Rediscovering the Minnesota State Fair

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It’s no secret that I love the Minnesota State Fair. Yet, I was a little nervous to return to the fair after traveling this past year. My perspective on the world has changed and I wasn’t sure how the fair would look with my new set of lenses.

The fair was different for me this year. So many things about American culture annoy me and at the fair they are magnified. Yet, the Minnesota State Fair warmed my heart with nostalgia and new experiences. 

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The Minnesota State Fair is 12 days of fun. It is huge. It has the highest number of people attending per day than any other fair in the United States. For the first time in almost 20 years, I attended each and every day of the fair. 

Martin and I worked at our sister-in-law’s family’s German Rootbeer stand for eight hours a day. We would usually arrive a few hours before our shift and stay an hour or two after our shift to experience the fair. This meant that we spent 10-12 hours at the fair for 12 days. For many people 4 hours at the fair on one day is exhausting enough. By day 12, I was delirious with exhaustion. The fried and sugary food didn’t help. Let’s just say I’ll be eating only vegetable smoothies for the next month to recover. 

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Martin tried the Deep Fried Twinkie and said it was delicious! We balanced it out with a bowl of fresh fruit and some kombucha. 

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In the past, I’ve focused a lot on the food of the fair. This year, I focused on experiencing as much of the fair as possible. So, without further ado, here are some highlights from my 12 days at the Minnesota State Fair:

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These 4-Hers are heading home after spending three days at the fair showing their projects. This was me, 20 years ago. I loved seeing the 4-Hers because it brought back so many good memories. I even ran into a couple of old 4-H friends I hadn’t seen in over a decade. 

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The Minnesota State Fair is known for some crazy things – like giant pumpkins, beautiful crop art, and sculptures made from butter. 

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You can’t go to a potluck in Minnesota without seeing a wide variety of bars!

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My favorite day at the fair was the Hmong Minnesota Day. The Carousel Park stage was filled with music, dancers, immigration stories, pageant royalty, and martial artists. The Hmong community in Minnesota is one of the largest in the United States and it is vibrant. 

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Martin even got to learn how to dance from some Hmong grandmas!

Now that the fair is over, we are trying to wrap up our visit to Minnesota and make more concrete plans for the future. My hope is that I will find some work in Thailand to earn some money before we travel some more. 

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