Your handy guide to Minnesota State Fair guides

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Photo courtesy the Minnesota State Fair

There are no right answers here, only personal preferences.

Here’s the issue: Do you like to wing it at the State Fair, veering wherever the sights, sounds and smells take you? Or do you prefer to hit the grounds with a strategic plan of attack — where to park, which barns to hit first, which foods to eat in which order?

If you’re in the wing-it camp, move along. Nothing to see here.

But if you’re a planner, dig into these sites to map out your day (or days) at the State Fair.

This is a splashy site heavy on graphics and sliding images promoting all the fun stuff to do. Once your eyes adjust, you can find all the basic information — maps, schedules, ticket prices and much more.

What’s new: You can print the schedule for just the day you plan to visit, instead of having to print the entire fair schedule.

Don’t miss: The fair Media Guide is a PDF packed with fair stats and trivia.

On your phone: The State Fair mobile site will help you navigate the grounds if you want to geek out and spend time staring at your phone instead of checking out the huge carp in the DNR fish tank.

The state’s largest newspaper put together a solid online guide. The newspaper offers up feature articles, event guides and other good stuff.

Don’t miss: State Fair quiz

Sample question:

Which musical act has made the most Grandstand appearances?

– Six Fat Dutchmen

– Willie Nelson

– Beach Boys

– Alabama

Fat guide: State Fair food calorie counter

Yes, it’s State Fair time, and by the end of today (or any of the 11 following days), many of us will have to pay for the extra baggage that comes with the fair (and we’re not talking about free literature and shopping bags). You know what I mean. That roasted ear of corn with butter that dribbles down your arm comes at a cost. So do the French fries dangling from your fingers. As for the cheese curds? Well, eat them slowly, because it will take plenty of time to burn them off.

FOOT-LONG HOT DOG

With bun, condiments, 540 calories, 31 g fat, 5.5 miles to walk

The Pioneer Press put together a slick interactive feature that makes it easy to cruise through maps and schedules.

Don’t Miss: The Daily Corndog — A minute at the State Fair

Disclosure: I work here.

Don’t miss: Cool large-format pictures of fairgrounds architecture.

Don’t miss II: State Fair live web cam

This Twin Cities entertainment site put up a good package of fair-related features.

Don’t miss: Guide to free music at the fair.

One of the things we love about the Minnesota State Fair is all the free stuff. If you’ve already paid the admission price, you might as well get your money’s worth. We’ve scoured through the many free shows and picked out the best ones. From country to rock, this year’s free stages are packed with some great performers ready to get you on your feet and ready to groove.

Don’t miss: WCCO prizes and free stuff

WCCO is once again giving away prizes and selling stuff at the Minnesota State Fair. Check out some of the cool things you can get this year like the energy saving hat shown below, given free to all fairgoers while supplies last.

Blogger Bill Roehl has penned several fair-related posts worth your time.

Don’t miss: New food at the fair

My must dos are the O’Gara’s sweet potato tots, Manny’s Tortas, and the Korean Moon BBQ tacos. Kinda sad that the list is so short but I suppose that leaves me more room for all my favorites such as fried green tomatoes, roasted corn, beer, stir fry with tons of Sriracha, olives on a stick, etc.

New this year: State Fair bingo cards

After looking through the Great Minnesota Get Together Bingo Cards available, we decided that a handful of the options were not appropriate and The Wife set out on a mission to recreate these cards with her own options based on personal observation and research done, via Flickr, of the people and things seen at the MN State Fair. In addition to those more suited for adults, she has also created a series of cards just for children which include mostly animals and State Fair booths. The Wife went on to add more than 100 new options. Wow!

Children’s book author and illustrator Debra Frasier captures the sights and sounds of the Minnesota State Fair in her new children’s book, “A Fabulous Fair Alphabet.” Frasier is the Minnesota State Fair Foundation’s “author-in-residence.”

Don’t miss: As a companion to the book, Frasier created sheets to encourage kids to write down words they see at the fair. Parents can download the game on Frasier’s web site.

She also shot a promotional video:

This is a blog dedicated to the State Fair. Click through to delve into one man’s obsession.

Example:

One day left, and then it’s back to the fair. After 10 years of posting daily photo sets (don’t believe me? check the “120 days at the fair” link under “State Fair Pictures” in the side bar), it’s time to relax a bit. I still plan to go every day, and many days I will be toting around my camera. But I’m just going to do photography excursions when I have the dedicated time for it. The rest of the time I will just have to content myself with being a mere prop on Minnesota’s grandest stage.

Don’t miss: He’s on Twitter, too:

THE GREAT MINNESOTA GET-TOGETHER HAS OFFICIALLY OPENED! First Pronto Pup, here I come! #mnstatefairless than a minute ago via web

Another fair blog. It is dedicated to “The people and the patterns; the colors and the comedies; the peculiar and the provocative.”

Don’t miss: Beyond the Stick’s fair photo blog.

The magazine did a nice sneak peek at the fine arts contests

Artist and l’etoile homie, Dillon Bakke and photographer Mallory Lighter got a sneak peek of this year’s Fine Arts show at the State Fair, and we’re pleased to see some familiar faces! Around 400 Minnesota artists were accepted to the annual juried show, plucked from a pool of thousands of submissions. The Fine Arts Building (located on the corner of Randall & Cosgrove) is a great place to lay eyes on new work from artists–some known, some unknown–hailing from all around the state.

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