To the editor-
There’s not much left of our generally cool summer, but we still have the Minnesota State Fair to visit before we really start turning our attention to fall. This year’s fair in Falcon Heights will be Aug. 27 through Sept. 7.
I’ve talked about the growing popularity of vacationing near to home. This is another opportunity for a relatively inexpensive day trip or weekend getaway – depending on how many goodies on a stick you buy. There are numerous admission specials and amusement park discounts scheduled and details are at www.mnstatefair.org.
Our state fair is the country’s largest in terms of daily attendance and the aforementioned Web site indicates 1.7 million visitors showed up last year; the record is 1.8 million in 2001.
Here are some other tidbits from various Web sites regarding the Great Minnesota Get-Together:
• Minnesota Territory first held a Territorial Fair in 1854. The first Minnesota State Fair was in 1859, the year after statehood.
• The fair has been cancelled five years: In 1861 and 1862 because of the Civil War and the Dakota War of 1862; in 1893 because of scheduling issues between our fair and the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago; in 1945 due to a fuel shortage during WWII; and in 1946 because of a polio outbreak.
• 85-90 pounds of butter is used to sculpt the likeness of Princess Kay of the Milky Way.
• The fair moved around a lot in its early years, even taking place in towns like Rochester, Owatonna and Winona. The fair finally found its permanent home in Falcon Heights in 1885, constructed on what was once called the Ramsey County Poor Farm.
• The main entrance on Snelling Avenue heads onto a road named Dan Patch Avenue for a horse who won every race he ran in from 1905 to 1909 when he was retired.
• Alabama has played the State Fair 18 times, the most grandstand appearances at the State Fair.
• The Space Needle lifts people more than 300 feet in the air.
Hope you can make it to this year’s State Fair and, while you are there, I invite you to participate in a nonpartisan poll conducted by House Public Information Services. It’s an informal survey covering many of the topics people talk about every day in our local coffee shops, etc. You can find the survey at the House exhibit in the Education Building.