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10 Essential Minnesota State Fair Foods

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Everyone has their must-haves at the Great Minnesota Get-Together. These are the first 10 things to eat.

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Pronto Pup

The corn dog vs. Pronto Pup dispute is as ubiquitous as the funnel cake vs. elephant ear, or shaved ice vs. Hawaiian shaved ice. The Pronto Pup, or its rather obscene megasized daddy, Pappa Pup, are dipped in a flour based batter for a crust that is slightly less corny, slightly more creamy than its arch nemesis, the corn dog.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Yelp


Preferred Pickles

Fried Pickles courtesy Yelp

Fried Pickles courtesy Yelp

The tangy slices of pickles are crumb coated and deep-fried for crisp yet tender vinegary goodness, made even better when ordered Cajun style with a side of ranch. Find them on the southwest corner of West Dan Patch and Liggett.


Tom Thumb Mini Donuts

A hand holds tiny, sugar covered doughnuts Eater file photo

Arguably the quintessential Minnesota State Fair food, these plump morsels of sweet fried dough are coated in what appears to be about a cup and a half of cinnamon sugar and served piping hot in a crinkly little bag that says "welcome back to your childhood!"

Image credit: Photo courtesy Pintrest


Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar

So, okay, you could probably bake at least 8,500 cookies at home for the price of a Sweet Martha’s bucket, but what would be the fun in that? These gooey, golden cookies are a rite of passage at the fair, and must be delicately balanced in one hand with a cold glass of milk in the other. This is no small task since they often pile the cookies at least half a foot past the bucket’s rim. The cookie road kill around the Sweet Martha’s stand still haunts my winter dreams.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Yelp


Corn Roast

By the time the State Fair rolls around, most of us have eaten our body weight in sweet summer corn. But nothing compares to the deliciously sloppy ear you are handed at the Corn Roast, little rivers of butter instantly saturating the napkin they kindly wrap around the base. Pro tip: not recommended for a first date. Find them at the southeast corner of Dan Patch and Nelson.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Yelp


Original Cheese Curds

Another food item we tend to eschew during the other 11.5 months of the year, these squeaky little nuggets of cheese are battered and deep-fried to a golden perfection. With a delicate, crispy exterior and gooey, stringy interior, cheese curds must be consumed molten hot for best effect. Find them on the south side of Dan Patch Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Yelp


Dairy Goodness Bar

The Dairy Goodness Bar in the dairy building offers a variety of healthy choices like Greek yogurt and cheese sticks, but hello…Salted Caramel Puff sundaes! This year’s newest offering is a generous serving of soft vanilla ice cream topped with caramel sauce and finished with salty, crunchy puffcorn. Other stand-in-line-for-45-minutes-worthy items are the chocolate malt and a personal favorite, the tangy strawberry rhubarb sundae. Find them on the southeast corner inside Dairy Building.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Yelp


Fresh French Fries

Yes, you can get mind-blowing fries year round at many fine establishments around the metro, but can you spin a giant red and yellow wheel manned by a real live fairy at Saint Dinette? Didn’t think so. At the Fresh French Fries’ location across from the Dairy Building you can, plus you can purchase a bucket of golden fries the size of a newborn to share with friends. Or not.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Yelp


1919 Rootbeer

For about three decades, the Postiglione family has been pouring 1919 draft root beer, made at the August Schell brewery in New Ulm, and have garnered a cult-like following for both their creamy, smooth brew and their fearless leader’s infectious smile. Sadly, Nick Postiglione passed away last August, but his family keeps his spirit and tradition alive and well at their corner stand. Grab one at Outside the Garden, Dan Patch and Underwood.

Image credit: Photo courtesy 1919 Rootbeer Facebook page


Lulu's Blueberry Beer

Last year’s newcomer was the runaway hit of the fair, leading Lulu’s to ration portions of the tart and refreshing Grain Belt’s blueberry beer foam. Blueberry what? Yep, at the Schell’s stand behind Lulu’s Public House, they pour blueberry infused beer into Slushee machines and churn out fresh blueberry frozen foam. It is especially lovely on top of Grain Belt Blu, a not-too-sweet deeply purple brew that is as tasty as it is pretty. Lulu's is at the  West End Market, south of the Schilling Amphitheater.

Image credit: Photo courtesy Lulu's Public House Facebook Page.

Minnesota State Fairgrounds

1265 Snelling Ave N, Falcon Heights, MN 55108 (651) 288-4400 Visit Website