Gardener’s Tour of the State Fair

Stop by the Hort Society booth for great deals on garden gear. (The garden gloves are HUGE sellers.)

I’ll be making my annual trek to the Minnesota State Fair to volunteer at the Minnesota State Horticultural Society booth next week, but I’m already figuring out a plan for visiting the fair. The state fair offers many temptations for gardeners — and not just the kind that are deep fried.

MSHS Garden, cared for by the St. Anthony Park Garden Club

Of course, the Horticulture Building, at the corner of Underwood and Judson, is the place to start. (Enter on Como Avenue for easy access.) Be sure to walk around the building and visit the gardens that are planted and tended for MSHS by the gardeners of the St. Anthony Park Garden Club. The gardens include two streams and a water feature and often are planted with native plants, which are usually at peak bloom during the fair. While this is my favorite garden at the fair, there are 32 organizations that Adopt-a-Garden at the fair. This brochure gives a good map and description of the gardens, which are restful places to stop and take a break. I often stop at the Minnesota Water Garden Society garden, which is near the Food Building.

Yes, they give an award for the largest zucchini!

Inside the hort building is the MSHS booth, which includes a retail store and a separate educational area (watch for Big Boy, the tomato). Just down the lane from the educational booth is the U of M Master Gardener’s question-and-answer booth, always a crowded spot and a great place to stop with questions about your gardens.  The building also includes winners in the State Fair big vegetable contest, the MSHS Plant Show displays, the apple displays (a healthy stopping point), and the new Dirt Stage, which will feature talks about gardening topics every day. Here’s a list of who’s speaking.

What are your favorite places at the State Fair?

3 Replies to “Gardener’s Tour of the State Fair”

  1. Years ago I visited the State Fair often with my parents, but our theme was not gardening. If I ever get a chance to go again that’s what I’d pay attention to! As kids we were more interested in the rock bands performing, the rides, the giveaways, and just the general atmosphere of being there.

  2. Last year I went to the Big E which is more of a multi-state fair and was disappointed. Too much honky tonk – and the day we were there the agricultural exhibits were switching, cows out and few cows in yet. The Franklin County Fair is always fun with a Roundhouse full of flowers, fruit and vegetables, farm animals and lots of good pie a la mode. We just had our town fair, where I won several ribbons and $29. Big bucks and local glory. Great music, great food and time to gossip with neighbors. I love our Heath Fair.

  3. The entire fair is my favorite spot at the fair. That said I always make my way to the hort building before anything else! I was so happy to see they repainted it this year and made the carvings stand out!

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