The Minnesota State Fair is all about making memories, so this past week we solicited yours. Here are some of our favorites:
While my husband and daughter were playing at the Great Big Sandbox, I mentioned I was going to go over to the Alphabet Forest’s photo booth to make a sign with my daughter’s name. When they joined me, I surprised my daughter (and husband!) with a “BIG SIS” sign instead, announcing that we were expecting again. We are now proud parents to two girls!
- Hannah Edwards, Minnetonka
In 2005 at the fair, I was inspired to volunteer with the American Red Cross when a band from New Orleans performed at the grandstand the week of Hurricane Katrina. A year later, I kissed my now wife [from Iowa who was also volunteering with the Red Cross] the first time at the grandstand at the exact same time the fireworks went off after the concert.
- John Richards, Damascus, Ore., who grew up three blocks from the fairgrounds
My soon-to-be husband and I have been together eight years, and we never miss the fair. In fact, we usually go three or four times. Every year I insist on getting a new photo strip from the photo booths at the arcade. Last year, just after the first photo snapped, he got down on one knee and proposed. The pictures are priceless. We were meeting friends afterward to see JD McPherson at the Leinie Lodge and JD himself ended up being the first to congratulate us. I can’t imagine a better place to get engaged and celebrate with friends after.
- Jen Grewe, Minneapolis
Riding the Ferris wheel at dusk, looking out at the midway with my spouse and two young kids. Couldn’t have felt more Minnesotan. The fact that we were coated in a day’s worth of grease and sugar from cookies, mini doughnuts, cheese curds, cotton candy and every other type of food was simply par for the course. Memories, like your kids literally sticking to everything they touch, stay with you forever!
- Matt Kramer, Shoreview
It was 1985 and we were strolling our 14-month-old son through the fairgrounds, taking in the eclectic sights and smells of the Minnesota State Fair. We heard a voice over a loudspeaker inviting the next person to step up to the country station booth and win two tickets to Neil Young and the International Harvesters concert that evening. We looked around and saw the booth and barely a person anywhere near it. We looked at each other in amazement, wondering if we had really heard it, when the voice repeated the offer! We claimed our tickets, brought our son to the grandparents and had our first “real” date night since our son was born! Still makes the list of top concerts I’ve ever heard!
- Holli Rietmulder, Prior Lake
I used to work at the fair gondolas in the ’70s. While loading passengers and just as I was closing the doors, I would say, “Don’t forget about the safety brakes.” Passengers would look at me like, “What are you talking about?” I would yell at them as the gondola flew away, “It’s under your seat!”
Why no one ever came back to clobber me I’ll never know!
- Tim Sitzer, Rochester
I was pregnant in 1971 and was cleared by my doctor to go to the fair. I went to the bathroom with my sister and told her I was going potty and couldn't stop. My water had broke. I waited on a bench what was then Commonwealth and Underwood. The ambulance came and I hit my head getting in. I was taken to first aid, then another ambulance ride, [hitting] my head again getting in. My nephew saw me getting in and was in a panic and called my other sister. Lights and sirens all the way through the fairgrounds to the parking lot. My daughter was born the next day on LABOR day!!! Quite a fair memory.
- Nancy Cramond, Minneapolis