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Celebrating Prince at the State Fair: 5 things that stood out

By Chaz Kangas

The Great Minnesota Get-Together had a large turnout for its second day, perhaps due to people getting together to remember the one, the only, Prince.

The Minnesota State Fair’s “Unite in Purple” celebration was an elaborate all-night affair showing not just how deeply the Purple One’s music touched his fans, but how inventive the North Star State could be with their tributes. Amid a sea of purple, there was no shortage of innovative nods to Prince’s legacy. Here’s five that stood out.

1) The buttons and glowing bracelets

Straight out of the gate – or rather into the gate – from 5 p.m. onward, the State Fair has a specific entrance for attendees eager to commemorate Prince. The first 5,000-7,500 guests had the opportunity to receive either a commemorative purple button or a purple glow stick bracelet.

2) Prince-themed foods

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(Photo: Chaz Kangas)

As fun as it is to eat around the Fair normally, eating with a very purple purpose being the guide added a new level of excitement.

From the Minnesota Farmers Union having Raspberry Beret Frappes (with purple whipped cream), to Sadie’s Frozen Custard having a Purple Rain sprinkles cone, to Manny’s Torta’s having purple piña coladas, the State Fair’s love of food and Prince knew no bounds.

We were most impressed with Big Cheese Cheese Curds’ Purple Cheese Curds, made with blueberries – which tasted surprisingly great.

3) A Prince laser show

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(Photo: Chaz Kangas)

The people at Lasertainment’s Laser Hitz offered a special one-night-only Prince tribute. Clocking in at a fun 25 minutes, while the music wasn’t entirely Prince, the Purple One’s tunes were sprinkled in throughout, including a memorable finale that had laser representations of several bits of Prince iconography including: a little red corvette, doves, a carton of cream and Prince’s third-eye glasses.

4) A giant, fun dance party

DJ Dudley D, Prince’s personal DJ, threw an incredible Prince dance party at Carousel Park.

Along with the authenticity of having it led by someone who was so close to Prince, Dudley D did a great job seamlessly incorporating Prince’s bigger hits with a few deeper cuts like the Morris Day-penned “Party Up,” which seem to usually be left out of the larger tributes.

Seeing hundreds of people across generations lose their minds dancing and reacting to different songs from Prince’s catalogue was a cool way to see how many audiences Prince’s music reached.

5) Charlie Wilson’s tribute and the Prince fireworks

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(Photo: Chaz Kangas)

Everyone knew going into “Unite in Purple” that the grand finale would be fireworks set to the music of Prince at the Grandstand. What nobody could have foreseen was Charlie Wilson’s absolutely stellar Prince tribute that closed his set beforehand.

Toasting the audience with, “To the greatest twin cities in the world … and to the godfather, the ‘funkiest purple man’ in the world … and to the family of Prince,” he burst into a rendition of “Baby, I’m a Star” that ranks among the absolute best on-stage tributes since Prince’s death.

Just as explosive as the fireworks, it was a jaw-dropping end to an incredible evening.

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