Best Tourist Attraction - 2012
Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair is often maligned by those who live near it, but for folks not from the Twin Cities, and especially those not from the state, the fair is quite a sight. After a series of territorial fairs, the first Minnesota State Fair was held in 1859 near what would become downtown Minneapolis, and it has now grown to become the second-largest state fair in the country. Its 320 acres include a number of historically significant structures, more than 450 foods from 300 concessionaires, over 100 free entertainment acts and an impressive nightly Grandstand lineup, over 30 carnival rides for adults and another 30 for the kids, some 5,000 exhibits of handicrafts, baking, and canning in the Creative Activities building, and the largest juried art show in the state. And that's just the stuff; consider the people, the nearly 1.8 million visitors who stop at the fair each year. It's a place where bees make honey, butter is turned into art, and Future Farmers of America help bring baby calves into the world. Compared to a green giant wearing leaves or our monument to consumerism down in Bloomington, isn't the State Fair a tourist attraction to be proud of?