I love the Minnesota State Fair.
My record attendance was 10 trips one year, including a Saturday where I went twice. The people watching, the food, machinery hill - it all makes me look forward to the end of summer.
You either love it or hate it and I think I’ve successfully converted some of those haters over the years thanks to my favorite stops through the fairgrounds.
While I dream of going everyday and documenting each trip, I don’t think I’ll get around to writing a brand new 2016 guide, but I revised the 2015 guide I wrote last year. Before you dig into that, here’s a few additional tools to maximize your 2016 adventure.
1. Best round up I’ve seen of all the new foods from MSP Magazine
2. Pokemon Go map with all the Poke stops on the fairgrounds
Here's my revised 2015 guide that's sure to deliver a top-notch 2016 experience:
Get prepared I don’t get caught up by the 50 new things they have every year. Of those 50 things 48 will be gone next year, so stick to the classics people. It’s important to get inspired here ahead of time, and you may want to download the app for optimal navigation or print off your game of State Fair Bingo (you will not regret this).
First things first, you’re going to need an ice cold beer. Head over to The Ballpark Café. They even have a craft beer section, including the famous Mini Donut beer. Good place to chill for a bit with lots of tables. Plus, if you want a snack their garlic fries are awesome. Get the deep-fried ribs and report back on the experience when you do. Look for Big Tom running the cash register, he looks like a young ZZ Top and pours a mighty fine beer. State Fair Map (R-25) or on Google Maps.
Stroll through the International Bar to ease your way into the
Some good food in there and you can pickup something for your geode collection or one of those Australian rain tube instrument things. Most importantly swing by St. Martin’s Olives and grab the olive on a stick mixer. Great snack to go. They have great bloody mary’s, but can’t sell booze, so it's a BYOB situation (clearly, you need to sneak that in). Be prepared. State Fair Map (U-31) or on Google Maps.
Next, pretend like you’re 15 years old and go on the Giant Slide. Be sure to race at least 3 friends.
###pState Fair Map (T-12) or on Google Maps.
Now, make your way to the Midway. Grab a giant bucket of fries from the giant Fresh French Fries stand. Sounds simple, but these are the best damn fries known to man. View on the State Fair Map (Q-30) or on Google Maps.
Bring your fries over to my favorite bar, it's just around the corner, The Frontier Bar. This may be the best decision you've made all week. It’s a faux western bar with orange plastic chairs from the 70’s. I dream of owning this place someday. State Fair Map (K-27) or on Google Maps.
Finally, be sure you snap a selfie on the Zeus Jones bench.
Honorable Mentions: Corn: State Fair Map (P-24) or on Google Maps. Blueberry Beer: State Fair Map (H-24) or on Google Maps. Turkey Sandwich: State Fair Map (M-29) or on Google Maps. Pork Chop on a Stick: State Fair Map (K-25) or on Google Maps.
Finally, don’t forget to take your date on Ye Ol Mill.