Let it all out: Tell us why you hate the fair

The State Fair has been unleashed: Twelve days of delectable fried foods, adorable baby farm animals and long-standing family traditions. Or, if you look at it another way, it’s nearly two weeks of traffic, sweaty crowds, people chugging milk and strangers parked on your front lawn.

The State Fair may be the great Minnesota get-together, but some people just want to get away from it.

Consider this your outlet, fair haters. We know you’re out there. As the news and every social media feed fills with stories and selfies from the fairgrounds, tell us what you don’t love about the fair.

Did you get lost in the crowds as a kid? Dumped by your girlfriend on the SkyRide? Spit on by a llama? Let’s hear it.

  • joetron2030

    I don’t hate the Fair, I just don’t enjoy wandering through large crowds if I have the option not to. My wife and kids are at the Fair as I type and I’ll enjoy their time there vicariously through pics on social media and when I talk to them later tonight.

    • This…everything you just said except for the “kids” part – They are adults now and aren’t at the fair at the moment.

      If there WAS a show I’d like to see at the Grandstand, I’d go, but just for that…

      /And I’d hit the Art building because some of the stuff in there is worth seeing.

  • Kassie

    The only thing I hate is that others love it as much as I do, so it is so busy. Luckily, I’ve learned how best to avoid the largest crowds.

    • Al

      Yup, same. #fairforlyfe

  • jon

    You hit most of the high points for me already in the post, but you missed that the news media in minnesota seems to largely forget that there is an outside world for a week, and talk only about how they are broadcasting live from the fair.

    • Gary F

      yep, limited radio and TV for me for the next 10 days because of that.

      • MrE85

        It’s all fake, anyhow. (wink)

        • Jack

          Remind us – when are you speaking at the fair and what booth/stage?

          Thanks Mr. E85

          • MrE85

            Monday, Sept. 4 (Labor Day) at 10 am on the Eco Experience stage.

          • JamieHX

            What are you going to speak about, Mr. E85?

          • MrE85

            The state’s decision to require a 20% biodiesel blend in all of the diesel fuel sold in Minnesota. It starts in May 2018.

    • Winky

      That’s exactly what I was going to mention!

    • Jon, you have this right! The local news media can be counted upon to neglect almost everything else for a week. MPR is still a go-to source all week, though – and there is always a chance I’ll hear Gary Eichten again.

  • Gary F

    I was given Vikings tickets Sunday night and my wife really wants to go the game and all my friends are going to P-Funk.

    For a guy trying to get smaller, its walking into a mine field. I don’t like carnival rides so I don’t do the midway. I’ve seen pigs and chickens before. I’m not looking to buy siding or gutters. Most of the big tractors are gone. I don’t care to see radio and TV personalities.

    The fair is pretty much going to see some music. Arrive a little earlier and get something to eat, then see a show.

    • Rob


      I go to one or two music events, have some corn on the cob and a couple of craft beers, and that’s about it.

      • Jack

        It stopped being a fair for me when the tractors and combines left the building. Anyone else remember the year that there was a combine demolition derby? My parents never sprung for a grandstand event until that one came along.

        Now if my former client were still selling those extra decadent salted cashew rolls, I’d consider feasting again. Oh, so good but definitely not what the doctor ordered.

        • Rob

          Cashews are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and anti-oxidants. So as far as fair food goes, not a bad choice.

          My father-in-law grew up around tractors, and whenever we approached Machinery Hill, he’d close his eyes and identify brands/models/year of manufacture of tractors purely by the sound of their running motors. An impressive if not overly practical feat. Gods rest his soul.

          • val

            What a great story about your father-in-law.

  • AL287

    This will sound terrible to a lot of Minnesotans but in the 25 years I have lived here I have never been to the State Fair.


    I am not comfortable in large crowds so I usually go to the smaller, county fairs which are usually smaller more socially intimate versions of the larger than life State Fair.

    I enjoy the animal barns, especially the rabbits and the arts and crafts barns, too.

    Maybe I’ll go with my new grandson when he is of an age to enjoy it.

    We’ll see.

    • jon

      I’ve only been here 19 years without ever going to the fair…
      I salute you and encourage you to stay strong.

    • kevins

      37 years for me…and no fair affair.

      • Rob

        Affairantly, you have an inordinate amount of will power…

        • kevins

          Hang on Bob…I’ve got to look that word up….

    • Ralphy

      My go to is the Dakota County Fair – the heritage village and vintage tractors are good clean fun for me and the grandkids.

  • JMR

    As an introvert, being around large groups of people for an extended period of time is just not my idea of a good time.

    • Oddly enough, I’m an extrovert but hate large crowds…

      • Postal Customer

        Are we still pidgeon-holing people into introvert/extrovert?? It ain’t the 90s anymore.

        • jon

          It’s a spectrum… and some people in the middle are straight up ambiverts… but yes, introverts and extraverts are still a thing, and some of us still fall on the far side of the spectrum.

        • Nah, I’m just accepting the fact that I am, in fact, pretty extroverted.

        • Rob

          Walter Pidgeon?

      • Rob

        I’m an introvert, but hate small crowds.

    • crystals

      I’ve learned to love going to the fair by myself – it helps me get what I most enjoy out of it without having to worry about anyone else. Sometimes I’m there for two hours, sometimes five. I eat what I want, go where I want, and don’t have to talk unless I want to. It’s really quite glorious.

      • JMR

        What I was trying to convey is that I don’t like being around other groups of people – I don’t mind being with whomever I hypothetically am going to the fair with.

        • crystals

          Yeah, I understood that. Sometimes I go with other people and enjoy that too. Just sharing ideas for other introverts.

    • QuietBlue

      One good thing about the Fair is that it pulls people away from other attractions while it’s happening. It’s a great time to hit up the Zoo, Valleyfair, local parks, etc.

      • Sybil Twilight

        True. It’s one of the best times to visit state parks as well. Or run up to visit the north shore.

        • king harvest

          It’s a good time to visit the Renaissance festival too. It gets more crowded after the fair ends

  • BReynolds33

    I have not understood the allure of the Fair since I was about 14. Far too many people, better food and beer can be had elsewhere, for far less money, and there is absolutely nothing to actually do except walk around and look at things to buy. I can do that online.

    It’s all a big batch of “meh.”

    Oh, and the TV and radio thing. Awful. Don’t understand why we need 12 days of half hour news shows about nothing but the fair.

  • Lois G

    I loved the fair as a kid and even as a young adult but then the luster started to fade as I became more and more aware of the shameful way some animals are treated. Two years ago was my last try. It was over 95 degrees, close to the last day and there was this horrific exhibit in the poultry barn when live chickens were placed next to skinned and hung up chickens covered with flies, next to a bowl of eggs and than a platter of friend chicken. I felt badly for the living birds and for every human who had to walk throught that display of torture and smell rotting flesh. I won’t go back.

  • Barton

    I love the Fair. Mostly. Just not the fellow attendees, the weather or the food.

    But I go right when the doors are open and I’m gone by noon if not before. That way the crowds are small and the (typical) heat/humidity is low. I visit the Creative Arts building and the Grandstand and very little else.

    I think I don’t like the food there because I am there so early. Nothing can turn you off of the food at the Fair faster than smelling the stale grease and spilled beer at 8am. Mini Donuts are the only thing I eat there.

  • Jeff C.

    What I hate is that it doesn’t seem to be inclusive. It’s called “The Great Minnesota Get-together” but it seems set up to be inviting to the Minnesota of the 1940s (minus the farming focus). I don’t see much trying to draw Somali or Hmong or Hispanic or other people of color. Maybe I’m missing it — I don’t spend a lot of time at the Fair. But when I think of The Fair, I don’t think of a Festival of Nations atmosphere — I think of a white suburban atmosphere peeking in on farming culture while overeating on unhealthy food.

    • QuietBlue

      To be fair to the Fair (sorry), I think they recognize this and are trying to be more inclusive. For example, there’s been a Hmong Minnesota Day for a few years now, and the free entertainment has become much more diverse in recent years.

    • Barton

      There will be a booth there from the Muslim community (I just don’t remember who is sponsoring it. apologies). They will be sharing information about their religion and asking questions. And I believe there will be some cultural food and clothing as well from many different countries that are majority Muslim at the booth.

  • Jeffrey

    I don’t hate the fair, it’s just as I get older I find less there that interests me. When I was a kid/teen the Midway was the attraction, now that holds no interest for me. I grew up on a farm, so have seen all the animals many time before. I am also not a fan of the crowds. I feel if I go every 5 years or so it is fine. Surprised to read that George Clinton is playing at the fair – that might get me there this year.

  • Nicky L

    I didn’t move from the east coast to be around so many people at one time ever again.

  • disqus_BkzYWzG47t

    I live and work near the fair and the addition of 100K (minimum) people into the area–which is already busy–is awful. Local streets become parking lots with stalled traffic (its happened already!). Getting out in a car is hard, getting out on a bike feels extra dangerous, so running errands, or going any place in general becomes an ordeal. And its not like a day of it, it is more than a week. While it seems like bus ridership has gone up, there is still way to much extra traffic. People live here, people work here, nothing else stops just because the fair happens, and everyone (i.e. fair coverage) seems to forget that.

  • Scott Erickson

    Yep – the 7,654th radio or TV “personality” breathlessly or snarkily (or whatever their persona is) reporting the 3 new food choices this year. PASS.

    • Bob Sinclair

      Yes, but don’t you just want to meet the world famous Bob Collins in person as he handles the MPR booth?

  • EarthToBobby

    Needs more variety. It’s far too food centric. Acres and acres of the same booths — cheese curds, corn dog, fried monstrosity on a stick — repeated ad nauseam.

  • QuietBlue

    I like going to the Fair every 2-3 years, but not every year anymore; I don’t like it quite enough for that. I’ve been to it so many times by now that I’m fine making it an occasional thing at this point.

  • Kellpa07

    Oh, God, I love the fair! I love the crowds, the heat, the smell of greasy food (and the food itself). I love the art building, the animal buildings, and the miracle of birth center. I love seeing all of the people, ranging from excited and happy to bored and insolent (and that’s just my kids!). I think it’s great seeing the kids who bring their animals after getting them ready and working on them. I love seeing the immigrant communities becoming more involved, and expanding beyond the “International” section at the fair. I love the people watching, the salespeople hawking their wares and seeing the the butter sculptures. I love the new attractions (like the glass blowing, which has been around about three years by now) and the old stand-bys. I love seeing my kids move from being excited little kids to being old enough to wander off on their own and see and do what they want. My wife and I have gone to the fair every year since we met, and have taken our kids every year since their births. I also like the beer at the fair. I will admit, I’m not really wild about the midway, but to each his own.

    • Rob

      Interesting notions of hating the fair. : )

      • Kellpa07

        No rules for me!

    • Dave S.

      How do we flag this comment as inappropriate?

  • johnepeacock

    Man, the thing I hate the most is the delicious corn on the cobb. And the tasty pickle dogs. They’re just gross. Oh, and the hotdish on a stick. Terribly good. The cream puffs are just the worst though. One isn’t enough. It’s terrible.

    The view from the Skyride stinks too, and the art building is just awful.

    I remember fondly the year I went 9 times. It was torture.

  • Postal Customer

    The media makes a huge deal about all the “new” food. In reality, it’s not new, and most of it is just deep-fried something. A few years ago there was some “new” walleye thing that was hyped unmerciful. Turns out it was a plain old fried-walleye sandwich. It all tastes the same, and it all gives me abdominal cramps.

    Also, “we’re broadcasting from the fair!” Oh really? No one has ever done that before!!

  • Postal Customer

    Also, the fireworks. The traffic. The noise. The state fair is not a good neighbor.

    We leave town during the fair for the above reasons and more.

    • Sybil Twilight

      Don’t forget the pervasive scent of stale hot dog water and folks peeing on your lawn on the trip back to the car at the end of the day.

  • Vince Tuss

    The cluelessness of the crowd. Almost got stampeded with my then 1-year-old by people who felt the need to stand as close as possible to the Sweet Martha’s booth rather than leave a path for passers-by. Not to mention those who bring double strollers and then are surprised it won’t fit or it holds up traffic.

    • RBHolb

      The governing authority of the Fair tried to justify its ban on the Hare Krishnas (and, I suppose, other groups) handing out literature while walking through the crowds by saying they impeded the flow of pedestrian traffic. Justice White pretty much laughed that one out of court.

      I have always said that walking through the Fair is like trying to walk through cattle being offloaded at an abattoir, only slower.

      • Vince Tuss

        Pedestrian traffic? No such thing at the fair.

  • X.A. Smith

    I hate the media coverage of fair food. Give it a rest.

    • Rob

      If the media’s coverage of fair food is fair and balanced, I’m O.K. with it.

      • Bob Sinclair

        There’s nothing about “fair food” that is fair or balanced.

        • Rob

          Tens of thousands of gastrointestinal tracts would surely agree!

  • Gary F

    No one has mentioned pandering politicians yet.

    Another reason to hate the fair.

  • Ellen Cutter

    I hate the State Fair because it’s so hot, crowded, overhyped and overpriced. Last time we went there were so many rude people shoving, stepping on people, and literally kicking strollers out of their way. Crowds of teenagers being obnoxious and causing trouble. Crowds of drunk adults being sloppy. Super expensive, super greasy food. Long lines for short rides. Garbage everywhere. NOPE NOPE NOPE.

  • Guest

    “Nobody goes there anymore…..it is too crowded.” 🙂

  • Gary F
  • Allie

    We live in an apartment near Como & Raymond and use street parking. There’s no permit parking for our area, so when the State Fair arrives, fair-goers take all of our parking and it can be a real headache to get home. 🙁

    • Sybil Twilight

      Yes, I lived at Fairview and Larpenteur for 7 years. Can’t get out of the traffic to get to work in the morning and sitting in a 30 – 40 minute traffic jam to get that last mile home at night. The only thing I liked about it was going into the ag fields behind the building to watch the fireworks.

  • Tracy Davis Heisler

    Not reading the comments to date, but I have four big reasons for being a fair-hater: Crowded, dirty, smelly, crappy food.

  • Stephanie Benedict

    I hate that it dictates when the school year starts. I hate that I hemorrhage money on food I could pretty much find anywhere. I hate how dirty my feet get. I hate that my family won’t join me in the farm/animal/crafts buildings.

  • EarthToBobby

    Can someone tell me the difference between a pronto pup and a corn dog?

    • Rob

      Corn dog batter is made with corn meal.

      • EarthToBobby


        • Rob

          My bad. Both PP and CD have corn meal batter. But CD batter is sweeter than PP batter.

    • Ralphy

      One of them is “A Weiner Done In A Bun” 😉

  • rocksrcool

    Why would i travel four hours to be trapped in a dusty sea of sweaty troglodytes, gorging themselves on $15 fried cheese loaves served by a person who hasn’t washed their hands after their recent break to visit the livestock building?
    I love fair week though, it grants me a breif respite from the throngs of Swampies that ruin my quiet little fishing town.

  • I thought I was the only person in Minnesota who hated the fair. I have truly found my tribe.

  • Kevin

    Let’s see… Dust, noise, massive crowds, heat, humidity, the unholy olfactory cocktail of grease, hay and animal feces.
    Let’s be honest… I’ve really just aged out of it. The Fair is really intended as a substitute outdoor MOA for teens and pre-teens to roam and have their own special brand of teen and pre-teen fun. That’s when I loved it, anyway.

  • val

    I wish the fair Board could figure out how to get food at the fair that is appealing to all the communities that live here. The food options send such a strong message that the fair doesn’t value welcoming communities that haven’t been well represented there.

  • Karen Sandberg

    It’s too crowded and usually very hot & humid. The crowds give me a headache and the food gives me a bellyache. Even the smell. So I don’t go. There’s plenty of folks that love it.

  • Deborah

    I hate going to the state fair because it’s crowded. Food on a stick is unhealthy. And seeing animals in tight quarters while humans look at them is not ideal. I can’t understand the excitement about the state fair.

  • Mark Heutmaker

    Over rated
    Over hyped
    Over priced