It’s fair season in MN! Next week is the start of the Minnesota State Fair. The first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 near what became downtown Minneapolis. This was a year after Minnesota was granted statehood. During the fair’s early years, the site of the exposition changed annually with stops in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Red Wing, Winona and Owatonna. In the 1870s and early 1880s, civic groups from both St. Paul and Minneapolis worked relentlessly to provide a permanent home for the fair in their respective cities, but could not agree on anything. The State Fair finally found a permanent home at its present location when Ramsey County donated its 210-acre poor farm to the state for exclusive use by the Agricultural Society, the governing body of the State Fair. The fairgrounds has blossomed to its current 322 acres. Since its inception, the fair has been held every year with only six exceptions: in 1861 and 1862 due to the Civil War and U.S.-Dakota War, in 1893 because of scheduling conflicts with the World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1945 due to federal government travel restrictions during World War II, in 1946 due to a polio epidemic, and in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
County fairs have been going on since June. Our family was so excited to be back showing dairy cows at our county fair a couple weeks ago after missing last year. County fairs are going on all over MN and I hope you will take the time to stop at one and visit with a farmer or two. The county fair is something that my family and I take great pride in being involved in. It is a time for people in agriculture to shine and to visit with consumers about what we are doing on our farms every day. It is so important that the love of agriculture continues on to the next generation. The root of all fairs is the competition for the best agricultural and domestic products of the county and/or community (or region or state) and it is an annual celebration for the community to come together, to share and to learn about agriculture.
Reminder of my next DGA pasture walk to be held on August 24 at Seven Pines Farm and Fence in Verndale, MN. It will be from 11am-2:00pm. If you can register beforehand that would be preferred but it is not required!