For 12 days in late August through Labor Day weekend, swarms of fairgoers descend upon the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. Few state fairs are as well known as Minnesota’s. It’s the largest state fair by daily attendance and second in overall attendance behind Texas, which runs for three weeks. What makes The Great Minnesota Get-Together such a draw? I have to imagine it has something to do with the food.
At least, that was what I found during my experience as a first-timer at the 2016 Minnesota State Fair. While hosted by the Roseville Visitors Association in the Twin Cities suburb Roseville, I spent two days eating and drinking my way around the State Fair. From my experience, you’ll want to wear comfortable walking shoes and your stretchiest or loosest pants. Also, bring cash to pay for your food and a friend or five to split all of these foods with you.
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Nine Foods You Should Eat At The Minnesota State Fair
As I wandered from vendor to vendor, I noticed foods traditional to the State Fair, a lot of deep-fried foods often served on a stick, and some truly unique foods that were new and instant hits. Whether you visit year after year or are a rookie like I was in 2016, I’ve pinpointed nine foods you should eat at the Minnesota State Fair.
Traditional Favorites Among Minnesota State Fair Foods
Certainly, there is no shortage of traditional carnival treats at the Minnesota State Fair. Here are just a few you can’t miss!
Fairgoers will find these corn dogs made with a not-so-sweet cornmeal batter at several booths around the Minnesota State Fairgrounds. The Pronto Pup has been a Minnesota State Fair tradition since the 1940s, and it combines two common themes among food at the fair — deep fried and served on a stick.
Soft Pretzel With Cheese
A classic fair or carnival food, you’ll find soft pretzels from at least two vendors at “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.” I used a $2-off coupon in the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book to purchase my pretzel with cheese from the Pretzel Factory.
Chocolate Chip Cookies
One of the longest lines at the Minnesota State Fair is for Sweet Martha’s chocolate chip cookies. Sold by the cone or the bucket, you’ll find several Sweet Martha’s vendors around the fairgrounds.
- Roasted sweet corn on the cob
- Ice cream from the Dairy Goodness Bar inside the Dairy Building
- Mini donuts
Deep-Fried Minnesota State Fair Foods
In addition to nightly concerts, amusement rides, and agricultural exhibits, the food is a major reason to attend the Minnesota State Fair. You’ll be amazed by all the foods served fried. While you may have expected to find deep-fried cheese curds at a Midwestern state fair, how about deep-fried candy bars, fruit, or olives? If you just want to indulge in one or two deep-fried fair foods, these are my top picks …
Deep-Fried Cookie Dough
This may sound odd, but this was my favorite food at the fair. The chocolate-chip cookie dough was warm and gooey.
Deep-fried Pickle Slices
The sliced fried pickles come classic, cajun style, or with cream cheese.
- Deep-fried Cheese Curds
- Fried Green Tomatoes
Intriguing Food Finds At The Minnesota State Fair
Another Minnesota State Fair food tradition is the addition of new foods each year. These foods sometimes feature a traditional fair food in a unique way or fuse a traditional Midwestern food with an exotic cuisine. In 2016, one of the wildest new editions fused Minnesota-produced SPAM with sushi. Each of the following foods were new in 2016, but you can see the new foods for 2019 on the Minnesota State Fair website.
Candied Bacon Donut Sliders with Raspberry Wine Slushie
Located in the Minnesota Wine Country pavilion, these candied bacon donut sliders were to die for. They’re candied bacon sandwiched between a mini donut bun and drizzled with balsamic and a dusting of powdered sugar. You should pair them with some Minnesota wine or a flavored wine slushie!
Cheese Curd Macaroni And Cheese
Sold by Oodles of Noodles, this macaroni and cheese had cheese curds mixed in and was paired with a breadstick.
Candied Bacon BLT
At the Blue Barn, you’ll find a candied bacon BLT. Also located here is a Caramel Apple Pi Cider. Yum!
Carpe Diem From The Rabbit Hole
Created by the Rabbit Hole, a Korean eatery at the Midtown Global Market in Minneapolis, this decadent dish featured a miso waffle cone filled with a strawberry balsamic filling, vanilla ice cream, graham cracker crumble, and fresh strawberry. The Rabbit Hole has created a new dish for 2017, which you’ll find at A Taste of Midtown Global Market in the International Bazaar from Aug. 30 to Sept. 4.
Planning to try these Minnesota State Fair foods this year?
Whether you are a season veteran or rookie like I was in 2016, you may find some of the following resources helpful for eating your way around the Minnesota State Fair. I know I felt completely overwhelmed walking into the fair without a game plan!
First of all, I suggest using the Minnesota State Fair’s food finder before you get to the fair to figure out where your favorite foods are located. Also, before you go, check out all the new foods at this year’s fair. Like beer? I found some tasty ones at the 2016 fair, and you’ll find specialty brews for 2019, too. You can also browse the Google map I’ve provided below.
Where To Stay Near The Minnesota State Fair
Are you attending the Minnesota State Fair from out of town? If so, I recommend staying near the fairgrounds in Roseville like I did. From the Home2 Suites by Hilton, I was able to take a shuttle to the buses that run to and from the fairgrounds. You can find hotels near the fairgrounds and compare rates now on TripAdvisor and Booking.com.
You can use the search box below to find and book your hotel now!
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- Tasting Northeast Minneapolis With Twin Cities Food Tours
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