Food on a stick may be tasty, but isn’t worth the gamble for Minnesotans who have food allergies. Read more for allergy friendly foods at the MN State Fair (gluten-free, dairy-free, and nut-free).
According to the Anaphylaxis and Food Allergy Association of Minnesota (AFAAM), more than 200,000 Minnesotans have food allergies, and the number of Minnesota elementary school students affected by food allergies has nearly doubled, to more than 60,000.
Not surprisingly, 90% of all food allergies are caused by the big 8- milk, egg, fish, crustacean shellfish, tree nuts, wheat, peanuts, and soybeans.
(For more information from the AFAAM, visit their exhibit booth on the west side of Cooper Street south of Dan Patch Avenue.)
This can make the MN Great Get-Together a landmine of fear. No one wants to go to a day at the fair, and end up with hives, tingling or itchy sensation in the mouth, swelling of the throat, face, tongue, or lips, gastrointestinal symptoms, difficulty breathing, loss of consciousness, or even death.
According to Food Allergy Research and Education, about 40 percent of children with food allergies have experienced a severe allergic reaction such as anaphylaxis.
Having my own issues with breathing this past year, I always carry my inhaler with me, but luckily don’t need to keep an Epi-pen on hand. I do, however, avoid the barns at all costs, due to a strong hair and hay allergy. Sorry, kids!
Yet, when I googled allergy friendly foods at the MN State Fair, there was surprisingly very little information beyond a few blog articles. Also, food vendors are NOT required to post allergy warnings.
Twin Cities Rock did post a list of gluten-free foods, which is available here. However, this does not cover the full spectrum of the the most common food allergies. Especially the dreaded peanut allergy, which as Scary Mommy shares, can be a matter of life and death.
That can make the State Fair less than healthy for a great number of Minnesotans.
While I do not personally struggle with food allergies, I work with health coaching clients who do have them. This has encouraged me to offer gluten-free meal plans, and to customize meal plans to their specific dietary needs.
Yet, the MN State Fair is an amazing two weeks to celebrate the great art, animals, crafts, music and folks of our state, and I would hate for our allergy-prone folks to miss out.
Therefore, I am creating this allergy-friendly guide to the MN State Fair.Want to enjoy the #MNStateFair, but you struggle… Click To Tweet
Please note: Because there are no definitive guides to guaranteed allergy-free foods beyond the gluten-free list above, please check with food vendors to make sure your food is free of your particular dietary restrictions. It may be a good idea to keep snacks on hand, just in case (and yes, the Fair does allow you to bring your own snacks.)
Gluten-Free Foods at the Fair
Potato treats found at Ball Park Cafe, Delicious Potato Skins, Fresh French Fries and Tot Boss.
Corn treats found at Big Pop Popcorn, Corn Roast, Mexican Hat (nachos) and Two Rivers Kettle Corn
Meat found at Ben’s Brats, Big Fat Bacon, Foot Long Hot Dogs, Charcoal Hut, Carousel Foods, Chicago Dogs, Chicken and Chops, Holy Land, Jerky Shoppe, O’Gara’s, Lamb Shoppe, Minnekabob, Mexican Hat, Sonny’s, and Texas Steak Shop.
Desserts found at Cinnamon Roasted Nuts, Cafe Caribe, Caramel Apple Sundae, Dairy Goodness Bar, French Meadow, Fudge Folks, Jonny Pops, Simply Nuts & More, Minnesota Apples, and Strawberry Patch.
Drinks (including adult beverages) at Caribbean Smoothies, French Meadow, Fresh Squeezed Lemonade, the Frontier Bar (beer), O’Garas, Spring Grove Sodas, Mo and Joe’s Coffee.
For full list of gluten-free foods, check out the printable PDF from Twin Cities Rock.
Dairy-Free Foods at the Fair
- Vegetarian tacos at San Felipe (hold the cheese)
- Falafel, tabbouli, hummus, grape leaves and veggie samosas at Holy Land (hold the sauce)
- Yakisoba noodles at Island noodles (also nut-free)
- Spicy Thai noodles at Oodles of Noodles
- Harry Singh’s vegetarian options
- Non-alcoholic pina colada at Manny’s Tortas (made with coconut milk)
- Dole Whip
- Strawberries and Cream (marked non-dairy)
- St. Martin’s Olives on a Stick
- Sara’s Tipsy Pies Irish Apple
- Preferred Pickle (bring your own dipping sauce)
- Corn Roast (hold the butter) and Henry’s Kettle Corn
Nut-Free Foods at the Fair
Unfortunately, I was not able to find any information on nut-free options at the State Fair. There was a personal blog referencing how to make your own copycat State Fair food, and be prepared for an allergic reaction, yet only one thread with evidence of foods that were safe from a personal standpoint.
Here are foods that were NOT cooked in peanut oil as of 2012. Caution: these vendors may have switched oils. Always ask before you try.
- Fresh Fries (soybean oil)
- Minneapple pies (canola oil)
- Tom Thumb Donuts (soybean oil)
- Dole Whip
- Vegie Fries
I am not certain why there are no specially labeled nut-free foods for the MN State Fair, but I suspect that may be keeping quite a few families away, for fear of a life-threatening reaction.
Based on the list above, here are some vendors that may accommodate multiple allergies in your family.
- Delicious Potato Skins, Fresh French Fries and Tot Boss
- O’Garas, Minnekabob, French Meadow, Holy Land
- Minnesota Apples, Strawberries and Cream, Dole Whip, Corn Roast and Henry’s Kettle Corn
Want to print a copy of this allergy guide to the MN State Fair? Click the button below to print and take it with you (it’s free)!