From sweethearts to pastry lovers to a mother-daughter team, north metro entrepreneurs put in long hours to pursue passions at the State Fair.
The State Fair begins Thursday, and the Twin Cities north metro will be well represented during the 12-day run through Labor Day. Here’s a look at some of the people and products you might encounter from your neck of the woods.
Love at first site
Stand: Pitchfork Sausage
Location: Corner of Dan Patch Avenue and Ligette Street
Melissa and Brendan Szala met as teenagers working at the Butcher Boys stand at the State Fair. Fourteen years later, the Lino Lakes couple is returning to the fair to open a similar meat-lover’s booth called Pitchfork Sausage. They even had the same booth refurbished.
“We’re literally back where we started,” doing business with the same people from way back then, Melissa said. “It feels a little surreal, like I’m 15 again.”
Pitchfork Sausage, which has been in the making for five years, offers Polish, Italian, and gluten-free Italian sausage varieties on a specially designed pitchfork, along with jalapeno-infused hot dogs.
“I have always wanted to be in business on my own, but with today’s economy, doing it solo is nearly impossible,” Melissa said.
That’s why they jumped at the chance to open a booth. “It’s a special thing to us,” she said.
The ‘happy business’
Stand: Holly’s Hobby
Location: Bazaar and Heritage Square
Holly Adler of Andover, who designs Christmas tree ornaments that get reproduced for retail sale around the world, got her start at the State Fair in 1976. A fair representative had scouted her wares at a local craft show.
That first year, Adler made 2,000 ornaments for the fair. She never imagined that the gig would lead to designing ornaments and a special line of nutcrackers, among other holiday items, for Disney, Warner Bros. and SeaWorld.