Minnesota State Fair With A Nordic Flair

The Minnesota State Fair is one of the most popular tourist attractions not just in Minnesota but the five state area. Around two million people attend the Fair annually. Attendance in 2018 was a record 2,046,533 people. The highest daily attendance in the history of the fair was 270,426 visitors on Saturday, September 1, 2018. Can you imagine how many things-on-a-stick that must have come to?

If you are planning to go we’re sharing some food vendors, places, and events with a Nordic flavor to them. [Note: all photos are courtesy of the Minnesota State Fair.]

First, events and destinations:

Renee Vaughan and Kip Peltoniemi Free live music performance at Minnesota Farmers Union Coffee Shop (on the north side of Dan Patch Avenue between Cooper and Cosgrove streets). Renee Vaughan and Kip Peltoniemi play old-time Scandinavian Music on nyckelharpa and button box accordion. UPDATE: Apparently this show has been cancelled but watch the video because it is a great song. Here is a sample of Kip’s show:

Visit the North End.  At a new feature you can pose for photos next to 6-foot-tall figures created by prominent Minnesota artist Adam Turman, featuring State Fair mascot Fairchild; Paul Bunyan; Babe the Blue Ox; and Hotdish Girl.

Jolly Zuks band. Not just your average polka band, the Jolly Zuks bring life to any party! This fun, energetic band has been entertaining people for more than 40 years with a variety of music, including country, hits from the ‘50s, jitterbugs, two-steps and even the Hokey Pokey. You can see them here:

Minnesota Polka Dancers. See demonstrations and performances from this community group (Minnesota Polka Association) on the Cosgrove Stage outside the Education Building.

Molly B & Squeezebox. One of the nation’s top polka bands, Mollie B & Squeezebox showcases a wide variety of music, including polka, waltz, fox-trot, two-step, big band, swing, square dance and figure dance. Described as delightful, energetic and thrilling, this award-winning band brings a lively, highly entertaining and versatile show to the stage.

Now food:

Ole and Lena’s  Featuring items such as tater tot hot dish on-a-stick with cream of mushroom dipping sauce, lokringer (Norwegian thin-sliced onion rings fried in a light batter served with Lingonberry sauce) and a Norwegian deep-fried banana split including a banana wrapped in lefse.

Oof-Da Tacos  Okay they are your standard tacos but we love the name!!!!!! (Yah, sure, we know it should be Uff Da.)

Nordic Waffles  A new vendor last year, started by one of our favorite people, Stine Aasland,  was a smashing success. Not only waffles but Salmon-On-A Stick and lemonade with lingonberry (or blueberry) juice. Her stand is located in the West End Plaza.

Lynn’s Lefse  On the south side of the Food Building you will find Lynn’s Lefse where you can get lefse as well as Swedish meatballs (on a stick in a bowl or in a blanket – meaning wrapped with lefse).

Lingonberry Ice Cream  You can get lingonberry ice cream or lingonberry ice cream soda. There are many other ice cream items including bacon ice cream.

A Taste Of Global Markets  While feature Indian foods and tacos isn’t Nordic, it is sponsored by our friends and neighbors at the Midtown Global Market and we want to give them our support in this venture.

And Drink:

Nordic Strawberry Blonde Ale. This easy-drinking berry brew is made for Minnesota Nordics. It’s light, smooth and refreshing. Brewed in Minneapolis, Minn., by Insight Brewing Company. Served at The Hangar, located on the northeast corner of Murphy Avenue and Underwood Street at the North End

Uff-da Ale.  This easy-drinking ale’s crisp and slightly tart flavors harmonize with honey aromas to make it the ultimate Norwegian-inspired session beer. It’s brewed with locally malted Rahr pilsner and wheat malts, a dash of honey malt, German Hallertau Magnum hops, Minnesota’s own Norsland Lefse, and Scandinavian lingonberries. Each is garnished with fresh lingonberries and a crispy lefse chip. Brewed in St. Cloud, Minn., by Beaver Island Brewing Co. At Giggles’ Campfire Grill, located on the southeast corner of Lee Avenue and Cooper Street, at The North Woods

Kaffebar at Norway House serves one of our favorite beverages – Spring Grove Soda. When you are at the fair you can enjoy Spring Grove Soda too. When you don’t want the usual fair fare in a soft drink.

The State Fair is only a few weeks away. You can find maps and schedules on their website.

Have a great time at the fair and no matter where you are — enjoy the last weeks of summer. We are gearing up for fall and have a lot of fun events, sales, and classes for you at Ingebretsen’s.

Finally, here is a segment from the Ellen show when she sent a producer and food commentator to visit our fair a couple of years ago: