Tag Archives: Festival

Fun Facts about the Minnesota State Fair

As soon as August arrives, all Minnesotans have just one thing on their mind: the Minnesota State Fair. It’s a time for folks statewide (and even from across the nation) to flock to the Twin Cities and enjoy the best days of summer. What began as an event in the early 1850’s to showcase crops, livestock, produce, and handiwork of Minnesota residents, has since become a cultural phenomenon beloved by all Minnesotans, regardless of their involvement with agriculture or farming.

In anticipation of August 25th (the event’s first of 12 days), we put together a list of some of the most interesting facts about “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.” Take a look:

1.It is the largest state fair in the U.S. by average daily attendance.

2. It is the 2nd largest state fair in the U.S. by total annual attendance (the largest is Texas, which runs about twice as long).

3. The highest annual attendance occurred in 2014, with 1,824,830 fairgoers.

4. The single day record was set on August 30, 2014, with 252,092 attendants.

5. It was named the best state fair in the nation by USA Today readers.

6. Theodore Roosevelt first uttered his famous line “Speak softly and carry a big stick” at the state fair in 1901.

7. Since it began more than 150 years ago, the state fair has only not been held five times (see the reasons why here).

8. The current site is not the fair’s original home. Before 1885 when it settled permanently in Falcon Heights (adjacent to St. Paul neighborhoods Como & St. Anthony Park), the fair jumped from city to city, including Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Red Wing, Owatonna, and Winona.


Photo Credit: “PrincessKay” by Jonathunder © 2010 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

9. Each year, the newly crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her royal court have their likenesses carved out of a 90 lb. block of butter. Each sculpture takes about 6-8 hours to complete.

10. For several decades, the soon-to-be-renovated Machinery Hill housed the largest annual display of farm equipment in the world.

11. Before moving to the Walker Art Center and eventually to CHS Field (its current venue), the Cat Video Festival was held at the State Fair Grandstand.

12. Owatonna native Lillian Colton created Crop Art for the fair for over 40 years, winning nine purple ribbons in all. Her work included portraits of celebrities ranging from Prince to Princess Diana.

13. The oldest amusement ride at the fair is Ye Old Mill, which just celebrated its 100th birthday last year. 

14. Meanwhile, the Hamline Church Dining Hall is the longest running concession stand, having been open since 1897.

15. Pronto Pups, a highlight of the fair for many, were first introduced to fairgoers in 1947.

16. New food offerings this year include spam sushi and macaroni & cheese curds. Talk about decadent!

17. Perennial favorite Sweet Martha’s Cookies (soon to have a third location in the north end), serves over 1 million warm chocolate chip cookies per day.

18. What goes better with cookies than milk? Nothing! To satisfy your dairy craving, head on over to the All-You-Can Drink milk booth, where approximately 26,000 gallons of the creamy stuff is served per year (in both white and chocolate varieties). If that sounds like a bit too much lactose for you, consider participating in the Milk Run instead – all participants receive a Milk Run T-shirt, fair admission, and a malt coupon.

19. If walking is more your speed, there is a year-round Fair Walking & Cell Phone Tour, which was created in partnership with the Minnesota Historical Society to provide a more detailed guide of the fairgrounds.


Photo Credit: “Fairchild” by Jonathunder © 2009 (CC BY-SA 3.0)

20. You know those gopher mascots you immediately identify with the fair? Believe it or not, they actually have names (Fairchild and his nephew Fairborne) and backstories.

Were you surprised by any of these facts? What are your favorite State Fair traditions? What are you most looking forward to at this year’s Get Together? Let us know in the comments!

Featured Image Photo Credit: “2010 MN State Fair crowd” by Anndelion © 2010 (CC BY 3.0)

50 Places in Minnesota to Celebrate 4th of July, 2014

Fireworks @ Taste of Minnesota, Saint Paul
“Photo Credit: “Fireworks @ Taste of Minnesota, Saint Paul” © 2007 by Tony Webster (CC BY 2.0)

Can you believe America is turning 238 years old in 2014? We’d swear she doesn’t look a day over 237. Well, anyway, as the good old US of A gets ready to celebrate Independence Day once again, you’re probably preparing your picnic baskets and poppers for the holiday. Minnesota is bursting with events over the next couple of days, and if you have yet to make 4th of July plans, look no further than at the information below. First, find your nearest city in the table (scroll past the map) and click on an event name to see the parades, concerts, festivals and dazzling fireworks displays happening in that area. Then, click on the corresponding event name in the map for specific location details.

Near the Twin Cities




1 Red, White & Boom Minneapolis
2 4th of July Celebration Powderhorn Park
3 Freedom Days Apple Valley
4 Blaine Festival & Fireworks Extravaganza Blaine
5 Summer Fete Bloomington
6 4th of July Celebration Chanhassen
7 July 4th Funfest Eagan
8 4th of July Hometown Celebration Eden Prairie
9 Independence Day Parade & Fireworks Edina
10 4th of July Celebration Excelsior-Lake Minnetonka
11 Independence Day Celebration Fort Snelling
12 Pan-O-Prog Lakeville
13 4th of July Richfield
14 July 4th Fireworks Celebration St. Louis Park
15 Manitou Days White Bear Lake

Greater Minnesota

16 Delano 4th of July Celebration Delano
17 Fireworks on Garrison Bay Garrison
18 4th of July Fireworks Sleepy Eye
19 4th of July Celebration Albert Lea
20 67th Annual 4th of July Fireworks St. Cloud
21 Detroit Lakes Fireworks Display Detroit Lakes
22 4th of July Celebration Elysian
23 MSUM 4th of July Celebration Moorhead
24 4th of July Celebration Keewatin
25 4th of July Celebration Erhard
26 Hometown 4th of July Park Rapids
27 4th of July Fireworks Over Lake Waconia Lake Waconia
28 4th of July Celebration Hill City
29 Stars and Stripes Day Fourth of July Celebration Pequot Lakes
30 Old-fashioned Fourth of July Worthington
31 4th of July Parade Grand Marais
32 Lakefest 4th of July Festival Waseca
33 4th of July Celebration Moose Lake
34 Fourth Fest 2014 Duluth
35 Fourth of July Celebration Eveleth
36 Crosslake Celebrates America – 44th Annual Fireworks Crosslake
37 4th of July American Celebration Brainerd
38 Spectacular Fireworks Fairmont
39 Harmony’s 4th of July Celebration Harmony
40 Fourth of July Celebration Stillwater
41 Old-fashioned 4th of July Celebration St. Peter
42 4th of July Veterans’ Celebration Cloquet
43 Old-fashioned 4th of July Celebration Baudette
44 4th of July Fireworks on Pokegama Lake Grand Rapids
45 4th of July Celebration Biwabik
46 Patriotic 4th of July Celebration New Ulm
47 4th of July Parade & Fireworks Crane Lake
48 4th of July Parade Afton
49 Annandale 4th of July Annandale
50 Walker 4th of July Walker


Plan on attending any of these celebrations? Did we miss the event happening near you? Let us know in the comments!