In today's article about pitchmen and women at the fair, I noted that many of the hawkers have to offer a slightly better deal during the fair on products that can be purchased online, in stores or by phone. Consumers deserve a little extra savings for carrying a salsa maker or a mop all over the fair.
By the way, non-food concessionaires don't have to pay the Minnesota State fair a percentage of their sales. (Food vendors do.) Non-food concessionaires pay a space rental of $105 per front foot. So a 10-foot wide booth front would pay $1,050 for the 12 days, said fair spokeswoman Brienna Schuette.
Here are a couple of other deals offered at the fair that aren't being actively pitched by professional hawkers.
Angie's List, the local version of Consumer Reports that rates service providers such as plumbers, electricians, tree trimmers and hundreds more, is offering a one-year subscription or renewal rate for $10 or $15, normally $39 or more. The $10 renewal includes access to all of Angie's ratings and reviews for home, lawn car and pet care. The $15 rate includes ratings of doctors, dentists and hospitals. This year's deal is $5 less than the deal in 2011.
The Angie's List booth is located in the Home Improvement Building next to Kidway. If you can't make it to the fair, you can also get the same rate by phone at 1-888-888-5478. Ask for the Minnesota State Fair Discount.
Twin Cities Consumers' Checkbook, a non-profit competitor to Angie's List, is also doing a State Fair Special online. For $15, regularly $34, readers will receive a two-year all access subscription to the print magazines, newsletters and online access to hundreds of auto repair shops, vets, dentists and doctors. Checkbook doesn't rate as many service provider categories as Angie's list, but its ratings are more comprehensive, including very helpful price comparisions. A mobile app is also available. To get the deal, visit Checkbook by Sept. 11.
Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota is offering one free Online Care doctor's visit at the fair for participants who have their photo taken in front of a green screen. The voucher can be used anytime through Nov. 30. Online Care Anywhere allows anyone, not just Blue Cross members, a 10 minute doctor's visit via live web cam. Users will interact with a real doctor (internist, family physician or emergency room doc) who can prescribe medication if necessary.
The 24-hour service offers short wait times, which average about 3 minutes, according to BCBS of Minnesota.
The Blue Cross Blue Shield of Minnesota State Fair booth is located at Underwood St. and Judson Ave.