Minnesota State Fair

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Source: By Tad Vezner – Pioneer Press

There’s only one thing to say about the tasty amalgamation of corn dogs and pizza.

“It kind of makes sense; it brings two classics together,” said Dennis Larson, the Minnesota State Fair official who signs off on new food at the Fair.

And the corn-dog-topped pizza, which will debut at the 2010 State Fair this summer, meets both of Larson’s criteria.

“There’s an artery-clogging element … and the ‘how-do-they-do-that?’ appeal,” Larson said.

Or at least the “why-do-they-do-that?” appeal.

Bryan Enloe got the idea from a friend who owns two concession trailers: one for corn dogs and the other — you guessed it — for pizza.

The friend typed both terms into Google, looking for ideas for signage, and a picture of the hybrid came up on a blog titled “This is Why You’re Fat.” The blog has since been taken down, but the picture stayed with Enloe.

“The stick was still on it (the corn dog),” he said. “It was a really great idea. I do six to eight fairs a year. Minnesota by far, they go for the wildest stuff.”

Under the banner of the Pizza Shoppe, Enloe will put four half corn dogs — sliced lengthways — on top of a cheese pizza, eight slices to a pie, and serve them sans stick.

Topping the artery-clogging category comes another creation called “chicken fried bacon”: bacon battered, breaded, fried and served in a boat with gravy by Giggles’ Campfire Grill. Enough said.

But if you like Southwestern cuisine, Mark Haugen is finally making an effort to truly assimilate with the Fair. His restaurant, Tejas, in Edina, closed in December after 22 years, but he’s keeping the Fair stand open, as he and his partner have for a dozen years.

In all that time, though, they’ve never sold anything on a stick and haven’t deep-fried so much as a crust of bread.

This year, “We kind of want to get on the bandwagon with the deep-fried,” Haugen said. The solution: a lightly breaded and deep-fried avocado, served with ranch dip.

“It seems like a natural progression for us to do that,” he said.

Famous Dave’s Charlie Torgerson has fried pigs’ ears this year — sliced up to look like tiny curly french fries, with a chipotle glaze. Last year, he had peach-glazed pigs’ cheeks after becoming most famous for his chocolate-covered bacon.

“He’s done everything but the squeal,” Larson said. “He’s running out of organs.”

And in the potato arena, Tina and Matt Isaac have merged the spiral-cut potato on a stick with … chocolate.

“You put sugar on it instead of salt, you gotta whole different thing,” said Matt Isaac who can’t stop talking about potato chips. “I love potato chips. I think I grew up on those.”

His sister, Tina, on the other hand, loves chocolate. And so …

“A lot of it’s trial and error. You end up buying a lot of chocolate and finding out what happens to it. It’s not the worst thing in the world,” Tina Isaac said.

The pair found a chocolate coating that stays hard — even in the heat. You can also sprinkle extra sugar on top, if you’re in the mood.

Also new at the Fair — which runs from Aug. 26 to Labor Day, Sept. 6 — are Cincinnati chili (spaghetti topped with chili); mashed potatoes on a stick; deep-fried shortcake; and Caramel Apple Puppies (Fudge Puppies with baked-in apple, covered in caramel), among others.

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Shanghaied Henri’s at the Minnesota State Fair wants everyone to know about their latest offering: Summit on a Stick.

The company said it’s the first time there will be beer on a stick at the Fair. The treat will be sold at the Summit booth at the Summit stage in the International Bazaar at the Fairgrounds.

They add that the stage features daily shows, including “Bazaar After Dark” bands performing evenings.

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Author: Dale Van Every – Examiner.Com

As the “12 Days of Fun” that herald summer’s end—the Minnesota State Fair—approaches, it is again time to start thinking about the appropriate mix of culinary delights one will ingest at this year’s festival of foodstuffs. Failure to plan may result in serious gastrointestinal madness.

An awareness of the ever-growing array of cuisine will allow the avid fair-goer to adjust their intake accordingly.

So what’s the new 2009 fair fare? Topping the list, at least in terms of elegant titles: Peach-Glazed Pig Cheeks. Famous Dave’s (Dan Patch Ave & Liggett St.) marinates these pork cheeks in garlic, herbs & spices and honey, serving them, yes, on a stick grilled with peach-chipotle glaze. Yum. Also pork-related, Spam Burgers (on Cosgrove St. across from the Creative Activities Bldg.) has added the open-faced grilled spam sandwich and the breakfast spam sandwich.

For your potato fix, check out the Tornado Potato (spiral-cut tater on-a-stick) at Sunny’s Spiral Potatoes in the Food Building, or the Fry Dog (french-fry encrusted deep-fried hot dog on-a-stick !) at the Blue Moon Dine-In Theatre (Carnes and Chambers Streets). Those can eaten either before or after the Pot Roast Sundae (a scoop of mashed potatoes covered with roast beef, gravy, corn and a cherry tomato) at Main Street Butcher Block (corner of Dan Patch and Liggett).

Dessert? Plenty new from which to choose: Beignets (New Orleans style sweet fried dough) at Ragin’ Cajun (inside The Garden), Krumkakke or Deep-Fried Norwegian Banana Split, both new at Ole and Lena’s (Liggett at Carnes).

Other new foods at the 2009 Minnesota State Fair:

* Brat Burger (Ball Park Cafe)
* Fiddlestix (Mighty Midway)
* Foot-Long Dessert Pizza (Green Mill)
* Funnel Cake Fries (Apple Lil’s)
* Sunfish (Giggles Campfire Grill)
* Swedish Meatball & Gravy (Lynn’s Lefse)

There will also be several new food vendors at this year’s fair, including Arctic Island Slushies, Harry Singh’s Carribean Restaurant, and Texas Steak Out. Check out the complete list of fair food and locations here, and don’t forget the fair food rule: grease-sugar-milk-repeat. See you at the fair!

The 2009 Minnesota State Fair opens at 6:00 a.m., Thursday, August 27th and closes at 10:00 p.m. Monday, September 7th (Labor Day). As it approaches, check back here for further essential in-fair-mation!
For more info: Minnesota State Fair Website

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Amelia Santaniello – WCCO TV

The Minnesota State Fair opens in 178 days, but before it does, one of the Fair icons needs some help. The Grandstand marquis needs new bulbs in its letters and numbers, and you can help buy them.

“Traditionally the marquis is lit about a month before the opening of the State Fair,” said Ana Heath with the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.

So how are the giant marquis characters seen so well at night? There are about 100 light bulbs for each letter or number — 5200 bulbs for the whole sign.

When the Grandstand was built in 1909, there were no lights on the marquis. The sign was illuminated some time in the 1960s, and the old-style bulbs each use 11 watts of power.

When the Grandstand was built in 1909, there were no lights on the marquis. The sign was illuminated some time in the 1960s, and the old-style bulbs each use 11 watts of power.

So as the Grandstand begins its second century, its time for all those bulbs to go green.

“In order to give it a face lift for its 100th birthday, we’re raising money to replace the standard light bulbs in the Grandstand marquis with high efficiency LED bulbs,” said Heath

When the Grandstand was built in 1909, there were no lights on the marquis. The sign was illuminated some time in the 1960s, and the old-style bulbs each use 11 watts of power.

The new Light Emitting Diode (LED) bulbs use only one watt of power each. The Minnesota State Fair Foundation is hoping people will help with the $20 cost of each new bulb.

“Someone purchased the S and the F in the State Fair to commemorate their time out here, so I think people are really excited about the opportunity to contribute something tangible to the state fairgrounds,” Heath said.

If you’d like to contribute to buy a letter or even just one bulb, just click on the link below.
Minnesota State Fair Foundation