The new flavor of lip balm that the Star Tribune offers each year at the Minnesota State Fair is a closely guarded secret. 

And no wonder. Past years have broken the mold as the nuances of French fry, mini-doughnut, bratwurst, butter, ketchup, mustard, bacon, fresh-cut grass and, yes, "stick" lip balm have left Minnesotans safe from the harshness of chapped lips. Admittedly, some years were more popular than others. ("Stick" took a little explaining.)

This year went a different route — a detour, if you will — with the flavor of (drumroll, please) "traffic cone."

And what does a traffic cone taste like? Well, the Star Tribune crew (all wearing hard hats and safety vests), who hammered out the details, ruled out “asphalt” and “car exhaust” as flavorings. They took inspiration, instead, from the color of the cone itself, which is (of course) orange.  

And what does “orange” taste like? Think California, Florida and Arizona. Find out with your own tube of lip-smacking balm, available as of opening day, Aug. 23, and for the full 12 days of the state fair at the Star Tribune booth (Carnes Av., at the end of the Grandstand ramp). A limited number of tubes of lip balm are distributed each day; check at the booth for the timing. 

But that's a week away. To ready you for the Great Minnesota Get-Together, the Star Tribune will hold its Preview Party Thursday (Aug. 16) at Strib headquarters (Capella Tower Atrium, Star Tribune Building, 650 3rd Av. S., Mpls.) from 11:30 a.m.-1 p.m. with free samples of fair food available, while they last. Admission is simply a donation to Second Harvest Heartland food bank.

See you at the fair! And let us know your favorite flavors of lip balm!  

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