Once a fair fan, always a fair fan.
And for the 12 days of the Minnesota State Fair, no one has an easier commute than the residents who live nearby.
That's what Paula Lee Roberts found out after she moved to St. Paul from Seattle after purchasing a house a few blocks from the fairgrounds. For Lee Roberts, the house was all about location, location, location.
Initially, that had nothing to do with the fair. She and her family landed on the Pascal Street house because it was a short drive to the University of Minnesota.
"We purchased the house so my daughter could go to [medical and business] school," said Lee Roberts. "My daughter just happened to come across the house. It was updated with all new systems, electrical, plumbing. … It was already renovated, which made it very attractive."
It was spacious enough to host family members visiting from out of town. The lower level was finished. The main floor had a nice floor plan and an updated kitchen with features such as granite countertops.
"It was really nice how it was designed. The house was built in 1926, so you know how they can be compartmentalized," Lee Roberts said. "When it was renovated they must have really opened up things. It's a nice open layout. The kitchen wasn't closed off."
A close-knit community
While living there, Lee Roberts made some updates including giving the place a fresh coat of paint, replacing a piano window and updating the landscaping.
"There was just dirt and weeds and some hostas. I put in sod and plants and made it a nice spot to be," she said.
Whenever she gardened, neighbors stopped by to say hello.
"As I got to know the neighborhood, a lot of people grew up here. And when they become adults, they buy a home here," she said. "The neighbors are very invested in the community."
And whenever the fair rolled around, the Como neighborhood became part of a larger community. Lee Roberts would join her neighbors as part of an unofficial welcome committee of sorts. "Neighbors will fill water and offer treats for people walking through the neighborhood," she said.
Lee Roberts and her family members came to appreciate the 15-minute walk to the fair, which quickly became a family tradition. Riding the SkyGlider to take in aerial views of the grounds and the roasted corn stand became must-dos.
"Our favorite food was the corn. I've never had corn like that in my life," she said. "It was a fun time. We made it a yearly thing."
While her family has enjoyed the home for the past six years, they've put the three-bedroom, two-bathroom house with 2,100 square feet on the market.
"My daughter's in residency" out of state, Lee Roberts said. "It's time for me to move on."
She has enjoyed living in the home, with the sunroom and other light-filled spaces as well as the private backyard.
"I really appreciated and enjoyed all of the windows because you can get so much natural light and winters here are tough," Lee Roberts said. "I think the backyard was cool. Being on the corner with a fenced-in yard was nice. You could have kids here and it's a nice safe spot. We had dogs. It was nice for them."
Listing agent Carrie Peterlin said the location offers more than proximity to the fairgrounds. It's also within walking distance to Como Park, with its zoo, conservatory, golf course, recreation center and Como Lake.
And being part of a close-knit community was second to none. "I'm kind of sad to leave," Lee Roberts said. "I've never quite lived in a neighborhood like this."