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A Fair With No Fowl

A plan for dealing with the empty poultry barns at the State Fair.

A Fair With No Fowl

Nearly 50 million birds were lost in this year’s bird flu outbreak—totaling a $3.3 billion blow for the chicken and turkey business—and the sector is still recovering.

The flu’s last insult to injury is playing out, likely as you read this. The Minnesota Board of Animal Health moved to ban all poultry exhibitions statewide, which includes clearing the cages of roughly 2,400 birds at the Minnesota State Fair.

Dr. Beth Thompson, assistant director of the Minnesota Board of Health, believes knocking out the commingling of birds from all over the state should dampen the possibility of any resurgence.

So if poultry is your Fair go-to, the only place you’ll see chicken or eggs this year is on a plate—or a stick, as it were.

Courtesy of our sister pub, Mpls.St.Paul Magazine, here are a few chickeny options to ease the pain:

If you prefer white meat over dark, Hot Indian Foods in the International Bazaar makes a mean butter chicken samosa that is new to the Fair this year. The Rabbit Hole, also in the International Bazaar, has a kimchi ’n’ curry poutine, topped with a poached egg for added flair and flavor. A fan favorite from last year, the bacon-wrapped turkey leg by Texas Steak Out on Underwood Street, could also help satisfy your inner carnivore.

The elimination of birds from the 4-H building and poultry barns won’t mean a complete absence of bird education. On the contrary, the 250-plus 4-H bird projects in competition will commence yet again, with live birds replaced by stuffed animals in some cases. “On top of that, kids are doing projects on the avian flu,” says Wendy Huckaby, communications manager for the University of Minnesota 4-H extension. “We have kids who built a water feeder that protects it from wild fowl, and another who built a feeder with a foot feed for the same reason.”

And though blue ribbon competitions aren’t on the agenda, there’s still the agricultural science building. “This year, we’re doing something called the Science of Poultry—a variation of our Science of Agriculture experience,” Huckaby notes, “where we talk about the different issues in the poultry industry.”

It’s not quite a barn full of “gobble gobble,” but with all the food options, you can do some gobbling yourself.

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