Politics at the Minnesota State Fair

Politics at the Minnesota State Fair

FALCON HEIGHTS, Minn. - Fifty-five years bond Roger and Sharon Krech in marriage. So it's safe to say it's been that many years they've been attending the Minnesota State Fair.

All of those years come back to life for them in the Fair History and Heritage Center. Photos of politicians fill the walls of the building.

That's because since its beginning in 1859, it's been a stage for politics.

Perhaps the most famous speech, in 1901 by Teddy Roosevelt, happened where the grandstand sits now.

"Speak softly and carry a big stick," he said.

"It is the perfect place because so many people demographically are here. So many people are at the fair," said Fair General Manager Jerry Hammer.

Hammer said there's especially high interest during election years to have some presence at the fair.

"Dwight Eisenhower said this is the best state fair I've ever seen," Hammer said. It was also Eisenhower's first ever state fair to which he later said, "but I might as well start with the best."

Other presidents who have visited the fair at some point in their life include Calvin Coolidge, Warren G. Harding, and William Howard Taft.

It's been decades, however, since a president has visited the fair, likely because it's been decades since the state has been a true battleground for the presidential election.


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