Americana: "The Great Minnesota Get-Together."

Today marks the start of this year’s Minnesota State Fair. American State Fairs have no equivalent where I come from though the best way to describe perhaps would be as a mix between France’s La Foire du Trône and Paris’ Le Salon de l’Agriculture. Except instead of getting to sample traditional French products like wine and cheese from independent producers, oysters from Arcachon or artisanal vinegars the food at American state fairs is, well, more American!

To this date, I’ve only attended one state fair: the Great Minnesota Get-There, which is, with the Texas State Fair, the biggest and the greatest of all of the State Fairs. I didn’t pay much attention to the political booths and perused the animal barns rather quickly… what I really interested in what the food. I had heard all about state fair food. How everything was fried and came on a stick. I couldn’t wait to try EVERYTHING!

Clearly that was over ambitious but I did get to sink my teeth in quite a few interesting items such as:

  • Belgian waffle (wrapped around a stick, dipped in chocolate and slathered with whipped cream)
  • pickle dog (my personal favourite dish of the fair, it consisted of a pickle spear covered in cream cheese and wrapped in prosciutto, NOT deep fried and NOT on a stick, but portable nonetheless)
  • cheese on a stick (though being French I would question the use of the term “cheese” for this particular dish)
  • deep fried snickers bar (on a stick)
  • and most interestingly, a Coca-Cola cheescake dipped in chocolate (and served on a stick… of course!)

After that, my stomach felt quite sick so even if I had wanted to try a few of the rides, I wouldn’t have been able to!

There’s been a lot of talk lately about the first “D.C. State Fair” which will take place this Saturday in conjunction with the Annual Columbia Heights Day on August 28th. Of course, D.C. is not a state and so it doesn’t get to have a state fair. But the organizers, local bloggers Amelia Showalter, Jenna Huntsberger and Kenneth Moore are trying to bring a little bit of the state fair spirit to the district. Rather than focus on livestock or rides, the fair will focus on urban agriculture and its by-products with contests for Funkiest-Looking Vegetable or Best Home-Made Pie. A great initiative if you ask me… though I hope there’ll be at least a little something on a stick so I can relive a little bit of my Minnesota State Fair experience!

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