My First Minnesota State Fair: Attractions

Read about the food and drink I had at the fair.

Click here for fair preparation.

Minnesota State Fair UM display |

Game face: Lots to do and see at the Minnesota State Fair.

As I mentioned in the food and drink blog post, I was happy to learn that everything I really wanted to see is located in the same area. The only must-see attraction on my list was the produce in the Agriculture Horticulture building. I had some other areas I wanted to hit, but that was No. 1. Note: I didn’t get on any rides or see any animals, so if you’re only interested in the birthing center or midway, this post isn’t for you.

I stuck to the east side of the fair. In the end, I saw a lot of attractions which, as a first-timer to the fair, made me happy. All of them would be worth a visit if time permits next time I’m there and I would suggest you do the same if they sound interesting.

Getting Started: Freebies

Minnesota State Fair swag |

Some of the useful swag I got at the fair.

While heading east for where the buses drop you off in the northwest corner, I walked past media booths and glanced around at those. Once I had the cheese curds mentioned in the other post, I walked around Fan Central grabbing a few free goodies (some cheap swag from sports teams and signing up for giveaways) and looking at merchandise for sale. In addition they have displays and interactive activities.

I then went to the Health Fair, which was worth a quick walk through, and I got a reusable bag to hold my other freebies, so score! The next stop was the University of Minnesota room which was pretty neat because they had sports trophies on display and I got some sweet Goldy Gopher shades, in addition to winning a buy one get one free admission to the Minnesota Landscape Arboretum, somewhere I’ve wanted to visit but haven’t been yet.

Next I went to the home improvement display and again signed up for who knows what but what I hope leads to a kitchen remodel.

Minnesota Newspaper Museum

Minnesota State Fair printing display |

Minnesota Newspaper Museum printing display.

Being a former (until just 19 months ago) newspaper gal, I was really looking forward to the next stop: The Minnesota Newspaper Museum. It was fun to see a brief history of printing and the presses related to the state, with demonstrations of the Linotype and Miehle printing presses. Housed in a small room on the street level of the 4-H building, if this is your thing, it’s worth a stop. Former printing operators and the like staff it, and are eager to explain what it all is and answer any questions. And they have pads of paper made from the presses; any journalist can’t go wrong with that.

Eco Experience

This is the place to learn ecology, recycling and overall better living in a very interactive atmosphere. It features many different exhibits for healthy food and living, to home energy consumption, composting transportation alternatives and overall clean living. There are tips and info on how to incorporate these things into your everyday life. Follow the wind turbine blades to find the building.

Horticulture Agriculture building

Minnesota State Fair kohlrabi |

Craaaazy big kohlrabi!

I was ready to see everything in this building, including some monster produce, and that was accomplished as evidenced by the kohlrabi as long as my arm. Beyond crazy and quality regular produce, the building had plants, including interesting displays, flowers, and the beer garden Land of 10,000 beers.

Minnesota State Fair produce display |

Produce competition at the Minnesota State Fair.

I couldn’t get enough or stop looking, fascinated on so many levels of everything this building holds. And I’m preeettttyyy sure I will be entering one of my homemade energy bite recipes in the food competition next year.

Minnesota State Fair plant display |

Creative plant display

Final Thoughts

Overall I was really happy with the crowds (lower than expected), displays and their locations, service for food and drink and overall entertainment value. I purchased advance tickets and took the Metro Transit from a park and ride, so the entire experience was pleasant.

If you have ever been to the Minnesota State Fair, what is your favorite part of it that you just can’t miss?