It’s True: Rochester Once Hosted the Minnesota State Fair
Of course, NO city gets to host the Minnesota State Fair this year, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic, but it is true Rochester once hosted the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
If 2020 was a regular year -- and not the raging dumpster fire it's been so far -- we'd be only a week away from that annual rite of late summer: the Minnesota State Fair. And while we can't look forward to it this year, we CAN regale ourselves with some facts from the past about the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Like the fact that the State Fair was, in fact, once held right here in Rah-Rah-Rochester. But you probably don't remember it, though. According to the official Minnesota State Fair website, in its early years, (and the first Fair was held waaaay back in 1859, btw-- just a year after Minnesota became a state), the Fair used to be held at various cities around Minnesota-- including, yes, right here in Rochester. The site said it was also held in Red Wing, Winona, Owatonna, Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Can you imagine having the Minnesota State Fair here in Rochester? Of course, back then, it wasn't nearly as big as it is now, I'm guessing. But it sure would have been cool to get your fix of Sweet Martha's Cookies (or some Lift Bridge Brewing Company's Mini Donut Beer) right here in our own backyard-- had they even been around then, that is.
So when did the Fair move to Falcon Heights? Well, it "found a permanent home at its present location, mid-way between Minneapolis and St. Paul 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," the site said.
Since then, it has gone on to become one of the biggest and best state fairs in the entire country. And that's not just me talking, mind you-- a few years ago, Business Insider ranked the Minnesota State Fair number-one in the nation as well. And to think, it was once held right here in our fair city.