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This year's Minnesota State Fair opens a week from Thursday. So is it true that it was once held here in Rochester?

After a year off last year (all together now: "...thanks to the pandemic!") the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together is set to kick off in less than a week, running Thursday, August 26th through Labor Day September 6th, at the Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights. And, yes, our very own Rah-Rah-Rochester DID once host the Minnesota State Fair. Really!

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 and 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 a genuine Pronto Pup right here in our own backyard-- had they even been around back then, that is.

So when did the Fair move to its current location in Falcon Heights? Well, the Minnesota State Fair website explains its history like this:

"The Fair 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 state fairs in the entire country. Just a few years ago, Business Insider ranked the Minnesota State Fair number-one in the nation. And to think, it was once held right here in our fair city!


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