Tag Archives: Minnesota

Minnesota State Fair 2018

We never miss the fair and this year we went three times.  We always go opening day and this year’s crowd was dizzying.  Sure enough, it broke the record for opening day attendance.  I met hubby and Miss M mid morning as I had to work a few hours that morning and I knew the moment I entered the fair that it would be a big crowd, it already felt that way.

I went right into the grandstand to peruse their wares until I heard when to meet hubby and Miss M.  Right off the bat I found a fair shirt.  The state fair gift shop in the grandstand moved making it more centrally located and it pulled me right in. I bought the shirt on our way out that afternoon.  I also found some great Christmas gift items so I was feeling fairly accomplished!

I met my family near the sky ride outside the Agriculture Building.  I always go into the Ag Building.  I love the flower rooms, the crop art, the scarecrows, U of MN apples, the biggest gourds.  So much to see in the Ag Building! There was a long line for the crop art and it was that way with each of our visits this year.  I did wait in the line on opening day when we went back later.  You don ‘t have to wait in line, but if you want a front row spot to take photos, it works better to wait in line.

We got our buttons at the Admin building, we do that every year too.  They’re free and it’s fun to see the new design every year.  This year it’s a circle of guitars and the wording is Minnesota’s largest music festival.  I never thought of it that way but I can see it now.  Lots of music entertainment options for sure!  From the various free stages all around the fair or the grandstand show, there is something for everyone musically speaking at the fair.

We always tour the art in the art building and there were lots of gems in there again this year.  I usually get a malt from the Kiwanis club next to the art building but Miss M wanted to get one at the dairy building to see her friend who was going to be working there at 3:00.  Well, we could barely breathe with the wall to wall people at the fair that day so we decided to just get the malt earlier than 3:00 at the dairy building.  That turned out to be so fun!! Miss M saw one of her buddies working and he erupted with happiness after she handed him the ticket for the malt and he realized it was her.  It was adorable.

We left shortly after the malt, it was well past time to go.  It was fun but our next visit was even better in terms of a much more subdued crowd.  I met hubby from work the following Thursday afternoon.  As soon as I arrived it also felt different.  It was much calmer with a lot less people.  And the weather was perfect too.  We had so much fun finding things to buy.  We like to visit the international bazaar to check out the music and do some shopping.  Hubby found a new Day of the Dead shirt, I got a new mug both from El Burrito Mercado, a Mexican imports shops.  Hubby found a new silver pinky ring and we got Miss M maple syrup made by Native Americans.  It was a fun shopping year this year!! I don’t usually find that much to buy but this year was different.

We decided to go back a third time this year just because and hubby wanted to see the newspaper museum again. We live 5 miles away and there are many free park and ride buses to the fair that make it easy for us to get there.  We thought there might be less people on Sunday vs. Saturday and we opted for the bus this time, to go in a different gate than when we use my U of MN parking spot.  We were right about there being fewer people but wrong about the weather.  Oh it worked out alright but it wasn’t ideal.  No matter, we still had fun. We hadn’t yet ridden the skyride, something else we usually do, because those lines were too long in previous visits.  But not on our final visit.  Because it was raining, there was virtually no line at the skyride.  Score!!! We did get a little wet but it was better than walking to the grandstand for one last shopping spree.  And I can add riding the skyride in the rain to my list of things I had not done before.

We didn’t find anything at the grandstand but I took the opportunity to finally try a roasted corn on the cob. I’ve been going to this fair since 1992 and I’ve never had a corn. This last trip to the fair the timing was perfect.  And it was excellent and so juicy!!  We got back on the skyride since we’d be leaving from the front gates and went back into the Ag building to see if the flower rooms were open yet. They were both closed temporarily for judging as soon as they opened the building so we had to come back. And we only got to see one room since the other was still closed for judging. I did get to see the room at a distance and the dahlias in the other room were just gorgeous!

I feel so fortunate to be able to go to the great Minnesota get together every year.  I think we’ll go three times next year too.  Why not?

Following are some galleries of fair memorabilia that I hope you will enjoy. First up is a combination of all our visits to the Agriculture Building:

Next is a gallery of our visit to the newspaper museum and the art building:

The remaining gallery are photos of other things at the fair:

 

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Minnesota State Fair 2017

Woo hoo! It’s time for my annual post about the Minnesota State Fair!

We always go to the fair opening day and it seems every year it feels more crowded.  I checked out the fair’s website and found some interesting numbers.  I wasn’t imagining it. Each year on opening day for the last two years the attendance increased.  Between 2017 and 2016 it was almost 6,000 higher!  There were three record-breaking attendance days this year, the most record breaking days in three years.  Plus, this year’s total attendance is the highest ever, another record broken.  So, yes, there were lots more people at the fair this year.

No matter, we still enjoy it and this year was no different. I went twice.  Opening day was fun but by 1:00 it was getting too crowded so we called it quits early.  For my second visit, I met hubby there one late afternoon from work the following week. I park my car like I’m going to work and walk on over to the fair.   Very easy!

On opening day we headed over to Minnesota Public Radio after breakfast and were treated with a handshake from our governor!  He went one by one in the small crowd and shook each of our hands. He commented how brave Miss M was for wearing short sleeves as it was in the upper 50s at that moment.  So that was fun!  We also saw Al Franken posing for photos with a constituent.

The agriculture building is a must for me for each visit.  Some of the exhibits change every other day so it’s worth it to see other types of flowers when you can.   First some crop art:

In the next gallery is a little bit of everything else that I saw in the ag building:

And then some other scenes at the fair:

I hope you’ve enjoyed this year’s tour of the Minnesota State Fair.  I’ll be back soon with a few more travel adventures. I hope you’ll come along!

 

 

 

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Minnesota Landscape Arboretum – a summer visit

Most folks here in the twin cities know about the Arboretum and I had heard about it but, for some reason, I didn’t make it out there until I had been living here 25 years. I finally got to see it in person last year.  Since I work for the University of Minnesota I get emails from all kinds of different departments and luckily for me, the Landscape Arboretum was in that stack. I took advantage of the employee discount and became a member last year.  It is well worth the price.

What caught my eye last year in one of the emails was a garden tour.  I asked my friend Ruth if she’d be interested, she said yes and we had a marvelous time.  Ruth and I were just commenting on what fun that was last year and we decided to go again next year.  It’s a tour of fabulous gardens near the Arboretum.  I wrote about it so do check out the link to see more gorgeous blooms and plants from the southwestern suburbs of the twin cities.

We have been trying to go back to see more of the Arboretum because we didn’t get a chance to last year.  After our garden tour we got treated to a nice brunch on their patio and it was a bit warm and we were tuckered out from our busy morning so decided to come back another time. Well, it took almost a year to get back but we were so glad that we did!!  Oh my goodness, it takes your breath away.  Beautiful plants and flowers everywhere and it goes on for miles.  There are many gardens surrounding the visitor center that are easy to get to on foot.  Click here to see the map.

There are many types of gardens to explore: roses,  lilies and day lilies, herbs, annuals and perennials. There is a Japenese garden that we didn’t get to. We checked out the wildflower garden. It must have been between bloom times as we didn’t see any wildflowers but we did see a handful of turkeys! After wandering around on foot, we got in the car and explored even more on the 3 mile drive. There is a trolley that you could ride as well. There are more gardens in these outer areas of the Arb and I’d like to go back to see the Sculpture and Maze gardens. It’s utterly amazing all the plants and trees that are there! You really can’t see everything in one visit, so return I must.   It is now on my “must do” list for twin cities visitors.  There’s a reason it won the best botanical garden contest recently.  Please have a look at what we saw on a summer afternoon in July.  I hope you’ll enjoy!

First some roses, clematis and some annuals and perennials too.

I took some photos of the grounds as well.  There were rows and rows of gorgeous lilies of all types and just general beauty everywhere.

Now for the rest of what I selected to display.  I took 86 photos so I had to trim it down a little.  If you’ve never been to the Arb and you live here, do make it a point to visit.  I guarantee you’ll enjoy it.  And if you’re visiting the twin cities, same instructions. You won’t be disappointed! Check out more information at this link.  There is so much to explore there and I can’t wait to go back again.

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Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN

The Walker has a “free first Saturday” which is a great deal because one adult ticket is $12.  Oh, interesting current update. I went to their website to make sure it’s actually $12 and they’re having free admission until February 7.  Come in from the cold and see some art, says their site.  We might have to go back soon!

I didn’t see a whole lot of art that I liked on this visit but it was still fun to go and look. Plus, we stopped in at the new bar/cafe/bistro Esker Grove and had a yummy snack that I forgot to take a picture of.  Duh. We both had a beer and our snack was hummus toast and then we called it a day.  The Walker changes their displays frequently so it’s always fun to go back and see what’s on display every so often. Check out the Walker’s website for more information.  Please enjoy some photos from our visit earlier this month.

 

 

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The last day of the original Bell Museum, U of MN, Minneapolis

Ever since hubby talked to a U of MN employee at the fair last summer about the Bell Museum, we have been planning to go before they closed on December 31, 2016.  A couple of times our plan was foiled by the weather, but New Year’s Eve day was our very last chance and we made it!!  To say I was impressed is an understatement.  I had no idea there was this gem of a museum at the University of Minnesota.

Before you get into the building the antiquity of the place hits you.  The front doors look to be original to the nearly 145 year old structure.  The James Ford Bell Museum of Natural History opened on March 1, 1872 after the Minnesota legislature approved this:

“An Act to provide for a geological and natural history survey of the state…” and in turn, that “natural history and geological specimens be prepared, and a museum to be established at the university.”

You can read a little more about the museum at this link  although I’ll warn you that I’ve tried to play their video about the history of the museum twice and it’s not there.

There are two floors with the world famous  3D dioramas that depict scenes of typical animals in Minnesota. They are so realistic and in looking at the photos, they look like portraits but those are life-size imitations of real animals.  There is a mezzanine that displays other exhibits but we skipped it that day.  There is an auditorium on the lower level and a room with items you can touch, the Touch and See Discovery Room.  And I was surprised to see a Rainforest Gallery with live plants and trees.

I had no idea there was so much in this museum and I’m so glad we finally got there.  Hubby actually had been there as a child so it was fun for him to relive some of his younger days.  He said it looked exactly the same too.  The new museum will be on the St. Paul campus, where I work, and is scheduled to open in 2018.  One day I happened upon the construction webcam.  It’s fun to watch the time lapse movie.

Below are some of my favorite photos from our visit:

 

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Seeing Nature, Minneapolis Institute of Art

I just went through my phone to remove a bunch of photos because I got the nastygram from my phone that it was running out of space.  I happened upon the photos for this exhibit and wondered why I hadn’t put together a post for them. Then I realized that we saw this exhibit the weekend after our darling cat Fritz died.  We needed to get out of the house and this was the perfect thing to do.  This exhibit was at the Minneapolis Institute of Art for several months which included the day we went in August. I apologize up front for not having much information to share.  I have a brochure…..somewhere but I’m not sure where.  Instead of looking for it I thought I would just share the photos that I took.  We both enjoyed it immensely. We then had a nice lunch in the museum’s cafe, a perfect time to relax and chat about the art we had just seen. I hope you enjoy.

There was one painting by one of my favorite artists, Georgia O’Keefe along with a photo of her:

The view of downtown from inside the museum and the beautiful bright yellow glass sculpture by Dale Chihuly called Sunburst:

 

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Minnesota State Fair 2016

Guessing most of you know that we always go to the state fair. Every year, without fail.  And now that I think about it, this is one thing I will really miss when I leave Minnesota.  A wonderful treat every year.  Although this year we noticed it was a bit more crowded.  The attendance numbers seem to go up each successive year. Hubby went to the fair while I was in California over Labor Day weekend and he said it was the most people he’s ever seen there!  Indeed, that was the record breaking attendance day this year with just over 260,000 fair goers. I’m glad I missed it.

Coming up are this year’s favorite photos from the fair.  I hope you enjoy!!

First up, various scenes at the fair.

We always visit the agriculture building:

This year’s crop art had many Prince tributes.  I think the Prince crop art overtook the political art this year. We sure miss our native son rock/pop star:

This last gallery displays something that I imagine has been at the fair the entire time we’ve been going (about 25 years).  We decided to take a short cut and ended up going through this very interesting log cabin.  It’s directly across from the agriculture building and it never beckoned to us.  And now I’m at a loss a little bit to explain what this is exactly since it’s been almost 3 months since I took these photos. As near as I can remember this is a replica of a type of cabin the earlier pioneers in Minnesota would have lived in.  It’s a museum with items from daily life from those days.  These are the folks that lived in Minnesota before it became a state in 1858.  Oh, ah, I did find this link with a bit more information in case you’re interested.

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