Last Chance to Visit Heritage Square at the Fair
It's not as sexy as the Midway, it's not as well-known as the Grandstand, it's not close to the usual hot-spots, but it is a part of the Minnesota State Fair's history, and after this year, it might not be.
Heritage Square, located in a sleepy little corner of the Fairgrounds (on West Dan Patch Avenue) is an area that you have to seek out because it probably won't catch your eye otherwise.
For years, my coworker Mary bought her son reasonably priced wooden toys in Heritage Square (hand-made trains and firetrucks that would normally sell for a lot more elsewhere), and journalism friends visited the Minnesota Newspaper Museum. You could even see free (yes, free!) bluegrass shows here long before bluegrass became mainstream.
The problem is that more and more people attend the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" every year (this year there were 8,000 more people on opening day than last year!), and more people means more transportation and parking issues.
How do you solve those issues? You create a transit hub. On the Fairgrounds. If the hub goes in here, Fair officials will try to find the long-time vendors a new home. For some, though, it might not be in their budget to re-create their State Fair space.
So if you want to capture a piece of history before it's gone, visit Heritage Square. If you want to try some new foods, read about the Grandstand lineup, or locate a specific spot on the Fairgrounds, read about it on my coworker Molly's blog here.
And if you're planning on going to the fair during this excessive heat wave, dress appropriately and hydrate, hydrate, hydrate! Beer, alcohol and soda can lead to dehydration, so drink water! You want memories of the fair to include blue ribbons, baby animals, pronto pups, cookies, milk shakes, music, rides, local celebrity sightings and crazy foods on a stick, not a trip to the medical aid building to be treated for heat stroke.