I'm not someone who's typically interested in large gatherings of any kind - concerts, amusement parks - you get the idea. So when we first started discussing the possibility of going to the Minnesota State Fair (the largest in the country), it wasn't high on my list. But in the interest in being more spontaneous, we booked the trip later that night.
My friend Jenny's mom owns Sweet Martha's, a chocolate chip cookie company that sells over 1 million cookies a day at the fair. Jenny had sent me a bucket of their cookies the last few summers, insisting that I'd have to actually come out to Minnesota to try them fresh out of the oven one time...so that's exactly what we did. Her family graciously let us stay in their lake house on Big Marine and Sloan, G, Cristina and I had one of the best trips I can remember. Here are some of the highlights!
Within minutes of our arrival, G and Cristina were out on their inner tubes on the lake (Sloan and I were snacking nearby on the dock).
Our first meal was at a small outdoor spot nearby where they had a live band. Drinking a Bloody Mary with my Club Sandwich while Sloan danced and entertained the crowd was one of my favorite moments.
Everything was quaint and cute, particularly the Marine General Store, where we stopped multiple times for snacks.
Go-to lunch: hot dogs eaten outside while playing cards.
The weather the first two days made for ideal lake conditions. Sloan was a big fan.
It was rainy/overcast the day we went to the fair, which was beyond ideal (though lots of very sweet Minnesotans apologized for the weather). It meant that it wasn't too sweltering so we could walk around comfortably and also wasn't as crowded as usual. We'd taken Sloan to Disneyland last December and while she liked it, she loved the fair. She was so into the rides, in fact, that as soon as one would end, she'd burst into tears.
Tiny sugared donuts that we passed around as we walked.
G's favorite: the massive turkey leg (it was quite good).
Loved the idea of serving a caramel apple cut up with caramel drizzled over, but the ingredients weren't as good as they could have been. I look forward to recreating this at home.
I was reluctant about going to the Birth Barn, where they bring in pregnant farm animals to give birth. But after witnessing a lamb being born mere inches away, it was such a beautiful experience that it made me cry.
Favorite bucket of cookies that were even better when eaten fresh.
Behind the scenes with Jenny and Cristina at one of the three Sweet Martha's booths.
While we certainly had an indulgent day at the fair, we split almost everything (not pictured: corn dogs, fried ravioli, corn on the cob), so we could sample a ton of different things. The one exception were the Philly Cheese Steaks that we ate on benches while Sloan napped (they were good, but not great).
Sloan's souvenir of choice: a Peppa Pig balloon.
Hands down the best soft serve I've ever had (from the Dairy Building).
Tuckered out at the end of the day.