Let’s face it, a visit to the Minnesota State Fair isn’t cheap.
There’s parking, the entrance fee, and virtually unlimited options for spending your money once you’re inside the gates – and multiply this if you have kids with you.
But there’s good news: You can have the full fair experience, food-wise, without spending a lot of money.
It’s good to go in with a plan and to keep your objective in mind. Here are a few tips.
Food that fills you up
While some of the following suggestions may not be the cheapest options out there, they are filling enough that you won't feel the need to eat more.
If you're looking to save money, it might be better to spend $10 on a single meal and feel full, than find yourself spending $5 several times during the day.
As such, here are some of the filling options to consider:
– Australian battered potatoes (on Judson between Liggett and Clough. They start at $10.50, best value is a bucket for $15.50)
– Fresh French Fries (2 locations, $6 for 16oz up to $12 for a massive 88oz)
– Footlong hot dog (varies, but around $6.50).
– Corn dog or pronto pup ($4)
– Turkey leg ($9.50 from Turkey To Go).
But what if you want to try different things?
Eating just once or twice isn't all that fun when you're trying to experience the fair.
So if you want to mix it up without spending a lot of money, here are some of the best deals at the fair:
The shrimp cocktail is a welcome change from the heavy, deep fried foods that the fair is best known for, and it costs just $3.
Where to find it: Lemonade and Shrimp Cocktail, south side of Judson Avenue between Underwood and Cooper, near the Haunted House.
Pickle on a stick
A pickle on a stick? Sure, why not. Especially when it’s just a few bucks.
Where to find it: Pickle Dog, south side of Carnes Avenue, between Liggett and Chambers.
Cider freeze pops
Tucked away in the apple section of the Agriculture Horticulture Building is a cheap, refreshing option: Apple cider pops.
These icy treats cost $1.50, and will keep you cool and hydrated as you walk around the fair.
Where to find it: The Agriculture and Horticulture Building.
Southern Sweet Potato Pie
Found in the International Bazaar, this delicious slice of comfort food is made from fresh yams, brown sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, eggs and heavy whipping cream.
The cost? $3.
Where to find it: West Indies Soul Food, The International Bazaar.
There’s something about the State Fair that brings out a milk craving.
For just two dollars, you can keep your glass filled with either white or chocolate milk all day – provided you don't leave the premises...
This is the perfect accompaniment for the myriad sweets options the fair offers – like fresh brownies, deep fried candy bars, and of course, Sweet Martha’s Cookies.
Where to find it: Northeast corner of Judson Avenue and Clough Street
Keep on the lookout for the $1 lemonade stands throughout the fair.
Where to find it: All over the place.
Other food bargain tips
If you're planning to spend a decent amount of time at the fair, then you should really consider buying a Blue Ribbon Bargain Book for $5.
It has 150 coupons for vendors and easily pays for itself after a couple of purchases.
Another way is to share with friends. If you figure you want to try a whole heap of different dishes, split the costs with your group.
That said, don’t be afraid of an impulse purchase. Leave a little wiggle room in your budget to indulge!
Find all of BMTN's State Fair stories in this Flipboard magazine.