July 24, 2019


By Neal A. Shipman
Farmer Editor

The North Dakota State Fair kicked off its 9-day run this past Friday in Minot, and for the umpteenth time my wife and I made our annual pilgrimage to the greatest foodfest imaginable.
While there are those that love the State Fair for its nightly concerts, the carnival rides and games, all of the commercial exhibits, or passing through all of the livestock barns and the 4-H and open class exhibits, that’s not what drives me to the fair. It’s the food. Pure and simple.
Yes, I enjoy wandering the fairgrounds and checking out the latest crazy gadgets from potato peelers to glass and floor cleaners, as well as checking out the campers, boats, hot tubs and automobiles. Quite literally, if you have money in your pocket, there is someone at the State Fair that will do their best to get you to part with it.
And to be honest, over the years, I’ve bought my share of goofy food processors and assorted “handy dandy” items that I never needed and have probably only used a couple of times since I bought them. But hey, that just seems to be part of the fair experience. I guess it is kind of like going to an auction, getting caught up in the bidding process, and then wondering why in the world you ever bought the stuff that you did.
We can all get caught up in the magic of the fair. But as I’ve grown older and have less and less room in my house and garage for more poorly thought out purchases, my wife and I have finally decided that the sole purpose of going to the State Fair revolves around eating as much deep-fried food as our digestive system can put up with.
So when we arrived at the fairgrounds on Friday evening, we began our pilgrimage up and down the long line of food vendors offering everything from deep-fried cheese curds (a must have), deep-fried Oreos (a take or leave), corn dogs (a must have) and a gazillion other morsels. You can eat Mexican, Chinese, Thai, Italian, and I suppose American. You can eat food in napkins, boxes or even on a stick.
There are more food options at the fair than one person can possibly consume. But that’s not to say that you can’t still give it the old college try.
So as a favor to anyone thinking about going to the North Dakota State Fair, here are my absolutely “don’t miss” food booths.
1) The First Lutheran Church Booth no doubt has great food (after all they are Lutheran women that are doing the cooking). There is only one reason that my wife and I stop there every time we are at the State Fair. It’s for a slice of some of the best pie ever. If you like homemade pie, then you will think you’ve gone to pie heaven! I like the peach, the rhubarb, and the apple pies, but with all of the choices from which to choose, you can’t go wrong. It’s the place that deserves a trip to and will probably result in return visits.
2) The Ye Ole Sausage’s Italian sausage with fried onions and sauerkraut. There are lots of other booths that have them, but this one booth is my “go to” sausage shack.
3) The Minnesota Wing King booth is tucked kind of out of the way, but well worth finding if you like chicken wings. They are exceptional. And this booth also won this year’s North Dakota State Fair Food Frenzy competition with their Pit Master Fries. While we couldn’t find room for any more food, it was tempting to give those a try.
After that, there is nothing like the mini donuts, cheese curds, corn dogs, a fry bread taco, a slice of pizza, or a bag of kettle corn to indulge on as you sit and watch people wander up and down the midway.
Heck you can even load up your arms with food and take in some of the free concerts or other assorted free stages. Speaking of which, two of the best free stages are the Frisbee chasing dogs and the high divers.
So for whatever reason you may have, the North Dakota State Fair, which closes this weekend, is well worth the visit.