It’s only been ten days since the end of the 2023 edition of the Minnesota State Fair, but I’m already missing it (and looking forward to next year). I went three times this year and loved every minute of it (except for the shorts emergency – more on that later). We finally got to cross Duran Duran off the concert list and continued the tradition of having all four us there on Labor Day ❤️.
This was not a big new food and drink year for me, but I did try a few:
- Lime Time Cider (Sociable) – LuLu’s Public House
- Candy Apple Hard Cider (Sociable) – Giggles’ Campfire Grill
- Porkette Breakfast Sandwich – Peters Hot Dogs
- Cheesecake Curds – LuLu’s Public House
- Galabao – Union Hmong Kitchen
We also wanted to try the raised donut from Peachey’s Baking Co., but there was no way I was waiting in that line outside the Eco Experience building (which we heard people saying was a two hour wait). Here’s a picture instead:
We liked the cheesecake curds and had those twice. The galabao was spicy and good (the lines this year were long, but moved fast). I loved the breakfast hot dog from Peters. Our friend Mike highly recommended the lime cider, but it didn’t knock me out. The candy apple one had a literal apple slice that they poured caramel over, so that was interesting. Still prefer regular Duluth Cider over anything else right now.
This year was really all about the classics for me: had the onion rings and French fries three times each, ate a bunch of pronto pups, visited the corn roast twice and had some black cherry Lift Bridge and Sweet Marthas multiple times. I have to say, the inconsistent pronto pup experience during the pandemic special events has now unfortunately translated over to the big show – not every one this year was consistently excellent.
We picked up the annual button on the first day (not our favorite design, but still free from all info booths now) and I grabbed one of the History Walking Tour brochures (which were very well designed). Next year I intend to do the entire walk, get the stamps and collect the free prize. We also need to pay more attention to the animal barn schedules, as we didn’t get to see any animals in the poultry barn until the last day (and most of the chickens were already gone).
This was the first year for new CEO Renee Alexander and I hope she was happy with the end result (even if there was only one record-setting attendance day this time – 164,741 on the first Friday). I love watching that page every day of the fair and hope to see the big record get broken again one of these years. If they keep doing the spring event (which was fun with the Milk Run), it might be awhile before the regular fair breaks that mark again.
And as for the shorts emergency? Well, I was wearing some light tan shorts when we went to the dairy building for malts. I went to sit outside on the stone wall next to the Haunted House, but did not see the melted chocolate ice cream there and had a dark, gooey mess in an unfortunate location on the back of the shorts. Thankfully Colleen was able to find a vendor in the dairy building selling clothes and I was able to discretely get to a bathroom to change into a new pair.