Iowa Doesn’t Have Squat on Minnesota

A week or so ago, BS shared with us the best the  Iowa State Fair has to offer.  Well, as many of the comments on BS’s post suggested, when you’re talking state fairs and you’re talking food, the Minnesota State Fair is really where it’s at.

Now I really am not one to toot Minnesota’s horn without cause.

I’m an East Coast gal (not born but bred), and I have a sufficiently obnoxious amount of regional and state pride.  I attended undergrad in Saint Paul, Minnesota and I was routinely disappointed with a lot of its food: cheese, bagels, pizza, Chinese. I was lactose tolerant then and had to school those MNers about the travesty that is Wisconsin cheddar; the closest thing to a sharp Vermont Cabot was Canadian Black Diamond cheddar.

However, Minnesota has the State Fair food superiority on lock down.


Exhibit 1

Check out the video above by Minnesota Public Radio’s Curtis Gilbert. The dude only eats MN fair food and then visits a doctor to measure the presumptively deleterious effects on his health.

At the fair Gilbert gorged himself on scotch eggs on a stick, big fat bacon on a stick, deep fried gator, deep fried twinkies and pork chops among other foodstuffs (I hope he didn’t forget the fried cheese curds!)

Surprisingly Gilbert finds that binging on the fair food, for one day, actually brings his bad cholesterol level down…Could it be that MN State Fair food is actually good for us? Well the deep fried twinkies most certainly are.

More proof after the jump…


Exhibit 2

Princess Kay of the Milky Way is the Beauty Pageant held every year at the Minnesota State Fair. The Dairy Princesses from across the state are awarded the honor of having their likenesses carved in butter for all the fairgoers to admire.

As Wikipedia explains:

Since 1965, sculptures of the winning Princess Kay and other finalists have been carved, one per day, at the Minnesota State Fair. Recent butter sculptures have been carved out of a 90 pound block of Grade A butter, in a walk-in, glass-walled refrigerator. The butter carving booth is one of the most popular exhibits at the Fair. The carving of the butter sculpture takes 6-8 hours per finalist. Princesses take their butter sculpture home with them at the end of the Fair.


Exhibit 3

Oh the t-shirts! Does Iowa have t-shirts which proclaim “What’s the point of eating if it’s not on a stick?” In fact, maybe that should be the new ES motto!  Minnesotans know that fairs are about one thing, and one thing only: packing on the fat so they can brave the nine long, wintry months ahead!


Exhibit 4

Perhaps the most powerful evidence of MN State Fair Superiority (especially for you rankings-types) are the sheer numbers of people who commit themselves to hours in a sweaty sea of humanity. In fact Minnesota has traditionally  set the record for the most people to attend a state fair on one day.  This year 114,439 people attended the Minnesota State Fair on opening day.

According to the DC Examiner:

The largest single day crowd: Saturday, September 2, 1995, when 225,249 fairgoers made there way through the turnstiles. On an average day at the fair, you are competing with 140,000 others for your chosen thing-on-a-stick….

The question as to the “largest state fair in the U.S.” seems to be continually at issue. Several sources say it “may be the largest,” but the closest thing we can say with any certainty, is that it IS the largest in terms of daily attendance (see above). The Texas State Fair, for example, has a greater overall attendance, but runs twice as long. They also don’t have near the number of stick-pierced foodstuffs. It has, however, been determined by a number of unnamed sources that the Minnesota State Fair is far and away the greatest.

So please BS, next time you direct ESers to check out a top ten food list featuring state fair foods, don’t you dare turn anywhere but  the best frackin fair in the nation! Iowa Shm’iowa!

The MN State Fair is open through Labor day this year.  Stop by and have a bloomin’ onion and some fried cheese curds for me!

Video: Minnesota Public Radio / Photos: The Big Stuff Project;; Wikimedia Commons; DC Examiner

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  • BS September 3, 2009  

    point taken. Only one complaint. How are you gonna hate on wisconsin chedda and then extol the virtues of fried cheese curds? What do you think those babies are made from, brie?

  • tubbytele September 3, 2009  

    Fried cheese curds are the shit. But gater on a stick? That doesn’t sound very Minnesota authentic to me!

  • La Morgan September 3, 2009  

    Don’t forget the tub of slightly underbaked chocolate chip cookies & gallon of fresh milk stand! That was the bomb. Recommended to split with at least five people.

  • Maids September 3, 2009  

    @BS – My point on the Wisconsin cheddar: It just doesn’t do the job that Vermont cheddar does on crackers and such. Plus there is some kind of secret agreement among the Cabal of States of the Great Northern Midwest to never allow Vermont cheddar to cross their borders … that ticked me off and sparked an east coast snob attack in my heart.
    However, I would NEVER suggest that VT cheddar should be used as the base ingredient of fried cheese curds. Fried cheese curds should be all chew and goo and grease and mild cheesy flavor. The sharp complexity of a VT cheddar would be lost inside all that deliciousness.

  • Nee Nee September 3, 2009  

    Maids – you are spot on re: VT chedder vs. WI chedder. It’s important to add that curds are an early product of all chedder cheese-making. (Because they are so close to our 51st state, Vermonters use their curds in Poutine. They really should learn to fry it and serve it at the state fair.) All chedder is a curd at one stage of it’s life. Then it goes onto aging, processing, and blockmaking. Basically it’s the superior processing and aging techniques of the Vermonters that give us the great Hunter’s sharp flavor…and their refusal to dye their cheese with yellow # 5, or whatever it is.

    I think I found Cabot once in MN. They must have import tarriffs, because I swear it was at least $50/lb.

    I have the fiercest craving for some curds now!

  • Steff September 3, 2009  

    This is a very touching tribute to the Fair. And informative! I didn’t know there were t-shirts! But now I have to have one. STAT.

  • Yvo September 3, 2009  

    I love this, and after seeing “Deep Fried & On a Stick” (food-umentary) earlier this year, I am totally going here. But I am most amused that you quote the DC Examiner (and I checked, it’s their mistake, not yours) – and there’s a glaring typo! “…made THERE way…” (emphasis mine) – yes, the little word nerd in me was like WTF. Ok. That’s all.

  • Alex September 3, 2009  

    Pray tell, how does one bring home a butter bust?

  • Maids September 3, 2009  

    @Alex – hmmm… Good question I would guess that they wrap it in some kind of hard material to protect the butter princess’ features and then they place it in a cooler to drive it home? Maybe it is frozen rock solid from its time in the glass enclosed cooler at the fair? The creepy part would come when you get your bust home and place it on the dining room table for you and your family to carve away at for the months/years to come….

  • OMGYeahYouKnowMe September 3, 2009  

    Whatever MPR’s Curtis Gilbert found out about his cholesterol level, this fair food reminds me of why a public health care option is an absolute necessity – the American cultural archetypes encourage such unhealthful food choices.

  • OMGYeahYouKnowMe September 3, 2009  

    That being said, I’d rather gnaw on any of this fair food to having some other guy’s finger tip to chew on…

  • צימרים בדרום November 8, 2011  

    צימרים בצפון עם בריכה זולים צימרים ברמות נפתלי עם בריכה צימרים למשפחות בצפון בזול צימרים עם בריכה בצפון זולים

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