The Great Minnesota dinner…

It’s obvious that this is not a picture of food; it’s actually (for those of you not from the Minneapolis area) the Minnesota State Fair crowd.  This is where I found myself yesterday evening, which meant dinner was more of a series of grazing stops rather than an actual event. 

I had the opportunity, for the first time, to go to The Great Minnesota Gathering (or is it Get-Together)?  Either way, it is quite an event.  The size of the fairgrounds alone is very impressive; it’s a little bit like a theme park with different worlds to explore!  And, yes, fried everything everywhere and, yes, everything is “on a stick.”  I was with some friends from work who had been there before which was good because they were able to point me toward the famous butter sculptures of the dairy princesses, the fish pond, the Miracle of Birth building, and the State Fair Grandstand – all very iconic stops on my tour. 

The evening started with a bucket of fresh French fries to share.  The nine of us downed that pretty quickly and we were on to the next thing.  After stopping to see the butter sculptures in progress and picking up our free pens at several booths, we wandered past Ole & Lena’s food stand where they were serving Hot Dish on a Stick.  Intrigued, we stopped to inquire and learned that it was actually one of my favorites – Tator Tot Hot Dish!  The idea:  one stick with three tator tots and two meatballs dipped in batter and deep fried (I think the “dipped in batter and deep fried” part is a requirement of all food vendors at the fair).  This treat is then served with a small cup of mushroom soup for dipping!  Very creative and actually very good! 

Next, we shared a bag of mini donuts and couldn’t pass up a Fudge Puppy since we had a coupon.  What’s a Fudge Puppy?  I asked the same question!  It’s a Belgian waffle (yes, on a stick), dipped in chocolate, covered with whipped cream and sprinkles…  maybe it’s the stick that makes the food so good?  From there, we wandered up to the Great Sing Along, which I hear is new this year.  This was definitely one of my favorite stops… a giant karaoke screen and lots of live microphones for anyone to step up to and sing along.  There were a ton of people there! 

Our last stop was at Sweet Martha’s cookies – this is where we picked up a bucket of fresh baked warm chocolate chip cookies to tie us over on the long walk to the buses and the even longer ride home.  It was a great experience; I can’t wait to go back with the family!

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