More than 1.7 million people attended the Minnesota State Fair, held August 25 through September 5. Called the Great Minnesota Get-Together, the fair is filled with hundreds of unique displays, including this wall of vintage seed bags. Come see what else we found at the fair! (Photos and text by Deborah Drolen Jones)
1. A collector's treasure
Ron Kelsey, superintendent of farm crops at the Minnesota State Fair, has been collecting vintage seed bags for 20 to 25 years. He says that every seed sack used to have printed instructions on its back that explained how to take the color out of the sack so it could then be used to make cloths or dishtowels. Because the sacks were meant to be recycled in this way, few with their original color and logo remain. In addition, seed companies starting using plastic or paper bags for seed about 50 to 60 years ago; every cloth seed bag is now at least 50 years old — and a rare auction or antique-store find.
2. Minnesota flora
Prize-winning wildflowers, garden flowers, and exotic plants were on display in the fair’s Agriculture-Horticulture building.
3. Minnesota born and raised
The Honeycrisp apple was developed by the University of Minnesota’s apple-breeding program to be a winter-hardy cultivar. The original seedling was planted in 1962 at the University of Minnesota Horticultural Research Center, near Excelsior MN. The U.S. Apple Association describes the Honeycrisp as having a “honeyed, mild flavor and a crispness deemed explosive.”
4. "Make way for the cow!"
A parade wouldn’t be a Minnesota State Fair parade without an enormous dairy cow.
5. A parade every day
The fair features a parade every afternoon at 2:00, which follows a 14-block route. Thursday's parade included a restored fire truck, complete with polished bell.
6. Groomed to perfection
“Sweet Thing” gets a haircut and fluff for her time in the show ring.
7. Is she deserving of a ribbon?
Judge Scott Lall, Mason City, IL, turns a sharp, discerning eye on this heifer entered in the FFA Beef Cattle Show.
8. "One bag of hot, crispy french fries, please."
9. Record crowd
On Sunday, September 4, 229,943 people visited the fair, a new attendance record for that day of the week.
10. Ribbon winners, and a Barbie cake too!
How does one get to be a judge of this contest?
11. From mint jelly to apricot jam
In the Creative Activities building, jams and jellies of all different flavors were displayed.
12. The perfect end to a perfect day
Square dancing on the sidewalk