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Math on a stick joins state fair treats

FALCON HEIGHTS -- Something does not add up here: Math on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair? Fried candy bars on a stick? Sure. Twinkies on a stick? A no brainer. But math at a fair? Math on a stick is among new attractions at the 2015 fair, wh...

Minnesota State Fair
Thousands pack a street at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday as the annual event opens its 12-day run. Turnout was good on a perfect weather day for the fair. The Minnesota State Fair runs through Labor Day. (DON DAVIS | FORUM NEWS SERVICE)

FALCON HEIGHTS - Something does not add up here: Math on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair?
Fried candy bars on a stick? Sure. Twinkies on a stick? A no brainer. But math at a fair?
Math on a stick is among new attractions at the 2015 fair, which began its 12-day run Thursday under hazy skies with a temperature that could not quite reach 80 degrees.
State fair veterans said the crowd was larger than many on opening day, crediting that to a forecast that called for rain Thursday night and Friday.
The fair got off to a quieter start than in election years, when candidates crowd the gates to shake hands with the first fair visitors.
On Thursday, U.S. Sen. Amy Klobuchar and Lt. Gov. Tina Smith were the big-name politicians around early, although later Gov. Mark Dayton was joined by Minneapolis and St. Paul mayors to note the 100th anniversary of the Ye Old Mill ride, which has been in the Keenan family from the beginning.
Dayton and the mayors hopped aboard the ride, which Dayton said in his day young people liked so they could do things in the dark “that kids do in the street now.”
“This is one of the cornerstones of the fair,” Minneapolis Mayor Betsy Hodges said.
If the mill is one cornerstone of the fair that attracts nearly 2 million people a year, one of the best-attended fairs in the world, another cornerstone is things on a stick. It usually is food, but on Thursday it also was math.
Math on a stick is at the Family Fair at Baldwin Park, and sponsors say it is “a welcoming space where kids and grown-ups can explore fun math concepts at the fair. Families can count their way through the fairgrounds on a number game scavenger hunt, play with geometric and reptile-shaped tiles to create designs and patterns, discover how math can be creative in special activities led by visiting mathematicians and artists who use math in their careers and more.”
Math on a stick is one of several new offerings this year, including:

  • The Willis Clan, the 14-member family of cable television fame, will appear every day on the bandshell stage, with performances at 10:30 and 11:45 a.m. (although there will be no Sept. 3 10:30 performance).
  • On a practical note, free sunscreen will be dispensed at each fair information booth.
  • Poultry has been banned from fairs, due to an avian flu outbreak, but the Poultry Barn is packed with activities and exhibits about the state poultry industry.
  • Figure skating will be Tuesday’s Carousel Park attraction, promoting next year’s U.S. Figure Skating Championships in St. Paul. Olympic gold medalist Kristi Yamaguchi and Minnesota native Rohene Ward will be featured.
  • History on-a-shtick, an original show at 9:30 a.m., is daily at Schilling Amphitheater at West End Market. The show is about Minnesota history. It includes music and will fold together topics such as the mosquito, a blueberry muffin, wild rice, a walleye and other state symbols. Betty Crocker will be there, too, joined by Paul Bunyan, Dough Boy and Snoopy.
  • Hmong Minnesota Day at Carousel park on Sept. 7, the fair’s final day.

Online: www.mnstatefair.org

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