Noshin’: Jew on a Stick (A Mid-Fair Report)

So today marks the 8th day of the Great Minnesota Get Together and I wanted to share my experiences before the 2010 fair comes to an end on Labor Day. If you have already been out there by the time this posts, I’d love to hear your thoughts. If you haven’t yet gone, what are you waiting for???

I’ve made my way out to the fairgrounds twice (so far) – once with child and once without. Naturally, it’s a completely different fair when you bring the kid. If you have the luxury of going twice, I urge you to devote one day to some serious eating and the other for all the fun kid stuff.

The record crowds are definitely noticeable this year. It actually comforts me to a certain extent – reminding me of countless commutes through Penn Station during rush half-a-day (or rush hours if you will) and hikes through Times Square. Some will say it’s like bumper-to-bumper traffic, but with people. I like to call it tush-to-tush. It is the fair after all.

For the rookies, the indecisive (same people who paint all of their walls white) the natives who have returned from exile, and even for the regulars, I have come up with a few Top 5 lists to steer you in the right direction. Again, feel free to let me know what you think.

My wife’s Top 5 State Fair staples (TC Jew Folk, notice the lack of treyf here):
1. cheese curds – from the Food Building only
2. French fries – the yellow sign ones only
3. roasted corn – from the Corn Roast only
4. (tie) Sweet Martha’s cookies – a perfect way to end your visit
5. (tie) All-you-can-drink-milk – can’t have the cookies without the milk

My top 5 new additions (food):
1. Axel’s deep-fried cheeseburger on-a-stick – surprisingly not as greasy as it sounds
2. Big Fat Bacon’s bacon-on-a-stick – “The Arthur Fonzarelli of foods”
3. The Preferred Pickle’s crumb-coated deep-fried pickle slices – again, no grease
4. The Salty Tart’s peaches & cream parfait – refreshing, tasty, and actually good for you
5. Danielson & Daughters onion rings – simple, but delicious

My top 5 new additions (general):
1. Choo Choo Bob’s Train Store – a great respite from the heat for kids and big kids alike
2. A conscious balance between deep-fried foods and healthier options for the kids
3. O’Gara’s Bar – very tempting to actually sit down and have a civilized meal while watching the Twins and listening to Irish music
4. the “secret” entrance through the swine barn to avoid the lines and foot traffic (thanks to my father-in-law for that one)
5. the free lip balm from The Star Tribune building – butter flavor!

My top 5 goals for the 2011 fair:
1. check out a show at the Grandstand
2. go to a livestock show of some kind
3. not to fill up on French fries as soon as I get there
4. have a Pronto Pup/corn dog taste test
5. go on the Ye Old Mill ride


About Jeff Mandell

Jeff Mandell was born and raised in Queens, NY - spitting distance from a deli, two bagel shops, and 47 Chinese take-out joints. When not chasing after his two adorable kids, Jeff spends a lot of time at Target Field and rationing the bagels he schleps back from New York. He was the go-to-Jew at a local production company that produced the hit show Diners, Drive-Ins, and Dives. These days he searches the globe for things both bizarre and delicious - always asking if they ship.

Comments. Add Yours!


  1. The last time I checked, pronto pups and corn dogs and bacon on a stick and cheeseburger on a stick were all NOT KOSHER. How do these foods apply to a jewish website???????

  2. Hi Steve (and others who were thinking the same thing),
    I’m sure Jeff will have a weigh-in too, but thought I’d jump in and share my thoughts as managing editor of TC Jewfolk.

    One of the reasons TC Jewfolk exists is to create conversation and connections to the greater Minneapolis and St. Paul Jewish community, through a variety of voices and perspectives. We think it’s that variety that makes the dialogue more interesting and we don’t expect everybody to agree with everything (heck – we don’t even agree amongst ourselves sometimes!).

    Some Jews observe kashrut and others don’t. Eating a pronto pup at the fair might be ok for some and definitely off limits for others. Even within the section of the community that observes kashrut, there are differences of opinion as to what’s ‘kosher enough.’

    I hope that you’ll agree that it’s ok to disagree sometimes. And that you’ll continue to engage in the conversations we hope to foster here in the TC Jewfolk community.

  3. Steve,

    This awesome site is – and as Emily points out, there are different kinds of Jew folk out there. Some of us are kosher and some us like going to the fair.

    As my (orthodox) Hebrew school teacher, Mrs. Davidoff, told us time and time again, “A Jew is a Jew is a Jew.”

    While the entire state fairgrounds is not kosher, there are some other Jewy things to see and do. To name just a few off the top of my head:

    One of the scarecrows in the Agriculture building was made by my son’s Jewish pre-school at Adath Jeshurun.

    KISS is performing this Saturday night – as Jewish a rock band as can be. Led by Chaim Witz of course (aka Gene Simmons).

    Rush performed last week – led by Gary Weinrib (aka Geddy Lee).

  4. I think the real question is – how many hours do you have to wait to eat meat after putting on some butter-flavored lip balm?