the miracle of life on a farm, be sure to stop by the Miracle of Birth Center! It's an educational experience for sure.
The midwest loves its dairy so why not make dairy into a crowd stopping competition? Since the 1960's the fair has held butter carving competitions and let's just say, I was more than a little impressed. Who knew butter could be a legitimate work of art?! To find these masterpieces, head to the Dairy Building, just a short walk from the Miracle of Birth Center.
Creative Activities & Annex
One of my favorite things about the state fair is walking through the exhibit hall where folks from all over Minnesota have submitted their crafts and baked good in a competition. This year we spotted the most beautiful wooden canoe, an endless number of baked goods that instantly made us hungry, and some incredible quilts and carvings. It seemed as if lots of people bypassed this part of the fair, but it shouldn't be missed! It's incredible to see what amateurs from all over the state are creating for fun!
The state fair is all about the animals for me. Where else can you get up close and personal with these adorable creatures? The various animals are divided into different barns based on species. We didn't walk through all the barns, but we did checkout the horses, llamas, cows, and pigs. Some of the animals were even out of their stalls with their owners and we were able to pet them! If you go on the right days you may even be able to catch some of the various livestock events such as the horse shows.
Food, food, food
I could say I know absolutely what the best food is at the fair, but truth is, we were only able to try a few of the dozens of food vendors. What we did try was delicious so we'll list those here. We'd highly suggest taking a lap around and getting a lay of the land to see what looks best because there are so many options and you don't want to fill up too early. You never know when something that looks even better may be just around the corner!List of food vendors we tried:
The Farmers Union - Iced latte
Tiny Tim Miniature Donuts - small bag of mini donuts (the smallest bag was 16 donuts!)
Sweet Martha's Cooke Jar - This is THE place to visit at the fair. Just don't forget a glass of cold milk to go with those cookies!
Other things the fair offers
We're not really into riding rides at fairs. There's nothing wrong with riding rides or playing the games, it's just not our thing, especially for the price tag attached to it. The fair did have a large selection of carnival rides and games though, so if you're into that kind of thing, you'll be in good company!The fair also does nightly fireworks which we hear are awesome! We were there first thing in the morning to avoid the crazier crowds, but if you love a good firework show be sure to check it out.
The fair was definitely worth the stop. We had a lot of fun acting like kids eating waaaay too much sugar and ooo-ing and ahh-ing over the animals. Before you go, be sure to check out the Minnesota State Fair's website for special deals such as Senior Day and Thrifty Thursday, as well as special events like concerts on site. However you decide to spend your day at the fair, HAVE FUN!
Have you been to the Minnesota State Fair and have a suggestion of something we should see next time? Send us a message HERE to let us know what to add to our list.
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We're Chris and Sara
A creative husband and wife duo from a small-town in Tennessee with passion for all things travel. Checkout the links below to join us on our past, present, and future adventures!