A couple days ago, I was checking my email, and I noticed a few emails from WordPress that were not from blogs that I follow. So, of course, I opened them. And, much to my surprise, these emails reminded me that I signed up to take Writing 101 through Blogging U this month! I can’t believe that I forgot about it! I have taken Blogging 101 twice, and tried to take Blogging 201 and Photography 101, so I am not new to Blogging U courses. This one should be fun though because it will challenge me to write every day, which is something I would like to be able to do. Or, at least post more often than I already do. My challenge for myself will be to fit the assignments into my own blogging schedule. Hopefully it works!
Today is Day 2! Yesterday’s assignment was talking about why I write (I added a short section in my About Me section covering this prompt). Today, my assignment is to make a list! Funny enough, I was already going to!
One of my favorite things about living in Minnesota (and one of the only things I like about summer in Minnesota) is the State Fair! It’s a huge deal here, so many people go, and it’s HUGE. I have been going every year pretty much since I can remember, and I make a point to go every year. Sometimes more than once!
This year, since my husband and I had given up sugar, we were not really able to go more than once. I do feel lucky that we were able to go, and it was fun as always! I thought that a good list would be 10 Things I Love About The MN State Fair! For those of you who are not from MN or from the US, Minnesota has a pretty big farming community. Definitely not as big as it used to, but it’s still one of the defining features of this state. So part of the state fair is animals and competitions (which I don’t ever go to, since I am a city girl and those things aren’t particularly interesting to me). Another part of the fair (and the bigger part) is food booths, exhibits, and booths for local businesses, etc. There are also rides and games. It’s a pretty good time!
Without further ado, here is my list of my top 10 favorite things about the MN state fair!
1. I love that there is a sense of community that goes along with the fair. I won’t say that people at the fair aren’t annoying (because there are totally annoying people there), but it’s still really cool to be in a small space with a bunch of people who have things in common. Part of that is also running into friends and family there, which seems to happen every time I do. This year, we ran into two of our favorite people (my husband’s best friend and his girlfriend) who had been living in China for the last year, so we haven’t seen them in a long while! It was the highlight of our day to run into them!
2. Trying new food! The food booths at the fair aren’t just normal things like corn dogs and beer. Part of the fun is that there are booths every year that come up with new food and combinations to try. They are not all winners, but they are definitely a conversation starter. One of the more solid new foods that I was able to try this year was the Irish Apple Tipsy Pie, pictured below. It was basically a hand pie of sorts, and it mostly tasted like a regular apple pie, but it was made with 2 Gingers Irish Whiskey! It didn’t have a strong alcohol taste, but you could definitely tell that there was something special about it.
3. Another fun thing about the State Fair is the sight seeing. Essentially, things don’t change much. The buildings are generally the same, and you can usually find vendors in the same place every year. I think that’s part of the charm though. Things are obviously different every year, or else there would be no reason to go. There is something kind of fun about seeing some things change and evolve while others are relatively the same. There are a few restaurants at the fair, like Cafe Caribe (pictured below), and they have been there for as long as I can remember. I’ve never actually eaten anything from them though. I’ve never sat inside one, but it’s fun to walk past them, because they sometimes have live music, and seem really festive!
4. Coffee from the Farmers Union. Like it or not, another thing that defines MN is labor unions. There is a whole area dedicated to the various unions in the state. And, just down the street, the Farmers Union has its own building. This is a definite stop every time I go to the fair. Not only is it just awesome and have some of the nicest people working, it also has the best (private) bathroom on the fairgrounds. And, they serve really fantastic coffee! This year, I tried their Nitro Cold Brew (pictured below). This unique cold coffee was so refreshing and smooth. I wish there was a way to make it at home! I was able to relax with my parents and husband on the Farmers Union patio, and regain some energy over a delicious coffee.
5. And then, there is the walking! I put in lots of miles over the course of the state fair, which makes me feel much less guilty about the copious amounts of food (particularly fried food) that I eat over the course of the day. People watching is so much fun at the fair, because all kinds of people attend. There is also no other way to get to all the food and things you may want to see. Plus walking is good for you!
6. Seeing the way the lights on the rides are lit up at night. Now, I hate going on rides. I was ok with them when I was younger (though I have not really ever been a daredevil), but now, I just don’t have any interest. But, the lights that illuminate all the rides look so pretty at night. It kind of makes the whole thing a little more romantic, which is hard when every 10 feet it smells like grease and there are thousands of people around you. The fair slows down a bit at night, when most of the people have left and everything is lit up. Plus, with the sun down, it is generally less hot and humid than it is during the day.
7. The “old standards”. There are things that I basically have to eat when I go to the fair. Besides the coffee from the Farmers Union, I also have to have lemonade and a pronto pup. A pronto pup is basically a corn dog, except instead of being coated in a cornmeal batter before being deep fried, it’s battered in more of a flour batter before being deep fried. I do not hold a popular opinion that pronto pups are better than corn dogs, but it’s just my preference.
8. Sharing food! Especially now that I have been through a month of no sugar or restaurants and my appetite has decreased, I love to share food! The best part about it is being able to try many different things, instead of only getting a few things and having to eat them all. My husband and I met my parents at the fair, so we were able to split quite a few different food items between the four of us! This is what I got to try: pork chop on a stick (so much of the food at the fair is served on a stick, I think now it’s not only partially an inside joke, but is also a challenge), taco salad, mini donuts, deep fried bacon wrapped olives, nitro coffee, ice cream sandwich, lemonade, wild rice cheeseburger, craft beer battered onion rings (pictured below), tipsy pie, german root beer, pronto pup, and espresso float. I also feel like I’m missing something that I ate. But, since most everything was split, and we walked so much, it didn’t seem like that much food!
9. Live music, everywhere! There are concerts every night at the Grandstand, which I have never been to. You have to pay for admission usually, and for some reason I just have never bought tickets. In addition to those shows, there are free concerts all over the fair, all day long. It adds such a fun element to the fair. Lots of people dance, and it’s just fun. Who doesn’t love live music, right?
10. Finally, one of the things I love about the fair is coming home! I am really introverted and don’t love social situations, so being in public is generally not fun for me. Add on to that the fact that it’s usually really hot and sweaty at the fair, and there are TONS of people. Plus, with all of the walking, it’s a relief to be able to come home. Being able to shower and relax after such a long day feels so good. I always sleep really well after a day at the fair. I love it!
Does anyone else go to something similar? Anyone out there been to the Minnesota State Fair before? Let’s talk about it in the comments!