Critics say there’s nothing new at the State Fair. Hah! Here’s list of new and improved offerings (some of which might not be real):
Tired of Mini-Donuts? Try the new Maxi-Donuts! They’re the size of a tractor tire. You can actually wear them around your waist, and tear off delicious hunks as you walk around the fair.
At the Carousel Park, a daily exhibition of gymnastics includes “trampolinists on a stick,” which is about as painful as it sounds.
That thing that catapults people into the sky, screaming? If you’re afraid of heights, there’s now one that hurls you horizontally at tremendous velocity, 3 feet above the ground. From what I hear, they’ve got the bugs pretty much figured out, but it’s near the place where the buses load and unload, so if you get on a bus that has some head-shaped dents, that’s why.
The clever and exciting new food is “Deep Fried Yak Thyroids,” available at the International Bazaar, where a guy with a Brainerd accent assures you they are totally a thing they eat in Mongolia. (Note: is actually chicken.)
Smokey the Bear will run screaming through the DNR area engulfed in flames at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. daily to remind you to douse your campfires.
Prices on some things are a bit higher because of the Weimar-era-style hyperinflation we’ve been experiencing, but also because you forgot what you paid last year.
There’s now a caricature artist who will draw you without giving you teeth that look like a beaver’s.
The piano booth under the grandstand will have a BOGO special, so if you see couples walking around the fair with pianos strapped to their backs instead of enormous stuffed animals, that’s probably why.
Fairchild, the adorable mascot who roams the fair, is now able to perform marriages. He is also a notary public, and will be extinguishing Smokey the Bear at 1, 2 and 3 p.m. daily.
The Giant Slide has a “turbo” option, liberally lubed with silicone, ending with a ski jump; ideally, you aim for a big mattress west of the midway. Early testing went well, and search parties have found most of the riders.
This year’s Crop Art will be planted outside the Horticulture Building to see if the inevitable political caricature results in a field of flowers that looks like Donald Trump’s hair when you look down from the Space Tower.
Due to elevated security concerns, all bags will be run through an industrial shredder. TSA is handling security, so arrive at least two hours early, three hours if you’re going to the International Bazaar.
Don’t forget to update your phone. The new Sweet Martha Anytime app will summon someone to come to the Beer Garden and shove cookies into your mouth and move your jaw up and down until you beg for mercy — or milk. And the Fresh French Fries people have an app called Tuber, which will send a bucket of spuds to your location.
That’s just a sampling of what you can expect. In 2017, that is. This year, it’s pretty much more of the same. That’s why the date on the grandstand changes: So you know it’s not last year.