The 5 Phases of the Minnesota State Fair

Over 100,000 attend the Minnesota State Fair on weekend days, and each of them asks the same question: "Why did I eat that?"

Today, I get to see what the quintessential Minnesota experience is all about. I’m heading to the Minnesota State Fair this afternoon for work, where I’ll be surrounded by all manner of fried food on sticks, though I’ve been told I cannot eat any of it. Our client is a health-care provider. Apparently grease dripping from my fried-alligator-on-a-stick doesn’t gibe with their public image.

So be it. I’m probably dodging a bullet, because according to my Facebook feed, the average Minnesota State Fair-goer experiences the Great Minnesota Get-Together in the following five phases:

Phase 1 — The Arrival: Holy crap! Look at all of the rides! Is that an omelette on a stick? Either I’m getting blood clots or inducing vertigo! Booyah!

Phase 2 — The Indulgence: This deep-fat-fried ham I’m eating is delicious! So is this stout beer! I can’t feel my legs!

Phase 3 — The Exploration: I don’t remember the Tilt-a-Whirl making me so nauseous! Where are the other adults?!

Phase 4 — The Aftermath: (Overwhelming sadness. Silence. Despair. Slight jaundice.)

Phase 5 — The Empty Pledges: “Hey guys, want to leave the State Fair and never come back again in our lives?”

About 1.8 million attended the Minnesota State Fair last year, as year after year it’s one of the largest state fairs in the country. (Texas holds the crown, but only because it runs twice as long.) I’m generally opposed to huge crowds, sweltering heat, carnies and horny teenagers running amok, but I love Minnesota. This is a celebration of the state’s culture, no matter how folksy and fattening it gets. It’s the last hurrah before the weather turns and we’re trapped indoors for six months. (This justifies the gluttony — mammals must feast before hibernating.)

Today’s more work than play, but I’ll snap some footage for those of you who haven’t been or haven’t even heard of the Minnesota State Fair. (That means you, daily reader from Turkey.) For those who have been, why do you go? What brings you back? What’s the fair’s biggest selling point?

2 thoughts on “The 5 Phases of the Minnesota State Fair

  1. The rides are nice, but Valleyfair is better. And the music is OK, but we live in an area with no shortage of great concerts. But there are 5 great things about the Minnesota state fair, and these 5 are reasons to come back year after year…

    1. Fry Dogs (corn dogs covered in french fries) from the Blue Moon (and movies from the 40’s)
    2. Cheese Curds from The Mouth Trap
    3. Karaoke all day at the Treasure Island building
    4. Bucket of Sweet Martha’s Cookies (Bonus: Bottomless glass of milk for $1 nearby)
    5. People. Yes, the Great Minnesota Get-Together is some of the best people watching of the year. Don’t act like you don’t do it. :)

    Take in all 5 in one day, and you’ll be ready to leave, but waiting for next year.

  2. I only made it to the MN State Fair once and remember going to see a man that weighed over 600lbs-not exactly what dreams are made of and that was over 30 years ago!

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