For the many collectors of Star Tribune lip balm, relax. This year will be like the others, given there's another tube of flavored lip balm to add to the mix of Minnesota State Fair favorites.
And it's not virtual. You can smell and taste this one. Better yet, you can wear it. More good news: There's no need to stand in a line.
To the long list of crazy flavors since 2009 — bacon, buttered corn, ketchup and mustard, pickle, brat, fresh-cut grass, mini-donut, French fry, "stick," "traffic cone," and root beer — this year's must-have version leans on the classics: cheese curd.
Does it smell or taste like the real thing? (Did the others taste like their descriptions?) Only one way to find out. You'll need a tube of your own.
There are several ways to get one. Purchase a Star Tribune State Fair T-shirt and get a free lip balm included, while supplies last (the new 2020 designs will be available on Aug. 24, and designs from earlier years will be available, as well). This offer ends Sept. 30. Visit startribune.com/shop for details.
Then there is the Minnesota State Fair food parade. Each car going through the fairgrounds will receive lip balm in the goody bag that's handed out.
As for the hard-core fans — and you know who you are — there's a 10-pack of the tubes available for $15, also at startribune.com/shop, as of Aug. 20.
As for next year's flavor? Send your suggestions for lip balm flavors to email@example.com.
Maybe another fair favorite — beer — will finally make the list.□
Lee Svitak Dean • @StribTaste