Sunday, September 4, 2011

Bacon on the Hoof

4-H contestants walk their pigs at the Minnesota State Fair. 
We were at the Fair in St. Paul, MN, this weekend. The “Great Minnesota Get Together,” as the Fair is called, almost defies belief. It’s one of the largest state fairs in the country. It dates back to 1859, the year after Minnesota joined the Union. Nearly 160 animals are born at the fair, most in front of a live audience, in the Miracle of Birth barn at the Fair. 
The fairgrounds cover 320 acres and include a large midway, a kiddie midway, a machinery hill that highlights new cars and tractors as well as a large collection of antique tractors, there are barns for horses, cows, sheep, chickens, llamas and more.   
Then there’s the food. Minnesota celebrates its dairy heritage so there’s lots of milk. But there’s also pork on a stick, deep fried candy bars on a stick, salad on a stick, fruit on a stick, chicken on a stick, hot dish on a stick (an unappetizing combination of tator tots and meatballs), hot dogs on a stick (i.e. “pronto pups” and corndogs) and chocolate covered jalapeƱos on a stick. If you don’t like your food on a stick, there are sit down meal halls, sandwiches, deep fried cheese (not on a stick), mini donuts galore, corn on the cob (which is dangerously close to being corn on a stick) and chocolate chip cookies by the bucket load. Literally by the bucket load. There are lots of beverages to wash it all down, from sodas and lemonade to beer (again by the bucket).  
All in all, the Minnesota State Fair, which runs for 12 days, is a treat not to be missed. There are more photos from the fair available from ZUMA Press and in my archive