Butter sculptures, fried Spam and spaghetti on a stick: Scenes from the Minnesota State Fair

banner twin cities

I will never forget the “butterheads.” Only at a state fair could you find beauty queens posing behind glass in a chilly room while artists carve their faces out of giant slabs of butter.

minnesota-state-fair-butter

The finished sculptures really are impressive. Valerie Grimm is gorgeous! Even if she is loaded with artery-clogging fats and cholesterol.

butterhead-state-fair

Yes, the Minnesota State Fair in St. Paul provides an endless supply of awesome, from the butter beauties to the bizarre fried foods like spaghetti on a stick. The fair continues through today, Labor Day, and I had a chance to take in all the amazing sights last weekend.

minneapolis state fair

You would not believe how crowded the fair is. Seemingly everyone in the state of Minnesota makes the trip.

crowd-mn-state-fair

Dairy is big here, so milk is everywhere. Especially popular is the “all you can drink” milk shop. Milk doesn’t seem to be the beverage of choice among kids anymore, but it sure is at this festival.

all-you-can-drink-milk

With all this milk in the fairgrounds, cookie stands are popular. The Girl Scouts have a table where they force allow some of their girls to dress up as cookies and dance with onlookers. That Thin Mint has talent. She’s definitely going places.

girl-scout-cookies

Where there’s butter and milk, you’re bound to find cheese. And cheesy posing opportunities.

say-cheese

The state fair is a great place to collect all sorts of random free stuff. I came home with a small container of pork seasoning, an ink pen, a corsage, a package of trail mix, and a sample size bottle of Pomegranate 5-hour Energy, which I’m afraid to drink because it contains 8333% of your daily Vitamin B12 dosage. An 83-day supply of anything, even B12, sounds fatal to me.

The food isn’t free, but the crazy fried delicacies are worth every penny. Who doesn’t love fried Spam curds?!

fried-spam-curds

Spam really goes all-out here. They actually have a tent where you can purchase Spam schwag. Would you walk around in a Spam tshirt?

spam-store

I passed on the Spam, because I was captivated by an even more unusual offering.

spaghetti-meatball-on-stick

Spaghetti on a stick sounds too good to be true, because it is. It’s actually just a deep fried meatball covered in sauce. There are tiny pieces of cut spaghetti between the meat and the breading, but they are so small that they might as well not even exist. But, it’s one more item I can cross off my list of weird food experiences.

spaghetti-on-a-stick-minnes

Later, it was time for some Aussie potatoes, which are long, thin potato planks battered, fried and covered in a zesty cheese. These earn my highest recommendation.

aussie-potatoes

Everywhere you look, it’s one fatty food after another.

minnesota state fair food

Not that you’d need any other reasons to attend the Minnesota State Fair in addition to the food, but there’s plenty more going on. Like a mid-day parade. With a giant cow. Worship the bovine!

giant-cow

Marching bands provide your musical entertainment.

marching-band

It’s Princess Kay of the Milky Way. She’s a big deal here.

princess-state-fair

The Twin Cities are a good place to bike, so the fair wisely sets up a big bike parking area. My favorite is the “Tiki bike.”

bike-parking-fair

This guy’s no Paula Dean, but his cooking demonstrations seem to hold people’s attention.

cooking demonstration

Who’s your favorite meathead?

meathead-jerky

I love discovering really specific hobby niches where people have devoted their lives to some obscure thing that most of us wouldn’t even pay attention to. Say hello to the Gladiolus Society, who set up a room full of their most colorful plants.

gladiolus2

gladiolus

Speaking of weird interests and talents, there’s an entire room dedicated to “paintings” created from seeds.

abe-lincoln-seeds

Stephen Colbert would love this bald eagle flag seed portrait.

bald-eagle-seed-painting

Besides the art projects, the crop room displays fruits and vegetables from across the state, including prize-winning ears of corn and an 1,187-pound pumpkin.

crops show

This display is supposed to educate about the dangers of zebra mussels, but instead, it makes people laugh because the little boy is sticking his hand into the boat’s engine. Hey kids, watch and take notes!

mussels-boat

The fair had hundreds of farm animals on display. I didn’t spend a whole lot of time with them since I was distracted by all the amazing foods.

fair-animals

I don’t know what makes one farm animal better than the next, but the state’s best sheep, goats, horses and chickens were here.

fair-sheep

The rides are impressive. The fair has dozens of rides, not just the one or two lame rides that I remember seeing at local fairs when I was a kid.

ferris-wheel

These are legit thrill rides, like a raging rapids style water ride and arrow cars that spin and flip over.

minnesota fair rides

I believe the ultimate prize a child could walk way with from the Minnesota State Fair would be a giant pig.

state fair rides

Have you ever attended a state fair? Was it similar to the Minnesota State Fair?

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About Scott Shetler

Scott is a Chicago-based journalist and blogger who seeks out quirky sights and awesome destinations throughout North America and beyond.

20 comments on “Butter sculptures, fried Spam and spaghetti on a stick: Scenes from the Minnesota State Fair

    • I believe they had fried goat testicles too, but I never found those. I was on the fence about eating them, but I suppose I would have had to do it. For my readers.

  1. Hey Scott, my wife Marisol is overwhelmed with all the butter and meat but I love it! Definitely a cool fair and an excellent post. We’re going to a Great American BBQ Festival in Kansas City in October with bunch of friend (not sure how she will handle it, but I know she’ll be a great sport). Will you be there? If so, we’d love to meet up with you.
    Keith@TravelingSolemates recently posted..Magical Prague – Part 2: The Left Bank

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