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Eating Through the Minnesota State Fair

By Linnea Covington
August 27, 2013
Photo by: Linnea Covington

Since 1859, the Minnesota State Fair has rocked Minneapolis, and over the decades, it has evolved into a festival not only with rides and live music, but chock-full of unique and decadent fried foods. This weekend kicked off the 10-day festival and, along with the staples like fried cheese curds and corn dogs, fry-tastic offerings also included Cajun pork rinds, deep-fried bread pudding, fried pickles with chocolate and grilled glazed doughnuts, just to name a few. Another thing you can find in abundance at the fair is an array of foods on sticks, from pizza to cheese to an entire spaghetti dinner. Just get there by September 2, before all of the deep-fried goodness goes away until next year.

Ticket info: here.

Photos by Linnea Covington

  • You couldn’t make it through this fair without trying at least one of the many fried cheese curd options.

  • Like poutine, a French fry, gravy, and cheese curd staple from Minnesota’s neighbors in Canada.

  • This is a place where you can find pickles in many glorious forms: fried, drizzled with chocolate or on a stick.

  • Or, pickles wrapped in pastrami with cream cheese.

  • Of course, the most common way to eat is to get your food on a stick, for example, this stick of bacon.

  • A pair of fair-goers munch on pizza on a stick.

  • They even have the iconic Minnesota tater tot hot dish on a stick. This one layers crunchy tater tots and meatballs, then deep-fries them into what's dubbed hot dish on a stick. Plus, you can get a side of lingonberry dip to add a Swedish kick.

  • Meatloaf too can come on a stick, and the wine glaze they put on it makes it doubly tasty.

  • Another dinner-on-a-stick option is the full-on spaghetti dinner, which consists of pasta-stuffed meatballs and Parmesan deep-fried into a ball and dipped in marinara sauce.

  • Finally, don’t forget about the cheese on a stick, that is, if you haven’t had enough fried cheese curds.

  • And for dessert, key lime pie dipped in chocolate on a stick.

  • Or, if you prefer, deep-fried Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups on stick, albeit, more of a toothpick.

  • Let us also not forget the iconic deep-fried Twinkie on a stick, which this master fryer so eloquently demonstrated.

  • We are so glad Twinkies are back, though the man running the stand assured us that they weren’t worried since they had hundreds of boxes stocked up.

  • It’s not on a stick, but these fresh cream puffs had people lining up.

  • According to the locals, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar is a must-have.

  • Especially if you bring a tub of them to the $1 all-you-can-drink milk stand.

  • If milk isn’t your thing, you can find plenty of beer at the fair too.

  • And, clever tastings of Minnesota state wines, including  some made with the Frontenac grape, which was developed to withstand the extreme hot and cold weather of the state.

  • They also serve sweet wine slushies.

  • Finally, no visit to the fair would be complete without a glance at the Butter Princess - sculpted out of butter, of course.

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