Minnesota Public Radio, which started reporting from the Minnesota State Fair as far back as 1972, began a yearly tradition of live broadcasting from its booth at the corner of Judson and Nelson in 1991 (taking over the old WLOL-FM spot). The location has since become an important community spot for sharing ideas, intercultural representation, and topics unique to the Fair itself. MPR was the first media organization to have an entire day dedicated to them in the form of MPR Day, held the Friday before Labor Day in Dan Patch Park (formerly known as Carousel Park). The MPR booth has featured Gubernatorial debates, appearances by senators and important public figures, and live performances by a wide range of local musicians and writers. MPR hosts Gary Eichten, Cathy Wurzer, Kerri Miller, Bob Potter, Beth Friend, and numerous others, have filled the air over the past three decades with live Fair broadcasts that both informed and entertained. There was also the longtime broadcast of the Morning Show hosted by Jim Ed Poole and Dale Connelly, bringing their distinctive humor to the street intersection.
The Minnesota State Fair’s permanent 320-acre home along Snelling Avenue in St. Paul contains historical buildings which host a slew of exhibitors, plants, animals, arts, and plenty of jam. Big outdoor attractions include a multitude of food, Midway carnival rides, livestock (with smells), and daily shows and grandstand performances. It’s a busy, busy 12 days that MPR Archive has attempted to capture in this audio collection as varied as food on a stick. A report on Little Irvy, the freeze-dried whale…check! Andean folk band…indeed! Differences of the Pronto pup and the Poncho Dog…got it! Former U.S. Senator Rudy Boschwitz pitching his milk…yep! Here is your audio ticket to those stories…and so much more.
August 28, 1972 - MER’s Dulcie Lawrence presents a montage of fair attendee interviews and sounds of the Midway, vendors, and bandstands.
September 4, 1972 - MER’s Connie Goldman asks a variety of 1972 fair attendees about their likes and dislikes. People watching is, of course, a recurring theme.
August 23, 1974 - MER’s George Fisher interviews 10-year-old Jay Bowers about his first experience at the Minnesota State Fair.
August 26, 1974 - MER’s Connie Goldman talks with exhibitors Mr. and Mrs. Ernest Bach about their vegetable submissions in hopes for prize-winning blue ribbons.
August 27, 1974 - MER’s Connie Goldman interviews Garrison Keillor and his son Jason about their day at the Minnesota State Fair. The interview changes up when Garrison starts interviewing Connie.
August 28, 1974 - MER’s Connie Goldman interviews MER Classical host Dennis Rooney about his interest in covering the food at Minnesota State Fair. Rooney promotes the various traits of food fair.
August 25, 1975 - MPR’s Connie Goldman presents an audio montage of the many exhibitor sounds and voices that can be heard while wandering the Minnesota State Fair.
August 27, 1975 - MPR’s Connie Goldman presents an audio montage of food vendors and fair attendees on the numerous edible items that are sought out at the Minnesota State Fair, including fair favorite pronto pups and twenty cent all-you-can-drink milk.
August 28, 1975 - MPR’s Connie Goldman and Bruce Wall decide to explore the Midway rides at Minnesota State Fairgrounds. It does not go well for Goldman.
August 26, 1976 - MPR’s Kate Williams interviews numerous fairgoers, exhibitors, and Minnesota State Fair manager John Libby about the experience and costs of fair.