What Minnesota celebrities eat, drink and see at the State Fair

The 2022 Minnesota State Fair is almost here, so MPR News reached out to Minnesota celebrities to eat, drink, and see at the Minnesota State Fair. Here’s what they said.

Keith Marler, Fox 9 meteorologist

  • Hani: Since I’m there almost every day, I stick to my “bite and move on” mantra. With all the old favorites and new things I’m exposed to on a daily basis, I’d have to be out of there by Labor Day every year if I finished everything I try. But I’m always a sucker for Al’s Subs biscuits and gravy some mornings and Bayou Bob’s alligator fry at least two or three times.

  • Drinks: A few years ago I was introduced to the wonderful concept of a Fair breakfast beer by a friend, so at least once during the Fair, when the morning show is over, he and I will meet up and toast the morning at the Ballpark Cafe (but only on one day I don’t have to do the 11am show)

  • See: I think the “firsts to see” are simply visiting the thousands of friends I’ve made at the various vendors, booths, and expos over the past 19 years. Most of these people I only see once a year, and so the Fair has really evolved into a crazy 12-day family reunion for me.

Minnesota Governor Tim Walz

  • Eat: Chop pork on a stick.

  • Drinks: Not only do I love visiting the all-you-can-drink milk booth, but this year I’ll be volunteering.

  • See: I’ll miss Linda Christensen’s famous butter carving, but I can’t wait to see Gerry Kulzer take over the butter!

Kate DiCamillo, author

  • Hani: I like to go to the fair very, very early in the morning. I get a burrito for breakfast.

  • Drink: A cup of coffee.

  • See: Animal barns. there is something utterly heavenly about being down there in the early morning. Let me quote EB White (“Charlotte’s Web”): “The barn was very big. It was very old. It smelled of hay and manure. It smelled of the sweat of tired horses and the sweet wonderful breath of cows bearable. There was often a very calm air—as if nothing bad could ever happen in the world.”

Bad Bad Hats, local band

  • Eat: Sweet Martha cookies and a cob of roasted corn.

  • Drink: The first and most interesting sounding beer.

  • See: Giant vegetables at prices.

Jana Shortal, journalist and anchor of KARE 11

  • Eat: Danielson and Sons onion rings

  • Drink: Coldest or freshest local IPA. I will wander far and wide on the grounds to find him.

  • See: Easy — amateur talent show.

Fairborn and Fairchild Mascots, Minnesota State Fair

  • Eat: We love ALL the food at the fair, but as gophers, we’re natural herbivores – so don’t tell it, but we love fixing our snacks on the crops planted near Little Farm Hands.

  • Drinks: We’re naturally partial to the malts from Gopher Dairy Bar. The name says it all!

  • See: Daily Parade of course! It features two of our absolute favorite mascots … USA!

    Fairchild State Fair mascot in 1998

    Courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair Archives

Benjamin Percy, author and screenwriter

  • Eat: Eating is the reason I go to the fair. The hot chicken sandwich at the Blue Barn is a favorite, but I’ll also pop some pronto puppies (not corndogs!) and cream cheese curds and buttered cobs into my mouth. We always review the food listings in advance and bring in some of the new and gourmet offerings as well. I’m definitely going to wear stretchy pants and medicate with a helping of Costco-sized Tums.

  • Drinks: It’s a universally accepted truth that every day I attend the fair turns out to be the hottest of the year. Which means I’m always in the mood for a cold beer. I like the idea of ​​being adventurous and trying some of the more experimental brews, but … I tend to stick to my local IPAs: Surly, Summit and Mad Butcher to name a few.

  • See: My wife was a 4-H kid, so she has a long history with the fair and may be its ultimate fan. She likes to go several times and outline the whole day in advance. I have my favorites, like the haunted house, but I defer to her. And her final page—which she regards with an almost sacred reverence—is the giant slide. She even has a T-shirt. And she claims she’ll be down until she’s 100. So we always shout and scream down.

Sven Sundgaard, MPR news meteorologist

  • Eat: I like to hit the turkey stand near the DNR area. I try to be pretty healthy and the simple hot turkey sandwich is a must for me: TONS of protein and it’s delicious! Then I feel less guilty about other things like fried pickles and mini donuts, which are also a must for me. They are simple, but Tiny Tim donuts are nostalgic for me, I always got them with my late grandfather.

  • Drink: If it’s midday and hot, nothing sounds quite like a cold Diet Coke, but we’ve become fans of that new mini donut beer. It sounds weird, but it was great.

  • See: All animals. I think a lot of people forget what the fair is about. Having grown up on a hobby farm with horses and goats, I always wanted to see what everyone’s goats and horses looked like, and my favorite animal: pigs. I’ve always wanted a pig but my parents never found one for me… I’m still bitter… but I love visiting them.

Kelly Barnhill, author

  • Eat: Corn on the cob, or maybe Martha’s Biscuits, or maybe those spicy candies I had in a booth I can’t remember once that I’ve been looking for ever since.

  • Drinks: Bottomless cups of milk, how does it taste so much better there than at home?

  • The new babies at the Miracle of Life Center obviously, and maybe the MPR booth, just because.

    Two girls sit on hay with their cows inside the cowshed.

    Two girls sit on the grass with their cows inside the cow barn at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights, Minn. August 23.

    Evan Frost | MPR News 2018

Jason Matheson, host of The Jason Show

Yia Vang, Union Hmong chef

  • Eat: This year it’s our food at the Union Hmong Kitchen booth at the International Bazaar, but I also love the smoked turkey legs from Turkey To Go.

  • Drink: 1919 Root Beer, of course.

  • See: It’s nice to go up on the Ferris wheel and see the full view of the fair and all the people.

Angela Davis, MPR News host

Joe Schmit, KSTP sports director

Lori and Julia, myTalk 107.1

  • Eat: Cheeseburger at Midways Men’s Club ($3.50!), paired with a slice of Pizza Cart Pizza ($2!), notice a trend? We know where the good cheap eats are.

  • Drinks: Beer at the Border Lounge.

  • See: Music, in every scene.

Jennie Clark, Minnesota Aurora assistant coach

Leif Enger, former MPR News correspondent and local author

  • I hate to admit it, but the last time I went to the State Fair was in the early 90’s when my brother Lin and I were writing mysteries together. I can’t remember what I ate, but my wife Robin says she smelled garlic, so maybe a round. Sorry, I’m a bad person to ask.

Alex Goligoski, Minnesota Wild defenseman

  • Eat: I need to get cottage cheese and vanilla milkshake from the Dairy building.

  • Drinks: The mini donut beer is also great, as is the fennel pickle beer.

  • See: We try to get a gig every year if we can and I love going down the big yellow slide with the kids.

    A drawing of a large slide and a crowd at the State Fair

    This sketch depicts the giant slide and crowds of fairgoers walking past one of the fair’s oldest attractions.

    Courtesy of Amber Sausen

Alec Soth, photographer

  • Eat: Liquid nitrogen ice cream at Nitro Ice Cream.

  • Drink: Kombucha at Produce Exchange.

  • See: Birth Center Miracle, always (though not drinking kombucha).

Chris Carr, K102 morning show host

  • Eat: Pork tenderloin on a stick. Martha’s Sweet Biscuits and Steak Bites at Lulu’s.

  • Drinks: The chocolate malt at Al’s Subs is delicious.

  • The K102 cabin, of course! But the Center of the Miracle of the East is also very interesting.

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