State Fair app leads visitors to munchies, music and merchandise

  • Article by: KATIE HUMPHREY , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 21, 2013 - 10:27 AM
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Photo: Richard Tsong-Taatarii, Star Tribune

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Sometimes there’s nothing more important than finding the nearest place to get cotton candy or cheese curds or fried [fill in the blank] on a stick.

The Minnesota State Fair smartphone app can lead the way. Now in its third year, the app has been updated to let visitors sort temptations by location.

“If you’re on the fairgrounds and you search for a hamburger, the first thing that comes up is going to be the building closest to you that serves hamburgers,” said Robin Goldstein, the fair’s Web and publications manager.

The free app, available in the Android and Apple app stores, also serves up plenty of non-food info, including daily fair activities and a searchable directory of goodies to buy, from Swedish clogs to power tools. Of course, there are maps, too.

But guiding hungry fairgoers is probably its most pressing use. “You think of Minnesota State Fair and 90 percent of the people are going to talk about food,” she said.

Have a specific craving? Search by name or keyword. Maybe you just want something you’ve never had before? Filter results for “new food” or “new concessionaire.”

While the app can find fair locations on a whim, Goldstein has a suggestion: Download it before arriving at the fairgrounds.

The smartphone-toting crowds can sometimes tax the capacity of the area’s mobile network, stymieing those trying to connect to the Internet. But if the app is already on your phone, she said, it should work just fine.

And don’t worry if you’re not digitally inclined. There will be as many paper maps available as always.

After all, you don’t want to be left wondering where to get the milk to go with that bucket of cookies. □

 

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