Minnesota State Fair
Marie Huey, Public Policy and Advocacy Staff Leader Attending the Fair

After you zip down the giant slide and in between your fair food checklist, take a moment to engage with policymakers about early childhood. The Minnesota State Fair is a unique opportunity to connect with elected officials because so many of them have a presence on the fairgrounds.  

If candidates hear from many people that quality child care is a top priority, that can make a difference in what their priorities are. Take this opportunity to make some noise so that they can’t say they haven’t heard about it!  

It’s not that hard! Here are some examples of what you can ask elected officials or their representatives at the fair.  

  • I care a lot about making sure young children and their families have a good start. How will your office work to ensure families have the resources they need to be successful? 
  • There’s a lack of child care in my area, and families need quality care to go to work! What solutions are you promoting to increase the availability of quality, affordable child care? 
  • I’m passionate about the importance of brain development in a child’s first years, and we need skilled, well-compensated educators to do this work. How will you address the early educator workforce shortage if elected? 
  • The pandemic has been devastating for child care. State and federal supports have helped many stay afloat, but long term solutions are needed. If elected, what will you do to address this? 

Or, create your own message! This is a great opportunity to share your personal story for advocacy.  

Connect with Candidates 
Many candidates spend time at the fair, spreading their message and connecting with constituents. While some candidates have a separate booth, many others are represented at their party booths. Below are the parties, candidates, elected officials and their locations. 

Independence Party of Minnesota 
South side of Dan Patch Ave, between Nelson & Underwood Streets 

Libertarian Party of Minnesota 
West side of Nelson St between Carnes & Judson avenues 

Minnesota Democratic Farmer Labor (DFL) 
Northeast corner of Dan Patch Ave & Cooper St 

Republican Party of Minnesota 
South side of Carnes Ave. between Nelson & Underwood streets 

Dean Phillips for Congress 
East side of Cooper St. between Wright & Dan Patch avenues 

Senator Amy Klobuchar 
North side of Judson Ave between Nelson & Underwood Streets 

Dr. Scott Jensen for Governor 
West side of Underwood Street between Wright & Dan Patch avenues 

Ole Savior for Governor 
East side of Nelson St between Carnes & Judson avenues 

Grassroots Party-Legalize Cannabis 
West side of Clough St between Carnes & Judson avenues 

What can you do at these booths? 

  • If you’re interested in what the party stands for, ask them about their values. 
  • Find out which candidates from the party are running in your area. 
  • Ask why you should vote for those candidates. 
  • Ask them where they stand on issues that matter to you. Share your story. 
  • Sign up for a mailing list or to volunteer. 
  • Make a donation or purchase items to advertise for candidates you support. 

Learn About Minnesota Offices and Officials 

Several state offices have booths at the fair. They have resources about what their offices do and how to engage with them. Stop in for a moment as you make your way through the Education Building and Grandstand. 

Minnesota State Fair Education Building
Minnesota State Fair Education Building | Source: https://www.mnstatefair.org

Minnesota State Senate 
In the Education Building, east wall 

Minnesota House of Representatives 
In the Education Building, east wall 

Minnesota Judicial Branch 
In the Education Building, southeast corner 

Minnesota Attorney General’s Office 
In the Education Building, southeast section 

Minnesota Secretary of State 
In the Grandstand, lower level, north center section 

What can you do at these booths? 

  • Fill out the opinion poll. Both the House and Senate have a survey with timely policy questions.  
  • Ask questions about the legislative or judicial process. 
  • Get your very own Capitol Dome Hat. 
  • Learn how to stay informed about what is happening at the Capitol. 
  • Talk with a legislator. They volunteer at the booths during the fair.  
  • Find information about voting and elections. Register to vote.  (Secretary of State) 
  • Pick up copies of consumer guides on a variety of topics. (Attorney General) 
  • Ask about the roles of these offices. 

Explore Issues that Matter to You 

If you see a cause that catches your eye, stop and ask for more information. The fair is an excellent opportunity to learn more about what is going on in your community and around the state. Check out the Fair Finder for more information about causes by category. 

2022 Minnesota State Fair Map
2022 Minnesota State Fair Map | https://www.mnstatefair.org

Make your Plan 
Candidates often appear on radio and television shows during the State Fair run. Keep your eyes and ears open for information about where and when to see them. While many exhibits run for all 12 days of the fair, some are more fleeting. Check the daily schedule before you go to find out if there are any special appearances you want to see. 

There will still be plenty of time for eating, riding, and biggest-boar viewing. But on this visit to the fair, make a little time to learn about the many people in government who represent you, and help spread the word that quality early care and education is on your priority list. 

By Marie Huey, Public Policy and Advocacy Staff Leader