Are you a State Fair pro?

The Salem Lutheran Church diner at the Minnesota State Fair draws large crowds, long lines — and sometimes good-natured jabs about seating — for its breakfast service. Roger O’Daniel, from Minneapolis, shared this #fairhack: “The best food is NOT served on a stick. Check out the church kitchens for a sit-down meal on a plate. You get a balanced meal that will get you through the day and a place to rest your bones while doing so in a quieter place.”(MPR file Photo/Jeffrey Thompson)

Nobody does a state fair like Minnesota.

And nobody does The State Fair like Minnesotans.

Everyone’s got a fair hack — that little trick that makes you an insider, the one you swear by, the one that makes your trip (or trips!) to the fair the best possible time — till next year.

Clark Gregor of St. Louis Park drives to the U and takes a free shuttle to the fairgrounds.

Aaron Norman (he lives in Rochester) swears the bathrooms at the 4-H building are the cleanest and least-frequented.

Julie Blaha (from Ramsey) is a State Fair superstar. She pre-prints labels with her name, address and phone number for easy sign-ups at all the booths that are handing out free swag.

Lezlee, Jason and Alex Frank’s #fairhack: Bring your bike. “We started biking to the fair a few years ago as a way to avoid the long parking lines at the fair,” Lezlee said. “We get some exercise, enjoy a nice ride through beautiful neighborhoods, and it’s free!”

A handful of folks say the best way to get into the fair is to volunteer. Find an organization you love, sign up for a few hours of work, and get in for free.

So what’s your hack? What’s the absolute best way to see the fair? How do you plan to do it, and what would you tell a newbie fairgoer?

For as many people as there are in Minnesota, there have got to be at least as many #fairhacks.

We’ll be gathering — and sharing — them from now till Labor Day here on the Statewide blog, to help fairgoers see the fair in a new way. So: Share early and return often — and tell your fellow fairgoers (we’re tweeting them, too…). Everyone’s got a #fairhack.

See you on the midway!

  • Wandering Gentleman

    As a transplant to the Twin Cities, I have come to love the State Fair and am excited for my 4th annual visit. My tip is to go to the Miracle of Birth Center first thing when you arrive, before you eat. Here is my list of reasons I love the fair: goo.gl/kzBEIV