Most of us have one.
Whether it is the tradition of eating a footlong hotdog as soon as you pass through the gates, riding the Midway rides until you are sick, or cuddling up in the Ye Olde Mill ride with your sweetie, fond memories of the Minnesota State Fair fill the hearts of people from across the state.
The Minnesota State Fair Foundation wanted a way for people to share those memories. With help from the Minnesota Historical Society, they accomplished their goal.
The MHS has a project called Minnesota’s Greatest Generation, referring to those who lived through the pivotal decades of the Great Depression, World War II and the Baby Boom. People who have a story about those times can enter them on the MHS website, and read other people’s stories, which now number approximately 700. Their project established and in place, the MHS helped the Foundation build a story website of their own, modeled after the historical society’s site.
“Everyone seems to have a state fair experience,” said Ana Heath, MSFF special projects administrator. Two-thirds of Minnesotans have a State Fair story, she said, and of those “68 percent continue to come back for the family element.”
Word of the Foundation’s story site is just getting out; e-mails were sent to several thousand people who signed up to receive information about the State Fair, and a press release was also sent to Minnesota media.
With 50 stories on the site, the MSFF is “pleased with the response so far,” Heath said. The website has an area for visitors to search the database of stories based on a category or keywords in the stories.
In addition to doing so from the comfort of their own homes, visitors to the Minnesota State Fair will be able to submit stories at two computer kiosks at the J.V. Bailey House. Heath said the Foundation is hoping for a “big response at the State Fair.” An ongoing project, they anticipate continuing it through this year and into next year.
Visitors to the Foundation’s story website can also upload State Fair photos. If you just aren’t the writing type, don’t fret; Heath said a story “can be anything from poems to a photo caption, anything you want to use to reflect on your State Fair experience.”
Keeping fair traditions alive and well is what has kept the Minnesota State Fair going after all these years, and what better way to honor those memories than sharing them with other State Fair enthusiasts.
To submit a story or just browse stories submitted by others, log on to www.msffoundation.org.
Most of us have one.