BEST STATE FAIR RIDE (2001)
Ye Old Mill
Here we were, all worked up about bungee jumping and ejection seats, placing gravity-defying thrill rides over nostalgia and tradition. While the 88-year veteran Ye Old Mill embodies the simpler ways of celebrating our Minnesotan heritage, the continued existence of the ride is more than an oversight--the dang thing's a historical landmark, recently recognized by the National Amusement Park Historical Association as the nation's "oldest operating tunnel of love." Be that as it may, the turquoise-hued canal cruise is a multigenerational family favorite. Owned and operated by John and Marna Keenan, the ride is virtually unchanged from what it was when it was built by John's grandfather in 1913. And even if you dismiss the (remarkably popular) Bambi- and elf-adorned picture windows at every turn as kitsch, the Old Mill's well worth your nickel: The lines are short, the service is friendly, and it's cheaper than anything Kiddieland has to offer.