Ah how I wish I was made of money! Because that is what it would have taken to try all of the gluten-free goodies at the Minnesota State Fair this year. So many yummy choices!
We had a productive day at the State Fair this year, for those of you not from Minnesota, this is a big deal. The fair brings in nearly 2 million people over 12 days. It is filled with agriculture, creative contests, rides and most importantly FOOD! Each year new foods “on a stick” are added to vendors’ menus. As a result, going to the Minnesota State Fair had been frustrating and disappointing in the past when we didn’t know what Emma could have (it ain’t easy pinning down a vendor on their ingredients in the middle of the fair).
But that all changed when the Northland Celiac Support Group started surveying the vendors to ask what their gluten-free products would be. Over the last few years they have organized the gluten-free vendor list which allows us to easily order food that Emma can eat.
Northland Celiac Support Group Fair Booth
This year for the first time NCSG had it’s own booth in the HealthFair11 building (they used to share with an allergy organization). And this was also the year that my celiac daughter Emma, our other daughter Grace and I went and volunteered. What’s cool about it is you get in free and the girls love getting a free t-shirt too! It made the whole experience a little more affordable.
For three hours I helped answer questions from a steady stream of interested folks. I shouldn’t be surprised that so many people stopped by. I think I talked with about 20 people and likely an additional 20 people came through seeking information for their sister, mother, father, uncle, roommate, co-worker….the list goes on and on. I heard stories of people being misdiagnosed for years, but also lighter stories about how gluten-free management is going well.
Either way they were all interested in getting additional information about gluten-free food as well as picking up our vendor list for gluten-free foods at the fair. Emma and Grace manned the “Spin the Wheel” area where people could test their celiac knowledge and win a prize! Emma has already asked if we can go back and do it again! For sure next year!
Exploring the Gluten-Free Food
After volunteering at the fair, we were starving. We headed over to Patinella’s Chicken Grill which is under the walkway to the Grandstand. I walked up and asked for the plainest thing, which was basically chicken and rice ($7.00). That’s what Emma got and she loved it — especially the rice. This company had a gluten-free sign in their window as well, which is great for us. But I always quietly wonder if those signs deter non-gf folks people from eating there or not.
There were options that could have been included like tomatoes and salsa, but that’s not exactly up Emma’s alley, so we left it and she “wolfed it down”. Then we were off to find a dessert. We wanted French Meadow brownies, but when the girls saw the Dippin’ Dots area they went for that ($3-4 each for small). Dippin’ Dots are a funky kind of “beady looking” ice cream. Vanilla and Chocolate are fine.
I ended up having a super yummy treat, that I think could be gluten-free but I didn’t have time to nail it down — Chocolate covered cheesecake on a stick! SUPER YUMMY. The reason why I think it could be GF is because there was no crust on it. And Cheesecake without crust is easy to make gluten-free. The big question would be about the chocolate on the outside. I have put an email into the foodies at the State Fair to see if they can offer any assistance. Again this isn’t confirmed, but rather a hunch.
Have you been to the fair yet? If so, if you tried some gluten-free foods that aren’t listed here, please comment below and tell us what you had, the price and how it tasted! If not, the fair goes through Labor Day. Download the food list and come on out!