The Great Minnesota Get-Together is best known for its food-on-a-stick offerings, but it’s also a growing destination for Minnesota-made goods from heritage manufacturers.
More than 150 years since its founding, Faribault Woolen Mill is making its first-ever appearance at the fair this year. Homegrown brands like Faribault and Duluth Pack are in the midst of a renaissance, thanks to surging popularity for tradition-bearing products. And that makes for a perfect pairing with the 157-year-old fair.
What took so long for Faribault to bring its gorgeous goods to the fair? “It took a while, but we finally realized we were ready to go,” explained CEO Terry Mackenthun. “Our product isn’t as transportable as one would believe.”
The mill has retrofitted its trade show booth into a 150-square-foot Mill Store located on the second floor of the grandstand. Mackenthun said the pop-up shop will feature a combination of Faribault Mill’s bestselling items, such as wool throws, blankets and totes, as well as a few items made especially for the fair in bolder color options. Faribault Mill blankets and throws will top out at $100, but Mackenthun said there will be plenty of products in the $40 to $60 range, plus totes starting at $10. Expect heavy discounts on a selection of limited-edition, sample and discontinued goods typical of the mill’s annual tent sale, as well as generous markdowns on throws and market totes from the company’s eco-woven cotton line introduced this summer. The shop will also offer early-bird specials from 9 a.m. to noon each day, daily drawings for throws and free wool koozies for the first 50 visitors every day.
More Minnesota-made goods
Duluth Pack: At 134 years old, Duluth Pack is the nation’s oldest canvas and leather bag maker. It returns to the fair for its 11th year with some of its top-selling items, including the roll-top scout pack, shell bag and market tote, as well as some newly launched products: a growler tote, leather pint sleeves, branded apparel and its deluxe roll-top scout pack. Where: Dairy Building, south wall.
I Like You: The Northeast gift shop is known for its handmade Minnesota-themed goods with quirky designs and tongue-in-cheek messages. Its booth will feature a selection of new and top-selling T-shirt designs, as well as pint glasses, tea towels, koozies, key chains, Minnesota wall art and infant onesies. Find the store’s coupon for discounted shirts in the Blue Ribbon Bargain Book. Where: West End Market, northwest section.
Anchor Iron Co.: Founded in 1953 in Savage, this ironwork manufacturer has been a regular at the fair for more than 30 years. Its product line includes cast-iron antique reproduction toys and mechanical banks, replicas of old advertising signs and other nostalgic items. Where: West End Market, northeast section.
Love From Minnesota: The gift shop, which has five retail locations including the Mall of America, sells an exclusive selection of products made in Minnesota, including bath and body goods, chocolates, wild rice soup, home goods, souvenirs and Minnetonka Moccasins. Where: North side of Dan Patch Av. between Underwood & Cooper Sts.
Paddle North: Founded in 2014, this locally owned stand-up paddle board company is making its State Fair debut by releasing four new water sport products. Where: Dairy Building
Sota Clothing: The heritage-inspired brand, founded in 2013, makes its State Fair debut this year with its retrofitted 1972 Fleetwing Chickadee mobile caravan shop. Where: North Woods
When to shop? 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. daily, from Aug. 25 through Sept. 5. mnfair.org.
Jahna Peloquin is the style editor of Minnesota Monthly and a freelance writer and stylist in the Twin Cities.