It’s a summer ritual many of us look forward to each year. State fairs in the US are annual outdoor festivals full of Ferris wheels, deep-fried foods, quirky contests and good old fashioned family fun. There’s nothing highbrow about these grass-roots celebrations, and that’s just the way we like it. The first fair debuted in Syracuse in 1841 to showcase regional businesses, spotlight innovations, host competitions, feature exhibitions and generate a little local tourism. Today, millions of attendees flock to these extravaganzas taking place in all corners of the country. Here are some cool and unusual things to see at some of the top state fairs in the US.
1. Minnesota State Fair
The Minnesota State Fair takes place from August 27 to September 7, 2015. This year there’s an impressive roster of big-name entertainment coming, including Def Leppard, Keith Urban and Carrie Underwood. Along with the agricultural competitions, midway mayhem, daily parades, mass singalongs and general fairground fun, don’t miss the butter sculptures. Watch as talented artists render busts of Minnesota’s dairy princess and her court out of 90-pound blocks of locally churned butter. Minnesota isn’t known as the proud “butter capital of the nation” for nothing.