Dire news from dairy land: The price of All the Milk You Can Drink at the Minnesota State Fair just doubled.
The Midwest Dairy Association dropped the bomb: "Fairgoers seeking their fill of fresh, cold, 2 percent white or low-fat chocolate milk will find the price is now $2 per cup," the group announced on the Minnesota State Fair site.
The milk booth has been a State Fair fixture for 60 years and for the past 11 of those years, the milk has been flowing for $1 per bottomless cup.
But costs were rising, and the dairy association decided that either the price had to increase, or the endless refill policy had to go.
"We wish we could have made a smaller price increase," said Midwest Dairy Association spokeswoman Sherry Newell. But in the end, she said, nobody wanted the hassle of making change for All The Milk You Can Drink for $1.25 or $1.50. "It really was not practical for us to handle the volume of coin."
The booth got its start at the fair in 1955, offering milk at 10 cents per glass. The milk booth and neighboring dairy booth combined are the fair's second-largest vendors.
It has become one of the most popular stops at the fair, and one of the best bargains for sweaty, thirsty fairgoers — even though the booth defines "all you can drink" as the amount of milk one person can drink while standing there at the booth, not wandering the fair throughout the entire day.
The average patron downs two or three cups of milk, Newell said.
"We know that's a big [price] jump," she said. "But we also think it's still the best bargain you can get at the fair. There's nobody else that offers all-you-can-drink or all-you-can-eat. So we think that it's something our customers will be able to understand and still value.
For those who really miss $1 milk, the stand will roll back the price on Military Appreciation Day, Tuesday, Sept. 1.