Fall Food Parade delivers much-needed nostalgia of Great Minnesota Get Together

Despite wait times, experience worthwhile for State Fair aficionados


Echo file photo

The Minnesota State Fair was canceled this year due to concerns of spreading COVID-19. As a replacement, the Fair hosted a drive-thru featuring some of the top food vendors from the Great Minnesota Get Together.

Tobias Khabie, News Editor

In my almost 17 years of living, I have never once missed the opportunity to go to the Minnesota State Fair. Those sacred grounds to many Minnesotans, including myself, hold tons of amazing memories for me and my family. Every year, almost my whole extended family will fly in for the Great Minnesota Get Together. One could only imagine my devastation when this year’s fair was cancelled. However, due to the State Fair being such a beloved event, the Fair decided to host a drive-thru consisting of some of the most iconic food stands, such as Sweet Martha’s cookies and Cheese on a Stick. Unfortunately for me, those tickets sold out faster than you can say ‘deep fried pickle on a stick.’ Fortunately, the Fair decided to host a Fall Food Parade, which me and my family were able to attend. 

Sitting and waiting in the middle of what is usually the ‘Mighty Midway’ of the fair for two hours, I started to wonder whether the hype was really worth it. The boring wait time to get into the actual drive-thru was only salvaged by mascot chipmunks in a van driving up and down the wait line blasting pop music. There was almost no difference between this and a traffic jam during rush hour. The wait felt as if it lasted for eternity, and I started to question whether or not the experience would really be worth the time. 

When we were finally able to get into the drive-thru, we were immediately met with more cars, lined up bumper-to-bumper. The one positive was as we inched forward through the line, we got to pass some of the Fair’s most famous buildings, like the Colosseum and the Miracle of Birth building, both missing their iconic stench. 

In the drive-thru, there were 11 stops, some with multiple booths and others with just one. You had the option of purchasing food from one, both or neither of the booths. For those who wanted to skip multiple stops, there were bypass lanes that would allow cars to skip ahead a couple stops. Unfortunately, there were only two bypass lanes, and they were both right before some of the more popular booths, meaning the lanes were not used very often. 

Despite all the waiting around in a glorified traffic jam, the actual food service was surprisingly quick and the food was amazing, of course. The attendants at the booths did an amazing job of keeping the line moving and getting food out to the customers quickly. As for the food itself, words simply cannot describe how delicious it was. On top of that, the nostalgic feeling from biting into a Sweet Martha’s cookie or from the gooey cheese oozing out of the cheese on a stick was just as strong as always. As soon as I smelled the aromas coming from the french fries, cheese curds or mini-donuts, I knew the wait was worth it. 

The only thing I needed to truly recapture the feeling of the fair was the deep burn in my feet from walking around and standing all day, as well as the nausea from endless repetitions of the Midway rides. Yes, the wait was very inconvenient, but the food definitely made up for it. Hopefully next year, we can get rid of the Great Minnesota Gridlock and get back to the Great Minnesota Get Together.

State Fair Fall Food Parade: ★★★☆☆