What is it about The Minnesota State Fair?

What is it about The Minnesota State Fair? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

For my entire adult life, I have owned the self-proclaimed title of:
The Biggest Fan of the Minnesota State Fair.

You might think I am exaggerating, but friends, I assure you I am not. When we went to Disney World, I looked at that famed castle and proclaimed, “I think The Fair is better.”

In fact, the Opening Day of the Fair is recognized as a holiday in our household. Right up there with Thanksgiving, Christmas, and the 4th of July.

I have an entire storage box of clothing designated as “Fair Wear” that I only pull out every August.

And every year (without fail) when I walk through those pearly gates to my own personal heaven, I cry happy tears while my family looks away in extreme embarrassment.

What is it about The Minnesota State Fair? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

I share much of my excitement with basically anyone who will listen to me and the response I get the most is usually:

“I JUST DON’T UNDERSTAND – WHY DO YOU LOVE IT SO MUCH?”

You can imagine my face as these words are uttered.

Usually I just laugh it off, try to rationalize with them {I mean I GET IT – sweating alongside two million people isn’t for everyone}, or I encouragingly say, “Just give it another try!”

What is it about The Minnesota State Fair? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

But this year, in the Fair’s absence, I really had time to reflect on what it is the Fair means to me. Because ultimately…

It’s more than strapping on my fanny pack and one of my zillion Fair tees.

It’s more than paying homage to our great state of Minnesota.

It’s more than eating until your stomach hurts and stuffing down that last item on a stick before heading home.

It’s more than something to do with your family on a summer weekend.

What is it about The Minnesota State Fair? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

For me, the Fair is…

Seeing the sparkling marquee at Grandstand and remembering my parents taking me to one of my first concerts as a child, Aaron Carter, where I stood front row as he reached out and touched my hand and I thought I was going to pass out.

Plopping down at the Leinie Lodge and remembering 2013, when I proudly sported my 41-week pregnant belly through the streets of the Fair, pausing only for some live music and a chance to rehydrate myself. Recounting with my husband the number of people that stopped me and said, “Are you SURE you should be here?!” My response? “Giving birth at the Fair would be my greatest life accomplishment so have no fear, I’m good!”

Riding the Skyride and remembering being a college student with my legs dangling over the side with a bucket of cookies in my lap, singing to the Goo Goo Dolls at the top of my lungs with my best friends before we all went off to our respective colleges. An end of a season of togetherness, on the cusp of adulthood.

My oldest daughter getting her yearly Corn on the Cob photo – one we have snapped each year outside the Corn Roast since she was 11 months old, marking how she is growing and changing each year {but the corn love stays the same!}.

Catching a glimpse of a small hill near the West End Market where my husband and I laid down in 2009 so I could bury my face in his arm and no one could see me as I sobbed inconsolably, knowing he was heading off to the military days later. Laying there with him while staring up at the clouds in my happiest place with also the most deeply hurting heart.

Strolling down Midway remembering the year that a passerby gave my daughter a larger-than-life stuffed Scooby Doo that he had won but couldn’t fit on the bus, my daughter’s eyes aglow like she had just won the lottery.

Reminiscing on the many years we have run into old friends, family members, former teachers, neighbors, and coworkers – pulling aside our caravan of strollers and hands overflowing with food and drinks to chat and catch up even just for a brief, serendipitous moment.

What is it about The Minnesota State Fair? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

And then I realized – it’s not about the Fair.

Although let’s be honest, WHERE ELSE CAN YOU EAT A BUCKET OF FOUR DOZEN PIPING HOT COOKIES WHILE WATCHING A COW GIVE BIRTH?

It’s about the memories; each Fair serving as a time capsule of that year. The Fair for me is my January 1st as a new school year begins just days later; hallmarking another year for both myself and my children. When I’m at the Fair, it feels like simultaneously holding the years of my childhood, my early adulthood, my marriage, my motherhood… all in a blissfully beautiful swirl of memories.

Each year, I step off the bus and think – what will this year bring? And while this year the experience won’t be quite the same, my heart behind the Fair will be. In fact, it just might be one of the most unique and memorable years I tuck away into my time capsule.

What is it about The Minnesota State Fair? | Twin Cities Mom Collective

Danielle Kleiner
As the Director of Operations for Twin Cities Moms Blog, Danielle loves that she gets the opportunity to do "a little bit of everything" including team management, sales strategy, helping with our events, building our comprehensive guides, and even writes from time to time! Her favorite part of her job is building relationships with readers and sponsors. Danielle is a proud 7 on the enneagram and loves to find the FUN in everything. Her latest exciting adventure? She recently moved from the suburbs to St. Paul and her family is relishing every ounce of the city life. Her family is made up of her husband, Ethan, and their two daughters, Emersyn (2013) and Arden (2017). She is the Minnesota State Fair's number one fan, a frequent visitor to her nearest Starbucks drive thru, and she fully believes that leopard print is a neutral. After experiencing a challenging road to motherhood, Danielle has a heart specifically for supporting moms through miscarriage, secondary infertility, and adoption.

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