Bringing Veganism to the Minnesota State Fair

Written by Florence Brammer

When I moved to Minnesota in the early ’80s, one of the first things I grew to love was the Minnesota State Fair.  Though never a farm girl myself, I was born and raised in Indiana and enjoyed entering Indiana State Fair creative activities competitions as a 4-H’er in the 1960s.  

When I moved to Minnesota from New York, I was happy to learn that adults could participate in the creative competitions of the Minnesota State Fair, and promptly began entering baked goods and other creative activities entries on an annual basis.

In 2010—as a direct result of attending the third Compassionate Action for Animals’ “Their Lives Our Voices” Midwest Animal Advocacy Conference—I made the decision to transition from a vegetarian to a vegan diet and lifestyle.  

After making the decision to be vegan, I immediately began to lobby the Minnesota State Fair to include a vegan baking category to its competitive baking categories. While the fair officials declined to create a vegan baking category, they did agree to create a Vegan Main Dish category, beginning with the 2011 fair.

What’s the Vegan Main Dish contest?

As only the second state fair in the country as of 2011 to have a competitive vegan cooking category (Iowa was the first), the Minnesota State Fair’s decision received wide and favorable attention in local and national press.

The number of entrants has grown annually, and thanks to the creation of this category and the participation of fair fans, thousands of fairgoers are able to see the wide-ranging appeal and variety of plant-based, cruelty-free main dishes.

How to enter

Entering a vegan main dish in the state fair is free, easy and fun. And you might even win a ribbon, a small stipend and—if you are the first-place winner—an additional special prize, the Twin Cities’ own Robin Asbell’s newest vegan cookbook, Vegan Meal Prep: A 5-Week Plan with 125 Ready-to-Go Recipes.

All the information you need to enter can be found here. Look at Special Contest #1085 for all the details. Pre-registration is required by August 6.

See you at the Fair!     

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