Even though the Minnesota State Fair is canceled, Sweet Martha’s Cookie Jar isn’t getting the whole summer off. Neither is Giggles Campfire Grill, Mouth Trap Cheese Curds and Turkey to Go.
Those are just some of the offerings at this summer’s first-ever Minnesota State Fair Food Parade.
The “multi-hour” drive-through experience will feature 16 vendors and their famous fair treats during three long weekends, before and during the time the fair would have taken place — if not for COVID-19 canceling the annual get-together.
For $20, vehicles with up to 5 passengers will have access to a 1.5-mile route through the fairgrounds, taking them past vendors that also include Tom Thumb Donuts, Que Viet, Foot Long Hot Dogs & Corn Dogs, and Dairy Goodness Bar by Midwest Dairy.
Tickets go on sale at 10 a.m. Friday, July 31 here for the following dates: Aug. 20–23, Aug. 27–30 and Sept. 3–7. Proceeds from ticket sales support the fair, which has lost 95% of its revenue this year.
Food is not included in the cost of admission, and all food transactions will be done via car window. Just imagine placing a drive-through order: “Would you like Fresh Cut French Fries with that?” (Those are available, too.)
Here’s what else is included with admission: a reusable lunch bag filled with goodies, and entertainment that can be experienced by car, including a trivia contest and appearances by fair mascots.
The fair’s rain-or-shine parade route travels one way through the fairgrounds, with some bypass lanes. But be advised, “this won’t be a grab-n-go curbside pick-up event.”
Other tips from the fair: bring a pen to fill out orders (and play bingo). Masks are encouraged for the person placing and paying for orders. Cars only — bikes, motorcycles and pedestrians are not permitted. And bring food with you to donate to a Cub food drive benefitting Second Harvest Heartland.
For more information — and the menu — go to mnstatefair.org/food-parade-2020.
Don't see your favorite fair food on the list? Many vendors have been finding creative ways this summer to reach their customers without the home base of the fairgrounds, by setting up in parking lots, driveways and on roadsides across the metro. Others are holding pop-ups in restaurants, and launching food trucks, like Blue Barn.
Minnesota is not alone in trying to recreate some fair food magic.The Wisconsin State Fair announced a Fair Food Drive-Thru of its own, on two miles of its Milwaukee fairgrounds. Rotating vendors will offer foods such as cream puffs, deep-fried Snickers bars and pickle pizza over four weekends, beginning this Thursday.