It started in 1854 as a Territorial Fair, because (10 points if you already knew this) Minnesota was not a state until 1858. In 1859 it was officially named the Minnesota State Fair.
It is always held on the 12 days leading up to and after Labor Day. This year's fair will run from August 27 through September 7, 2015.
The State Fair employs about 80 fulltime year-round employees. 300 are hired to work as seasonal help and 2500 work at the fair only.
The Fair is run as 'almost' a separate entity from the State of Minnesota and is run by the State Agricultural Society. The Society represents all 87 county fairs in the state.
Did you know there is a K-12 Competition (for Kindergarten through Grade 12)? You can enter artwork, sewing, jewelry, or writing projects. There is also a Technology Education division where people enter architectural drawings, photograpy items, welding projects, woodworking, CO-2 cars and solar powered boats.
And of course there are the traditional adult competitions. You can win a ribbon or a prize for excellence in these categories:
- Needlecraft---Quilts and hand stitching
- Garment making
- Handcrafts, including things made from wood or metal, models, and dolls
- Collections, such as stamps or post cards
- Baked goods, like cakes, cookies, pies
On August 30, as it does every year, the State Fair will sponsor the annual 5K Milk Run, from the St Paul campus of the University of Minnesota through St Anthony Park.
There will be Celebrity Agri-Lympics with local celebrities trying their skills at:
- Hand-milking cows
- Animal Calling
- Wool Packing
- Butter carving
Princess Kay of the Milky Way is selected before the beginning of the fair.(She is rarely actually named Kay). This young lady will come from a background where she has knowledge of the dairy farming industry and will serve as a goodwill ambassador for them during her year's reign.
One of the quirky displays at the fair is the butter sculpture of Princess Kay. She will sit in a refrigerated booth surrounded by glass while the sculptor works, and visitors can watch the sculpture in progress. It is created from a 90 pound block of butter from a farm in New Ulm. It takes between six and eight hours to complete, and at the end of the fair, the princess can take the butter home with her.
This is last year's Princess Kay, Jeni Haler (ironically, from Carver County) and her butter sculpture:
What are Pinto, Arabian, Draft, Paint, and Appaloosa?
They are types of horses, and you can see them being handled at the State Fair as well. Horse competitions called 'Dressage' take place every year at the Minnesota State Fair.
Here is a list of trivia questions for you: http://www.mnstatefair.org/fun/fair_trivia.html
And the State Fair website for more information about what to see, what to do, where to eat, and what entertainment is available at our Great State Get-Together...