Fun at the county fair

We just returned from the Dakota County Fair in Farmington, which has become a tradition for our family -- just as it was for my parents, who took my siblings and me every year when we were young. 

The beauty of the county-fair scene is the ease and access -- simpler parking, smaller crowds, plenty of furry friends and fried foods. The 4-H teens are friendly and patient with young visitors. We encourage Maria to ask questions about their animals. (She is particularly interested in their bowel movements -- frequency, method and location of deposit, etc.) 

The $5 pony rides were a hit with both girls.

So was the cotton candy -- a good exercise in sharing. 

And a word for those parents who may cringe at the combination of livestock and cotton candy: There are hand sanitizers conveniently stationed outside each livestock building. Not to mention how handy it is to already be toting baby wipes when you've got a little one in diapers. I am amazed how versatile those wipes are!

Maria also loved the carousel. She was sure she had scored the prettiest horse of all.

The Dakota County Fair runs through this Sunday, Aug. 14. Kids 5 and under are free.

Although the majority of Minnesota's county fairs have wrapped, there are still a number yet to open their doors. Check out this site for details. 


Christina Ries is a freelance writer who lives with her husband and two young girls in Inver Grove Heights. Write her at