The Minnesota State Fair is in full swing. Do you plan on going? I know a lot of people that plan on attending the fair and a lot of people that don’t, for various reasons. I sure love the fair and missed not being able to attend last year. Unfortunately, this year, it’s also not in the cards for me. However, that doesn’t mean I can’t enjoy some delicious fair food at home, and you can do the same!
First off, I want to share with you a link to a blog I wrote last year. The blog is called Your Favorite MN State Fair Food…at Home, because that’s what the blog is about – creating and enjoying all the classic state fair foods in the comfort of your own home. I wrote this blog because the fair was cancelled last year and wanted to give everyone the option of still eating fair food. Now you could obviously drive around and find food trucks located all over town, but I like to cook, and it was fun creating these recipes.
The link to the blog can be found here. It includes the following recipes:
Handhelds and On-A-Stick!
- Fresh Squeezed Lemonade
- Flight of Beer
- Flight of Wine
If you aren’t in the mood to make your own fair food, you can still enjoy some classics at home! Your local Festival Foods sells a large variety of state fair brands and other items that can be considered fair food (just be a little creative :)).
Let’s start with Sweet Martha’s Cookies. These are a classic and something everyone gets at the fair…in a bucket no less. You can find 5 different flavors of cookies in the frozen section of Festival Foods. That’s almost better than the fair because you have more options that just chocolate chip (if you ask me). These cookies are also pre-portioned so all you must do is preheat the oven, place the dough on a baking sheet, bake for a short amount of time, and you have warm, fresh cookies right from the oven. Grab a glass of milk and enjoy!
You can also buy fresh local sweet corn and grill it at home. This is one of my favorite foods at the state fair. It’s so simple but I look forward to it every year.
Nordic Waffles are available in the freezer section of your local Festival Foods in 2 flavors. Now these aren’t fresh off the press but if you let them thaw, it’s a quick microwave time to cook. Then drizzle on some maple syrup and they are quite tasty. The options are both breakfast sandwich flavors – bacon or sausage with egg, wrapped in a waffle.
Green Mill has a booth at the fair and usually offers pizza or calzones of some kind. You can find Green Mill products in the freezer section as well so pick up a few pizzas or some breadsticks and enjoy Green Mill at home.
Thelma’s Ice Cream and Sara’s Tipsy Pies are vendors with frozen options available for purchase in grocery stores. You can pick up an ice cream sandwich in a variety of flavors or buy one of the Tipsy Pies (also in a variety of flavors) to enjoy at home. Both have been taste tested and I assure you, they are delicious! They are also large enough to split so you can share with others and sample a little of each.
State Fair Corn Dogs and fresh corn dogs are also available. The State Fair Corn Dogs are frozen for you to take-and-bake and come in a variety of options, standard corn dogs, mini corn dogs, and beef corn dogs. The fresh corn dogs are available in the deli as a hot / fresh item. They are a seasonal item so make sure to get them while you can or inquire with the deli staff for availability.
Cheese curds are a classic state fair food. You can either eat them as is or batter and deep fry them. This is a great recipe for cheese curds, if you don’t have your own – Beer Battered Cheese Curds.
The soft pretzel bites are enough to feed a crowd. They come served in a “bucket” with cheese sauce for dipping. They remind me of not just the state fair but also food at a ball game.
Fried chicken isn’t necessarily a fair food but perhaps it could replace the turkey legs or other meat-based items. It’s hot, fresh, and delicious. Pair it with some of the fresh french fries from the deli and you have a wonderful meal.
If you are headed to the meat section of the grocery store, stop by for a boneless pork rib on a stick, shrimp skewers, or kabobs.
The boneless pork rib on a stick is the perfect fair food item because it already comes on a stick. Simply cook and enjoy. You can even walk around while you eat it for the full state fair effect.
Shrimp skewers or as I like to call them during the state fair…. shrimp on a stick. These are available in 2 flavors, garlic pepper or chili lime. Simply grill and enjoy.
The kabobs are available in a variety of flavors as well, beef, chicken, salmon, and veggie. There is a booth at the state fair that offers deep fried veggies on a stick, so this is a similar but healthier option 🙂 Like I mentioned above with the shrimp skewers, don’t view them as “skewer”. View them as food on a stick so they fit with the state fair theme a little more! Simply grill and enjoy.
Don’t forget to swing by the produce section. This takes the place of the horticulture building where you can see the giant pumpkin, Christmas trees, flowers, etc. Grab some fresh apples and apple cider to enjoy at home. I like to stop by the apple orchard booth in the horticulture building for a cider freeze and fresh cider, so this is like the next best thing.
Stop by the baker for some donut holes or fresh donuts. It’s definitely not the same as the fresh mini donuts you can get around the fair but still fills the void! Or grab an apple pie or pumpkin pie and pair it with some vanilla or cinnamon ice cream. Have you ever had food from the Minneapple Pie booth? It’s amazing and you should go sometime but this is a delicious alternative option.
Other “snacky” items available at your local Festival Foods includes fresh popcorn and taffy. Instead of getting the taffy from the vendor outside the food building, pick up a bag or 2 of Sweet’s Salt Water Taffy.
The fresh popcorn is available in a variety of flavors including caramel, double cheddar, classic, kettle, and sunny pop, and can also be purchased in a variety of mixes where the flavors are combined in one bag.
If you are looking for beverages, this is a great recipe for lemonade – Fresh Squeezed Lemonade. I think it’s just as good, if not better, than the jumbo lemonades you get from vendors all over the fair. And it makes a big batch so you can enjoy it for a few days.
One place we always visit at the fair is the craft beer booth or Summit on a Stick. You can get a flight of 4 beers in a variety of options or visit the Summit booth for beer on a stick. Both are easy to carry around so you can drink while you walk the grounds. Instead, you can purchase been from local craft breweries and set up your own beer (or even wine) tasting at home.
I’m sure I’m missing some food options, and this definitely isn’t the same at being at the Great Minnesota Get Together, but I hope it’s a decent compromise and way for you to still enjoy the fair in the meantime. Hopefully next year we will be 100% back to normal and I won’t be finding creative ways to bring the MN State Fair to your home 🙂 But let’s be honest, I like to cook and create new recipes, so you’ll still be hearing from me…. but perhaps not during the fair (wink)
Happy Cooking! And Happy State Fair!