Minnesota State Fair Grounds

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Minnesota State Fair Grounds

Grandstand, Dan Patch Avenue, 2001
City/locality-
State/province
Saint Paul, Minnesota
County-
State/province:
Ramsey County, Minnesota
State/province: Minnesota
Country: United States
Historic Function: Fairgrounds
Current Function: Fairgrounds

Saint Paul Ramsey

Minnesota State Fair Grounds
(44.98022095615927° N, 93.17152976989746° WLatitude: 44°58′48.795″N
Longitude: 93°10′17.507″W
)


Contents

Fair History

After four years of territorial fairs, the first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 near what became downtown Minneapolis, the year after Minnesota was granted statehood.

During the fair's early years, the site of the exposition changed annually with stops in Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Red Wing, Winona and Owatonna. In the 1870s and early 1880s, civic groups from both St. Paul and Minneapolis worked relentlessly to provide a permanent home for the fair in their respective cities. The Minnesota State Fair finally found a permanent home at its present location, midway between the Twin Cities when the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners donated their 210-acre poor farm to the State Agricultural Society, the governing body of the State Fair.

Secure in its new surroundings, the Minnesota State Fair began to grow. Physically, the fairgrounds blossomed to 320 acres. Architecturally, it is home for many historically-significant structures including the Arts Center, Progress Center, Grandstand and Coliseum (formerly known as the Hippodrome).

An important change in the State Fair over the years has been in the attractions offered to fair visitors. The character of early fairs was dominated by agricultural exhibits and competitions, reflecting its original purpose of encouraging farming in the state. While agriculture is still the primary focus, the scope of activities has broadened to include large-scale entertainment features, technological and industrial exhibits and scores of education and government institutions.

Since its inception, the fair has been held every year with only five exceptions: in 1861 and 1862 due to the Civil War and Dakota Indian Conflict, in 1893 because of scheduling conflicts with the World's Columbian Exposition in Chicago, in 1945 due to war-time fuel shortages, and in 1946 due to a polio epidemic.

Additional History

The Minnesota Territory first began holding fairs in 1854. Agricultural societies in the territory wanted to hold fairs to display the crops,livestock, produce, and amazing handiwork of its residents. By displaying the great production of Minnesota farms and creating an active social gathering, fair organizers hoped to bring more people to the area to settle. After four years of territorial fairs, Minnesota had its first official state fair in 1859, a year after being granted statehood. The first Minnesota State Fair was held near what is now downtown Minneapolis. In the fair’s early years, the site moved around to many different locations. Some of the locations where the fair was held include Minneapolis, St. Paul, Rochester, Red Wing, Winona, and Owatonna. Beginning in the 1870s, Minneapolis and St. Paul civic groups began competing to become the permanent home of the state fair. With the help of William S. King, a prominent journalist, farmer, and government official, Minneapolis was winning the battle over St. Paul by holding larger and better fairs. After many years of working to prove their city was better suited to provide a permanent home for the fair,Minneapolis and St. Paul came together with the help of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society to find a permanent site. In 1884, the Minnesota State Agricultural Society’s committee selected a permanent site which was the Ramsey County Poor Farm. Although a site near Minnehaha Falls was strongly considered, the site in Ramsey County was chosen because it was a politically neutral site, almost equally between Minneapolis and St. Paul. Once choosing a permanent site, the cities were able to work together again with the rest of the state to place Minnesota’s great farms and produce back at the center of attention. The fair has always been extremely popular with Minnesota residents. At its beginning in 1885, the Minnesota State Fair’s site was 210 acres, but now, the site sits on over 320 acres. The Minnesota State Fair has also grown to become the largest state fair in the United States by average daily attendance. The fair’s highest daily attendance in history was 260,374 people on Saturday, September 3rd in 2016. The fair set an attendance record in 2017 of 1,997,320 people.

Other Information

The Minnesota State Fairgrounds is considered a quasi-state agency, under direction of the Minnesota State Agricultural Society. In the same year as the first official state fair, 1859, the Minnesota State Fair Foundation was founded. The organization has not accepted governmental funds since 1949. Instead of accepting government funds, revenue from the previous year’s fair is reinvested for the following year. The Minnesota State Fair Foundation is also responsible for improving and preserving historic fair buildings. The Minnesota State Fair has been very impressive from the beginning. In 1967, attendance for the entire fair reached well over 1 million people and the record day was roughly 197,000 people. By 2016, over 2 million people visited the fair and the record day reached roughly 250,000 people. The fair has been strong every year that it has occurred. The only years the fair has not occurred were:


1861-62 – because of the Civil War and the Dakota War 1893 – Because of scheduling World’s Columbian Exposition in Chicago 1945-46 – Because of war and fuel shortage, and then outbreak of polio

State Fairground Growth

When the Minnesota State Fair was opened in 1885 it sat on the old site of the Ramsey County Poor Farm, a 210 acres area of land. As the fair grew in popularity, its site reflected such change and now occupies 320 acres. Despite the economic landscape at the time, a significant amount of the fairgrounds growth in buildings and structures occurred in the 1930s and 1940s as a part of the Works Progress Administration (WPA). Much of the fair’s growth has also occurred through the variety of attractions offered to visitors. In early years, agricultural exhibits and competitions were central to the fair and made up most of the activities. Although agriculture is still the primary focus of the fair, many more areas of activities have expanded, including entertainment, exhibits in art, technology, industry, history, environment, education and government participation, and much more. Fair Events (through time)

Princess Kay of the Milky Way – since 1954. • Title awarded to the winner of the statewide Minnesota Dairy Princess Program (annual competition organized by Midwest Dairy Association). Crowned at the state fair every year. • Name selected from over 10,000 entries in 1954 • Sculptures of winning princess carved, one per day, at state fair since 1965 • Carved out of 90-pound block of Grade A butter • One of most popular exhibits at the fair Nightly fireworks and grandstand shows since 1899 “Food on a stick” – introduced in 1947 • Including items such as the Pronto Pups Machinery Hill • Since 1909, had its own building and space to display machinery • Showcase the latest and greatest agricultural equipment • During its prime, nearly 80 acres displayed farm implements and vehicles • Gives visitors a glimpse into the future of farming • Old Iron Show – showcase antique machinery • Has a feature called the “Little Farm Hands” exhibit, which provides kids a place to learn about agriculture from the fields to the grocery store

Buildings

Historically-significant structures include the Fine Arts Center, Progress Center, Grandstand, and Coliseum (formerly known as Hippodrome).

Significance/Value

The Minnesota State Fairgrounds has served as an important point, anchored near the center of the state and between its major cities, for celebration of Minnesota’s amazing agriculture, culture, and food. The fairgrounds provided a suitable site for the fair to grow and develop as more and more residents are drawn to the event. Through its long history, the Minnesota State Fair has seen many important historical events. Some historical events the state fair has seen were Theodore Roosevelt’s speech where he delivered his now famous line “speak softly and carry a big stick,” legendary racehorse Dan Patch setting a new mile record at the fair’s racetrack, and John Philip Sousa’s debuted of one of his most famous compositions, “The Minnesota March.” It has played host to many historical events and has many established traditions. Minnesota residents look forward to the fair every year and many people plan visits weeks in advance. It has rightfully earned its nickname, “The Great Minnesota Get-Together.”


Austin Kratochwill contributed content,some references and a link to photos to this place

Memories and stories

Badges

65}px This place is part of the
Saint Paul Labor History Tour


Photo Gallery

Photos from Mn State Fair Org

Related Links

Minnesota State Fair Website

[1] Grandstand Acts

[2] Food Booths

[3] State Fair

Agriculture Building

[4] Seed Lady

Grandstand
2003 Renovation and history [5]

Grandstanding [6]


Books
[7] Great Minnesota Get Together

[8] Blue Ribbon

[9] Illustrated History

[10]Seed Queen

Videos
Gail Frost [11]

Food on a Stick [12]

Butter Carving [13]

Good Question: How did the State Fair Start? [14]

Architecture at the Minnesota State Fair [15]

Notes

References Origins MSF Traditions 1917 General Foundation [http://gallery.mnstatefair.org/media/15_SFP/index.html Gallery} Vacation destination


    Buildings on the Minnesota State Fair Grounds

    # Street
    Ye Old Mill, 1694 Carnes Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16941,694 Carnes Avenue
    1774 Carnes Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 17741,774 Carnes Avenue
    Horticulture Building, 1263 Cooper Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12631,263 Cooper Street
    Bandshell, 1302 Cooper Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13021,302 Cooper Street
    Lunch Box, 1350 Cooper Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13501,350 Cooper Street
    J.V. Bailey House, 1263 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12631,263 Cosgrove Street
    Officers Quarters, 1264 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12641,264 Cosgrove Street
    Information Booth, 1291 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12911,291 Cosgrove Street
    Administration Building, 1291 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12911,291 Cosgrove Street
    Admin Too/Service Building, 1292 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12921,292 Cosgrove Street
    Police Substation East, 1321 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13211,321 Cosgrove Street
    Creative Activities Building, 1342 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13421,342 Cosgrove Street
    Spaghetti Village, 1367 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13671,367 Cosgrove Street
    Education Building, 1372 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13721,372 Cosgrove Street
    Modern Living Building, 1402 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 14021,402 Cosgrove Street
    4-H Building, 1412 Cosgrove, Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 14121,412 Cosgrove Street
    Fine Arts Center, 1412 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 14121,412 Cosgrove Street
    Kiwanis Club Diner, 1434 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 14341,434 Cosgrove Street
    Water Tower, 1530 Cosgrove Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 15301,530 Cosgrove Street
    Saint Bernard's Dining Hall, 1626 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16261,626 Dan Patch Avenue
    Merchandise Mart Building, 1640 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16401,640 Dan Patch Avenue
    Democratic Farmer Labor Party Booth, 1641 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16411,641 Dan Patch Avenue
    Minnesota AFL-CIO, 1657 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16571,657 Dan Patch Avenue
    Hamline United Methodist Church Dining Hall, 1667 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16671,667 Dan Patch Avenue
    Crossroads Building, 1670 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16701,670 Dan Patch Avenue
    Visitors Plaza, 1677 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16771,677 Dan Patch Avenue
    Butterfly House, 1697 Dan Patch Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16971,697 Dan Patch Avenue
    Haunted House, 1676 Judson Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16761,676 Judson Avenue
    Dairy Building (F.M.A. Empire Commons), 1694 Judson Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16941,694 Judson Avenue
    Sheep and Poultry Barn, 1785 Judson, Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 17851,785 Judson Avenue
    Cattle Barn, 1834 Judson Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 18341,834 Judson Avenue
    Horse Barn, 1835 Judson, Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 18351,835 Judson Avenue
    Salem Luthern Dining Hall, 1615 Randall Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16151,615 Randall Avenue
    Progress Center, 1621 Randell Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 16211,621 Randall Avenue
    Swine Barn, 1227 Stevens Avenue, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 12271,227 Stevens Avenue
    OES Dining Hall, 1315 Underwood Street, Falcon Heights, Minnesota 13151,315 Underwood Street
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