State Fair 2011: Cliches vs. treasures

CHRISTY DESMITH | Updated 8/17/2012

A cynic's guide to unironic enjoyment of the Minnesota State Fair.

If you ever mustered the courage (and the $30) to ride the Sling Shot, then you know -- that ride is super fun! As extreme rides go, the Skyscraper is too dizzying for the average adrenaline junkie. As for the Sling Shot, it feels exactly the way a "Star Wars" fan always imagined lightspeed, with stars and cityscapes passing in a blur.

Cliche: Miracle of Birth Center

You don't need a PETA membership to be troubled by this free exhibit. Many a fairgoer has expressed sympathy for the cows, pigs and sheep forced to give birth before a live audience of gawkers. It's gross. It's crowded. And for the animals at least, it's the ultimate indignity.

Treasure: The Horse Barn

A quiet refuge from the gaping crowds, the Horse Barn features stall upon stall of equines, mules and donkeys, not to mention their soft-spoken owners. Yes, horses have a soothing effect on us humans. Kick it with Arabians, Appaloosas, Clydesdales and our favorite, the American Bashkir Curly Horses with their corkscrewed manes. Bonus: check out the impressive Art Deco carvings on the Horse Barn's exterior.


  • When: Thu.-Sept. 5
  • Where: State Fairgrounds, 1265 N. Snelling Av., Falcon Heights
  • Tickets: $12 adult regular admission
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