Check, Please: 3 State Fair traditions

  • Article by: RICK NELSON , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 25, 2012 - 1:47 PM

All the Milk You Can Drink, Pronto Pups and Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar are longtime fair favorites.

A bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies.

Photo: Steve Rice, Star Tribune

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More than 300 food concessions do business at the Minnesota State Fair, and the annual numbers are huge: Over 2.6 million (number of cheese curds sold), 338,000-plus (in dozens of mini doughnuts sold) and 310 (calorie count for an average-size corn dog). The food history is equally rich.

The Midwest Dairy Association's All the Milk You Can Drink stand first materialized in 1955, when the price was 10 cents. It's now a buck, and it's still one of the fair's great values. Here's a daunting but wholesome number: Last year, the stand sold 16,543 gallons of 2 percent white milk and 15,188 gallons of 1 percent chocolate milk.

Judson Av. between Clough St. and Nelson St.

The Pronto Pup made its Fairgrounds debut in 1947, and kicked off the hallowed fair tradition of offering a deep-fried delicacy (in this case, a hot dog) on a stick. The difference between a Pronto Pup and a corn dog? The former is made with a flour-based batter, the latter calls upon cornmeal.

Eight locations, including Carnes Av. between Liggett St. and Clough St.

Since 1979, fairgoers have been lining up for cones and buckets filled with warm-from-the-oven chocolate chip cookies at Sweet Martha's Cookie Jar, and how: Over the fair's 12-day run, the two stands bake in excess of 10 million cookies. And Martha Rossini Olson really lives up to her namesake credentials.

Dan Patch Av. near Liggett St., and Carnes Av. between Nelson St. and Underwood St.


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