Was Owatonna Once Home to the Minnesota State Fair?
This year's Minnesota State Fair is now less than two weeks away. So is it true that it was it once held in Owatonna?
This year's Minnesota State Fair (the 154th version, if I've done my math correctly,) runs from August 23rd through Labor Day, September 3rd, at the Fairgrounds in Falcon Heights. And, yes, Owatonna DID once host the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
According to the official Minnesota State Fair website, in its early years, (the first Fair was held waaaay back in 1859, btw-- just a year after Minnesota became a state), the Fair used to be held at various cities around Minnesota-- including, yes, right here in Rochester. The site said it was also held in Red Wing, Winona, Rochester and Minneapolis and St. Paul.
Can you imagine having the Minnesota State Fair so close by in Owatonna?!? Of course, back then, it wasn't nearly as big as it is now, I'm guessing. But it sure would have been cool to get your fix of Sweet Martha's Cookies right here in our own backyard-- had they even been around then, that is.
So when did the Fair move to Falcon Heights? Well, it "found a permanent home at its present location, mid-way between Minneapolis and St. Paul when the Ramsey County Board of Commissioners donated their 210-acre poor farm to the State Agricultural Society, the governing body of the State Fair," the site said.
Since then, it has gone on to become one of the biggest state fairs in the entire country. And, Business Insider ranked the Minnesota State Fair number-one in the nation earlier this year, too. And to think, it was once held right here in our fair city!