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[MSP] All foods at the State Fair (more or less)

My name is Anne, and I'm a compulsive list-maker. Wait - isn't this OCD Listers Anonymous? Whoops!

Well, as long as I'm here, I might as well share my list of food vendors that I laboriously compiled from the MN State Fair's food finder. They don't provide the full list on their web site, so I made one to take with me to the fair today.

http://www.visi.com/~anne/misc/MnStat... (PDF file


Disclaimer: The fair's information is absolutely riddled with errors and typos (which suprises me, because very little changes from year to year). I didn't fix any of the errors, and probably introduced a few of my own as I formatted and consolidated the information. Sorry about that!

Also, the list is 25 pages long, so I recommend printing it "2-up" (two pages to a sheet) and double-sided, so that you don't take more than 7 sheets of paper with you. Paper can be heavy if you schlep enough of it!

Enjoy, for what it's worth,

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  1. Anne, you're a riot. Only a true chowhound would compile a 25 page list of food items. Thank you for saving the rest of us the trouble. I'll be printing this out and highlighting everything "on a stick" because I'm truly obsessed with the "on a stick" phenomenon.

    As for you, I see one of the new items is, at Chicago Dogs, a dog with scrambled eggs; does that count as breakfast?

    I understand Mr. Iggers will be publishing his review of the "new" food items in Saturday's Star Tribune, so don't forget to look for that. I was going to point out here a few things I've decided I want to try from the list, but I can barely get past the first page because my list is already too long. :)


    1. If you're bored tonight, could you plug one of each of those into a nutritional calculator and figure out how many calories that would amount to? I'm guessing somewhere in the neighborhood of 53 trillion.

      Nice work on the list. I'm looking forward to getting out there.

      1. My girlfriend and I are taking the day off today and going to the fair. I decided to check the boards to see if anyone had posted anything about the food there and like mana from heaven your post was there. Thanks a bunch!

        1. Am going to the fair on Saturday and this will come in mighty handy. Thanks so much for putting it together.

          1. Anne, I just took a glance at your pdf and now I feel a bit queasy, but nevertheless I am very impressed!

            1. Because we just need to know these things, don't we?, here is the list of items that are served on a stick.

              The good news: Atkins diet on a stick.
              The bad news: Cardiologists on vacation in August.

              1. Axel’s - Batter-dipped, deep-fried chocolate chip cookies served on-a-stick, macaroni and cheese on a stick.,
              2. Andre’s Watermelon - Fruit and cheese kabob (cubed cheeses and fruits skewered on-a-stick), Watermelon on-a-stick.
              3. Bayou Bob's Gator Shack - Cajun seasoned alligator sausage on-a-stick.
              4. The Best Around - Chicken on-a-stick.
              5. Candy Factory - Hand dipped caramel apples on-a-stick.
              6. Cheese on a Stick – (Self-explanatory, yes?)
              7. Chicken -n- Chops - Pork chops on-a-stick, chicken breast on-a-stick.
              8. Chinatown Minn - Oriental lemon chicken on-a-stick.
              9. Clown Popper - Candy apples on-a-stick, caramel apples on-a-stick, cotton candy on-a-stick.
              10. Colonial Nut Roll - Nut rolls made on site (peanut, pecan, cashew) may be dipped in chocolate and served on-a-stick.
              11. Corndogs-Lemonade - Fresh dipped (6", 12" and 1/3 lb 12" Dogzilla) corn dog on-a-stick.
              12. Cotton Candy - Cotton candy on-a-stick.
              13. Deep Fried Candy Bars - Batter dipped, deep fried candy bars on-a-stick (Snickers, Milky Way, Three Musketeer).
              14. Degnans Popcorn - Caramel apples on-a-stick, chocolate covered bananas on-a-stick.
              15. DFL Districts 66 & 67 - Political pop (ice cream on-a-stick with party designation on wrapper).
              16. Epiphany Diner - Pancake wrapped around sausage on-a-stick.
              17. Giant Slide Lemonade - Fried Swiss cheese on-a-stick, fried jalapeno pepper cheese on-a-stick.
              18. Giggles Campfire Grill - Maple smoked pork tenders on-a-stick and salmon on-a-stick.
              19. Granny's Kitchen Fudge Puppies - Fudge puppies (a Belgium waffle on-a-stick dipped in swiss chocolate) topped with choices of (whipped topping, crunch coating, strawberries).
              20. Green Mill Pizza - Cheeseburger calzones (ground beef, onion and cheese) on-a-stick.
              21. Isabel Burke's Olde Time Taffy - Taffy pop on-a-stick.
              22. Kathie's Cotton Candy - Cotton candy on-a-stick.
              23. Key Lime Pie Bar - On-a-stick sorbets as follows; pina colada, coconut, pineapple, orange.
              24. Lamb Shoppe - Marinated lamb on-a-stick.
              25. Leeann Chin Inc - Egg roll on-a-stick, lemon chicken on-a-stick, shrimp toast on-a-stick.
              26. Lettieri's - Pizza on-a-stick.
              27. Luigi Fries - Hot dago on-a-stick.
              28. Minnesota Farmers Union Coffee Shop - Frozen coffee and espresso on-a-stick.
              29. Netterfield's Food Court - Cheese on a stick.
              30. O'Garas - Reuben on-a-stick.
              31. Ole and Lena's - (New vendor) Tater tot hot dish on-a-stick, served with a creamy mushroom dipping sauce.
              32. Oodles of Noodles - Spaghetti and meat balls on-a-stick.
              33. Peters Hot Dogs - Sausage on-a-stick.
              34. Pickle Dog - Whole dill pickle on-a-stick.
              35. Poncho Dog - Poncho Dog on-a-stick (6" corn meal battered deep fried hot dog).
              36. Porkchops and Turkey Legs - Grilled pork chops on-a-stick.
              37. Potato Skins - Deep fried Spudsters on-a-stick.
              38. Pronto Pups - Pronto Pup on-a-stick (6" flour battered, deep fried hot dog), Pappa Pup
              39. on-a-stick (10" flour battered, deep fried hot dog).
              40. Ragin Cajun - Blackened cajun steak-on-a-stick.
              41. Root Beer Hut - Caramel apples on-a-stick.
              42. Sausage Sister & Me - Puff Daddy on-a-stick, Thai One On sausage on a stick.
              43. Schumacher's New Prague Hotel - Grilled pork chop on-a-stick.
              44. Scotch Eggs - Scotch Eggs on-a-stick (hard boiled egg, wrapped in sausage, rolled in bread crumbs, deep fried), Scotch Meatball on-a-stick.
              45. Seville Sandwiches – Meatball on-a-stick.
              46. Spaghetti Eddie's Pizza & Pasta - Chicken on-a-stick.
              47. Sugar Shack - Caramel apples on-a-stick, cotton candy on-a-stick.
              48. Super Dogs - Batter dipped, deep fried hot dogs on-a-stick (6", 12", 18").
              49. Ultimate Confections - Marshmallows on-a-stick, fresh dipped in chocolate, chocolate covered cheesecake on-a-stick.
              50. Veggie Pie - Frozen grapes on-a-stick, cherries on-a-stick.
              51. Vescio's - Ice cream on-a-stick.
              52. Walleye on a Stick - Walleye on-a-stick, catfish on-a-stick.

              6 Replies
              1. re: KTFoley

                Perfect! One more thing I don't have to do myself... Let's see, 52 foods on a stick, 10 more days left of the Fair, that's 5.2 items on a stick per day...


                1. re: The Dairy Queen

                  No, no TDQ. That's 52 different STANDS to visit!

                  But do report back on the Puff Daddy on-a-stick ....

                  1. re: KTFoley

                    52 stands! Now I'm really in trouble. Fortunately, there some things I feel okay about crossing off, like

                    12. Cotton Candy - Cotton candy on-a-stick
                    41. Root Beer Hut - Caramel apples on-a-stick

                    Have you ever seen these items served any way OTHER than on a stick?

                    And if eliminating those kinds of items from the "must do" list doesn't free up enough room in my tummy, the "healthy" foods are next to go:

                    2. Andre’s Watermelon - Fruit and cheese kabob (cubed cheeses and fruits skewered on-a-stick), Watermelon on-a-stick.
                    50. Veggie Pie - Frozen grapes on-a-stick, cherries on-a-stick.



                    1. re: The Dairy Queen

                      TDQ and KTFoley, here are two more on-a-stick items for the list:

                      53. Teriyaki Ostrich on a stick, at Chinatown Minn (near the giant slide) - the food finder listing missed this item.

                      54. Cream Puff on a stick - at least, the sign on the Cream Puff booth says they'll put it on a stick for you.

                      Luckily, there are still three more days of fair-going!


                2. re: KTFoley

                  spaghetti and meatballs on a stick? how?

                  1. re: Firegoat

                    Think of a meatball that has one-inch segments of spaghetti mixed into it. Then put it on a stick, batter and fry it, and serve it with a side of marinara. Pretty good for state fair food!


                3. Disclaimer -- I left out all the things that are sticks themselves (jerky, pepperoni, sausage or cheese sticks) and things that come with their own stick (drumsticks).

                  Different topic -- Am I the only one who mourns the end of the kolaches from the Schumacher's stand? To his credit, the chef said last year that the older ladies who used to make them for him are no longer doing so and he just couldn't replace them or serve something inferior. But still.

                  1 Reply
                  1. re: KTFoley

                    I miss the part about the kolaches not coming back. :( That is a bummer. I hope it's not one of those foods that's going to be lost in the transition to the next generation. It kind of seems that way, I'm afraid.


                  2. I ate #36 for breakfast. It was ok - taste was solid, but it was a little on the thin side.

                    No line - which is a plus.

                    I love the fair!

                    Thanks for posting all the info.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: St Paul Susie

                      Pls cross off anything else healthy - I can get watermelon in my house, but not corn dogs!

                      A few notes - reading thru the list ....

                      I realized I took the easy way out and got my kids 2 stale preztles when he handmade fresh ones were a few short blocks away.

                      I need to have a cream puff on my next visit - those are excellent! Highly recommened.

                      and how good are WIld Bill's fries??? so good! - worth the extra few blocks to the giant slide.

                      Thanks for listing everything out!

                    2. Make sure if you get the Scotch Eggs (good, but Brits Pub does 'em better- the booth is outside the Horse barn) that you have the folks cut it in half for you. I know that it negates the 'eating on a stick' mentality, but trying to bite that behemoth is a Herculean feat. It's much more enjoyable cut in half.

                      1. Not on a stick, and not Chow, but I am plugging the Honey Lemonade at the Agricultural building at every turn. It's at the Honey exhibit, a buck gets you a nice sized glass and it is the most wonderful, sweet and tart tasting drink I have ever had. You taste the honey, then the lemon comes bursting through. Sublime!

                        1. A post-fair update: All you Food-on-a-Stick fans need to check out the video from BellyDuJour.com.



                          1. It's too bad the people who run the various state fairs--Minnesota, Iowa and elsewhere--tend not to publicize more the healthy foods that ARE available during fair time or at least provide nutritional guidelines.

                            As one who visited the Iowa State Fair last week, I avoided the corn dogs and other fried foods, just confining myself to a regular hot dog, a vanilla soft serve and a small diet root beer. I used one of those calorie books for guidance. If the guidelines are correct, I may have consumed less than 530 calories during my visit to the fair.

                            All county and state fairs should do more to publicize healthy eating both during the year and during the fairs. Why should anyone lay off low-calorie, fat-free foods just because a fair is going on?

                            11 Replies
                            1. re: Braniff

                              Well, there used to be a stand at the MN State Fair that served pita sandwiches, that were pretty healthy, but apparently no one ate them. So, this year, they've switched over to serving maple-cured 1/3 pound of bacon...

                              Every year, I look forward to indulging in a few of my favorites--I spread my indulgences over the course of a couple of visits, share them with my partner, and walk everywhere... Honey sunflower seed ice cream (available only at the fair), cream puffs, fresh cut french fries, cheese curds (never had them anywhere that are as good as at the fair), jerk chicken wings, shake from the dairy building, and breakfast at one of the church dining halls... We don't always get all of those things because we get too full and don't stuff ourselves until we're sick, but, we always get some combination of those things. And of course, I have to try some of the new, intriguing dishes or things I hadn't tried before, like spaghetti and meatballs on a stick, gizmo sandwich... I would never ever eat like this on a daily basis, but for two days a year, I look forward to indulging.


                              1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                The dairy salesroom on the St. Paul campus of the University of Minnesota sells a honey sunflower seed ice cream called Minnesota Sundae. The store is open only on Wednesday afternoons though.

                                1. re: AmandaAnn

                                  Yes, I've had that ice cream (thanks to a tip from Danny). It's really good. But, unfortunately, it's not widely available or even (as I understand it) regularly available. The honey sunflower seed ice cream at the state fair is something Kemp's does exclusively for the fair.


                              2. re: Braniff

                                I go to our state fair at least once, and I do usually sample a not so heathy food item. If I wanted to eat healthy, i would do that before i went to the fair. The food on a stick is part of the atmosphere.
                                That said, my big indulgence is the roasted sweet corn (on a stick!) drenched in butter.

                                1. re: Braniff

                                  It's too bad the people who run the various state fairs--Minnesota, Iowa and elsewhere--tend not to publicize more the healthy foods that ARE available during fair time or at least provide nutritional guidelines.

                                  I always found it ironic that KARE-11 parks its "healthy-living" booth just by the french-fry stands and hard by the Food Building. :-o In fairness, I don't know if the KARE booth hands out any information on eating more healthfully at the Fair; maybe they do. It is possible to eat healthfully at the Fair, sticking to a pork chop or turkey leg, the watermelon/fresh fruit stand, etc. But for a couple of visits a year, is it worth it for most people?

                                  1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                    Last I checked when it was fair time here, the smoked turkey leg sported over 1100 calories.....

                                    I think the calorie king website has a breakdown on fair/carnival food calories, but it always scares me to look.

                                    1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                      What's ironic about that? "Healthy living" is about balance.

                                      And Braniff, sorry to burst your bubble but there's nothing "healthy" about your regular hot dog, a vanilla soft serve and a small diet root beer. Those 530 calories you consumed were empty calories and highly processed, highly artifically flavored "foods". Besides a bit of protein (albeit not lean protein) you basically threw away a good bit of your daily calorie allotment not to mention there's nothing at all chowish about it. I'd be grumpy and have a headache if that's what I ate for a long visit to the Fair.

                                      To stay "on topic", I would suggest replacing the hot dog with a more natural choice from the Sausage Sisters (or whatever they're called). I know they have lean meat sausages. Like steve suggested, I love the turkey leg myself, and pork chop on a stick is at least lean protein (and more of it). There are a number of natural juice vendors or even lemonade (yeah, high sugar but you get the vitamins that are lacking in the root beer and you're probably walking several miles throughout the day) or just go with the $1.00 milk or stop by the Culligan place for ice cold, purified water for free.

                                      Personally, I'm just going to do my usual rounds. Turkey leg, 2 ears of corn, half of my wife's fries, half of her chocolate milkshake, a handful of Sweet Martha's, about a gallon of water at the Culligan booth, and maybe another thing or two that I can't/don't get throughout the year.

                                      1. re: steve_in_stpaul

                                        It is completely possible (though not necessarily convenient) to eat healthy at the MN State fair, if that's important to you, depending on what your particular health concerns are. Grilled Pork chop or chicken breast on a stick, Andres watermelon, roasted almonds, Pham's spring rolls, buffalo or elk burgers, Giggles salmon on a stick, vegetable kabobs, fresh squeezed juices, roasted corn on the cob, Bayou Bob's frozen grapes, or frozen grapes, cherries or pineapple on a stick, whole dill pickles, various salads including Greek or tabouli, pita pockets... If you're willing to look for it, it's absolutely available.

                                        Here's a listing to the 2008 food finder (as the list that Anne posted in the OP is from 2006) http://fairborne.mnstatefair.org/food...

                                        What's harder to do at the fair (as pointed out by Karl Gerstenberger a couple of years ago) is sustainable and organic. If you search on organic you get two hits:

                                        Donna's http://fairborne.mnstatefair.org/food...
                                        French Meadow:

                                        But, for those of you doing the "eating local" challenge this year, since the whole point of the Fair is to showcase Minnesota producers, I'll bet you get exposure to a lot of local treats.

                                        As for me, I try to eat healthy day in and day out. If for my two visits to the State Fair a year I want to indulge in deep fried whatever on a stick, I'm going to. This is our last gasp of summer, baby. Live it up.


                                        1. re: The Dairy Queen

                                          Oh, and Island Noodles in the International Bazaar (which has been entirely re-done this year, or so I hear) has a stir-fried soba noodles and vegetables dish. http://gopher.mnstatefair.org/foodfin... I've never seen it or tried it, but it could be healthy as long as it doesn't have too much oil. If any one has tried it or if anyone does try it,I'd love to hear about it in the 2008 MN State Fair thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/539725


                                      2. re: Braniff

                                        You want healthy? Try the walleye on a stick in the Food Building. But c'mon it's once a year and one day for most. It isn't going to kill you to indulge for the fun of it. I'm sure if you sought it out you could find plenty of healthy food but it isn't a regular hot dog, vanilla soft serve and diet root beer. That's plain bland and just as bad.

                                        1. re: Davydd

                                          Another healthy option...the lamb kabob from tne Lamb folks in the Food building. Tender, savory and full of good lamb-y flavor. Not too big and just grilled meat (though they'll offer dipping sauces)

                                      3. That is SO AWESOME! I have a friend flying in from Tampa for the fair (he's never been) and he will have an absolute BALL using this to plan out our one day at the fair! Thanks so much!

                                        5 Replies
                                        1. re: bivouac

                                          Just wanted to add a link to the thread I started for 2008, with the new foods listed so far for this year. The list Anne compiled in 2006 still has a ton of great info, but this link will update you with some of the new stuff for 2008!


                                          1. re: bivouac

                                            Check this thread for a current discussion that started earlier this summer ( 2008).


                                            1. re: bivouac

                                              Be aware, the list originally linked at he top of this article is two years old. It's likely about 85% accurate however (I totally made that number up from looking at the list btw).

                                              1. re: Foureyes137

                                                Just another plug for the honey sunflower ice cream in the agricultural building. My favorite thing at the fair! I think last year my fiancee and I (then it was our second date!!!) tried the sundae, but it was way too rich. We tried jambalaya at the food building, and that was a new one, and it was a new favorite too.

                                                1. re: jenniegirl

                                                  jenniegirl, good to hear from you. I hope you are well.

                                                  A photo of the honey sunflower ice cream sundae is my avatar. What makes it a "sundae" is that they put it in a dish, drizzle it with honey and (if I recall correctly, though I'm not even sure about the sunflower seeds) sprinkle it with sunflower seeds (which is in addition to the sunflower seeds and honey in the ice cream itself.) It's definitely too much for one person--best, as jenniegirl says, to share with your sweetie.

                                                  Current 2008 thread http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/539725


                                            2. Hello. My name is Anne (still), and I'm a procrastinating list-maker with a guilt complex about not updating my list of all fair foods for two years. Ah, but my life gets so busy in August!

                                              Anyway, here's a start at an update: All the new foods in the 2008 fair.


                                              It's four pages long. If you have good eyes and printer that does double-sided output, you can print it two-up in Landscape orientation, so it fits on one sheet of paper.

                                              More later, time permitting...


                                              5 Replies
                                              1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                Thanks Anne. That's a very useful document.

                                                1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                  A little on-the-ground research tonight has prompted a few corrections to my list. For example, the Island noodles are wheat, not buckwheat. And jeanmt alerts us to the Fire Dog, which I *must* try on my next trip. (It's described in the bacon thread: http://chowhound.chow.com/topics/5344... .)

                                                  The updated version is available here (or at the link above):


                                                  1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                    Ah dang, wheat is totally different than buckwheat...


                                                  2. re: AnneInMpls

                                                    OK, in the "better late than never" category, here's the complete list for 2008. More or less. Actually, it's closer to less, as I was in a rush and haven't checked all the existing vendors for menu changes or location differences. But all the vendors with new foods are there.


                                                    I apologise in advance for the errors, missing locations, and old info. I've been in such a rush that I didn't even proof-read it (oh, the shame!). But I'm going back to the fair tomorrow, so I was motivated to do a quick update.

                                                    Note if you print this to take to the fair: It's long - 24 pages long. As before, my advice is to print it double-sided, two-up, so that it only takes 6 sheets of paper.

                                                    And remember to use the MN State Fair Food Finder to hunt for a specific food (such as my quest for tomorrow: elk burgers, smelt, candy apples, and lingonberry ice cream) - http://fairborne.mnstatefair.org/food...

                                                    Eat lots at the fair!

                                                    1. re: AnneInMpls

                                                      When searching the Minnesota State Fair food finder you have to be careful. Most search engines will search a word and find its variations if you put in its plural or singular. Not so with the food finder. For instance if you search "tenderloin" and "tenderloins" you will get two entirely different finds. So if you find it frustrating remember to try the variations of a word.