Your freshman effort in 2019 as the Food Czar was a home run. But 2020 stole your momentum! Does it feel like you’re starting all over again?
Well, 2019 was a great year at the fair, no doubt! Although the cancellation of the 2020 fair took some of the wind out of my sails, I certainly do not feel like I’m starting over. There had already been a lot of planning in place for 2020, so I’m picking up right where I left off and am looking forward to a great fair.
You guys were pivoting all year—what did it teach you?
Recently, I realized how good it feels to have face-to-face interaction and see someone smile. But mostly, I learned that people can adapt to pretty much anything. The State Fair staff switched gears and put on two successful drive-thru food parades and a limited-capacity walk-around event, which we had never done before. It felt so rewarding to bring a piece of the fair to our guests in those safe environments.
Last year changed the Twin Cities food landscape. Did you have to change the way you chose new food vendors?
I had already secured a lot of vendors prior to us cancelling the 2020 fair, and those carried over to 2021. We are fortunate to work with amazing vendors who themselves were able to adapt and survive during the pandemic.
Is 2021 the year to celebrate the food traditions of the State Fair, or is it the year to celebrate the food innovations?
I think 2021 is a year to celebrate everything about the fair! Some guests look forward to their traditional favorite State Fair foods each year, and others can’t wait to try all the new foods. I think most people look forward to both.
What are you most excited to eat this year? What did you miss the most?
This is a tough one… can I say EVERYTHING?