What’s New at the 2011 State Fair?

Sixteen new food items and a wide range of major musical acts will be featured at this year's State Fair-and a new smartphone app makes it easier for fairgoers to find them.

The Minnesota State Fair is back in all its deep-fried, fun-filled, animal-laden glory.

The great Minnesota get-together, which last year attracted 1,776,211 visitors (the second-highest number on record), opened Thursday at the state fairgrounds in St. Paul and offers a variety of new food and entertainment.

The fair also has a new way for people to find various treats and activities: a smartphone app that's now available at no cost through the Apple App Store and Android Market. Three searchable elements of the Minnesota State Fair Web site-“Food Finder,” “Fun Finder,” and “Merch Search”-can be accessed through the app, which also shows your location and the location of whatever you're trying to find.

A newly launched mobile version of the fair's Web site offers the same search options and provides up-to-the-minute information about parking, admission, and buses.

In the way of entertainment, this year's fair will feature a wide variety of musical acts. Coming to the Grandstand are Reba McEntire, Def Leppard, Steely Dan, Toby Keith, Marc Anthony, and Weezer, among others.

This year also marks the 100th anniversary of the Fine Arts Exhibition and the 40th year that sculptor Linda Christensen has carved Princess Kay of the Milky Way and finalists' likenesses out of butter for all fairgoers to enjoy.

Amid the concerts and exhibits, there will be plenty of food to indulge all taste buds. New this year, along with the vendor serving each item, are:

  • Breakfast lollipop: Sausage patty dipped in corn muffin batter, deep fried and served on a stick with a side of maple syrup (Axel's)
  • Carnitas Asian fusion taco: Pork carnitas served on a flour or spinach tortilla, topped with cabbage and a mixture of cucumber, jalapeno, and red pepper, and topped with Asian sauces (San Felipe Tacos)
  • Chocolate-covered jalapeno peppers on a stick: (Andre's Watermelon)
  • Coushari rice with lentils: Rice and lentils, with Holy Land sauce, served with a side of pasta or fried onions (Holy Land Deli)
  • Crab fritters: Crab meat and Caribbean herbs and spices with veggies, rolled and deep fried into a fritter, served with a side of southwest dipping sauce (Ollie's Crab Fritters)
  • Deep-fried cookie dough (Sonny's Spiral Spuds)
  • Dirt dessert: Oreo cookies, vanilla pudding, whipped cream, cream cheese, and gummy worms (Spaghetti Eddie's)
  • Fresh fruit wrap: Sliced fresh fruit wrapped in a soft tortilla shell with a sweet and creamy cheese spread (Fried Fruit)Grilled Yankee apple pie and chocolate sandwich: Minnesota-grown apples sauteed with spices and topped with chocolate, grilled in brioche bread (Moe & Joe's)/> ¥ Jamaican jerk fries (Harry Singh's Caribbean Restaurant)
  • Mexican horchata beverage: Cold drink made of rice, almonds, cinnamon, vanilla and sugar (El Sol Mexican Food)
  • Northwoods salad on a stick: A caprese salad-mozzarella cheese and grape tomatoes on a stick with dressing, served over a bed Minnesota wild rice (Giggle's Campfire Grill)
  • Pizza kabob on a stick (Green Mill)
  • Pretzel dog: A hot dog baked in pretzel dough, served on a stick (Der Pretzel Haus)
  • Sweet corn ice cream: Ice cream with blended sweet kernels, served in a waffle cone with choice of wild blueberry or caramel bacon topping (Blue Moon Dine In Theater)
  • White razzie puppies on a stick: Belgian waffle with white chocolate baked inside, then dipped in dark chocolate and drizzled with raspberry sauce (Granny's Kitchen Fudge Puppies)

For where to find these tasty treats, visit the Minnesota State Fair Web site, or check out the smartphone app or the mobile Web site.