The owner of a long-running snack stand has accused the Minnesota State Fair of telling "lies" over the circumstances of her retirement.
Granny's Kitchen Fudge Puppies announced on Thursday that it would not be returning to the State Fair in 2019 after almost 30 years of service, as the stand's owner, Pat Braun, is retiring for health reasons.
Braun said she intended to pass the stand on to her long-serving employee, Karla Anderla, but said she was informed by the State Fair that "you have to move to a new spot if you switch ownership."
Her stand on Underwood Street next to the Food Building, which serves her famous baked Belgian waffles on a stick , was "specifically built for that spot," and to build a new trailer to provide all of the facilities that it needs would be too cost prohibitive for Anderla to commit to.
However, Braun then become angered when she read the Minnesota State Fair's reasoning for not allowing her to pass her stand onto Anderla in time for the 2019 Great Minnesota Get-Together.
In a statement sent to BMTN, a State Fair spokesperson said: "An employee of the vendor expressed interest and filed an application to continue to operate the business.
"It became very challenging to move forward with the potential new license holder due to the previous owner’s continued involvement. Because of this, it was determined that it was best to revisit the application for 2020 and beyond."
It's the use of "previous owner's continued involvement" that has infuriated Braun, who described it as a "flat out lie."
She has retired and won't return to the State Fair, she insists, and says that the only time she has been "involved" since Anderla applied for take over the stand was to write to the State Fair to explain why the stand couldn't be moved, due to its access to electrical and plumbing facilities that it wouldn't have in another location.
"The statement they released about my continued involvement is a flat out lie. One time does not equate to continued involvement," she wrote on Facebook, adding: "Sorry, this is the powerhouse that vendors have to put up with."
It's not the first time that the issue of State Fair vendors trying to "pass on" a business has cropped up.
Just two years ago, the Original Deep Fried Cheese Curds stand closed down as the owners retired, despite them trying to pass the business on to their son.
The State Fair disagreed, saying the original owners never indicated they wanted to pass the space down, and the space was ultimately replaced by a bacon stand.
Anderla intends to re-apply to run the stand for the 2020 State Fair and hopes she'll be accepted, having worked at that stand for 18 years.
"Who knows what will happen in the future but definitely people are disappointed it’s not going to be there this next year," she told FOX 9.
Here's Braun's original announcement.