Minnesota State Fair – 22-23 AUG 2012

The first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 near downtown Minneapolis. 
After annually changing locations, hitting Rochester, Red Wing, St. Paul, Minneapolis, Winona, and Owatonna, it found a permanent home in 1885 in the present location of St.Paul.
There are many historic buildings on the fairgrounds. Above is the new (1947) Art Deco-inspired Agriculture Horticulture Building. 
This is the largest state fair in the United States, in terms of average daily attendance.
At 320 acres, it also covers a lot of land. I've put a red line where the fairgrounds seems to end.
These four photos show you a panoramic view.
Minnesota gets the title of "Best Educational Exhibits." Heritage Square opened in 1975 and has several historical and recreated buildings.
Above is a blacksmith shop complete with a working blacksmith; below is a log cabin with a mother and child in pioneer dress.
There was a railroad coach donated by the Royal American Shows, Inc. filled with memorabilia and antiques.
I was thrilled to find this prehistoric bison skull donated by my fathers' cousin.
Several years ago, he gave my brother a skull that has a horn spread of over a three feet. It makes this one look small.
The area in which they were found was on my mothers' homestead.
This fur trader's booth was too authentic.
And people were buying taxidermy specimens and trinkets.
My favorite was the stage show with Tina and Lena...the wives of Oly and Sven.
There was a special fire department display that had this 1884 fire hose pump: 
They had a parade and I caught the bicycle riding flamingos in front of the shrimp stand for an ironic image:
Dill pickles are a Minnesota staple.  
The fair has two gopher mascots: Fairchild and his nephew, Fairborn.
TW has been nearly beheaded by a pirate and now eaten by a gopher.
You haven't been to the Minnesota State Fair if you didn't see how many glasses of milk you can drink for a dollar.
Above is an art statement made from debris removed from a lake.
This convenience store says it was established in 1933, but I don't remember ever seeing it before.
My cousin put in a request for a photo of the giant Lee overalls. After looking all over the fair, talking to three information booths, having my brother in California research the web, I called my older sister who said, "That's been gone for years." My brother came to the conclusion it was removed when they flatten machinery hill.
At least, they still carve the Princess Kay of the Milky Way and her court in butter. Being the beginning of the fair, they were only on the second bust.
One of the most educational and unique exhibits is the CHS Miracle of Birth Center, where over the course of the fair, round 200 births are witnessed.
We arrived, just as the last piglet was born. 
They have displays about animal agriculture production, veterinary science and the birthing process.
TW sneaks into a display at the historic J. V. Bailey house, one of the oldest buildings (1911) on the fairgrounds. 
This tall gal says: "Dedicated to the Women of Minnesota, 1858-1959."
They had a butterfly room where you can cover yourself with beautiful insects.
This one landed on my leg and wouldn't leave, even when I walked around or sat down for TW to check it out.
I also enjoyed the Doggies of the Wild West Show:

There was a building filled with antiques dealers.
And another with antique printing equipment and working displays:
Like any state fair, there were many displays of art and crafts:
And seed art:
In the above four photos, TW is the only thing not made of seeds. 
A state fair is the only place where you will see adults walking proudly around all day long with a silly paper hat.
Of course, the mosquito is the state bird.