Why I’m Not Going To the State Fair

August 25th, 2011 | Ann

In Minnesota, the State Fair is a big deal. In fact, according to this site, the Minnesota State Fair is the largest 12-day event in North America, attracting nearly 1.8 million visitors annually. It’ s the 3rd largest event in the country and the 2nd largest State Fair in the country (topped only by Texas).

I started thinking about my trip to the State Fair in years past, and the amount of calories I’ve consumed in a single evening. Without the focus of a “healthy, active living”, I didn’t give a second thought to what I was putting in my mouth. This year, being where I am in my healthiness journey, I can’t imagine freely buying and eating anything my little heart desires without considering the consequences (read: weight gain).

This article does a great job job talking about the calories in fair food and giving suggestions of some of the better choices you can make – carmel apples, corn (without butter), even cotton candy.

Let’s talk about some of my favorite fair foods: [read at your own risk!]

Fried Pickles - approx 300 calories

Source of calorie information.

Deep Fried Candy Bar - 450 calories

Source of calorie information.

Corn (w/approx 2Tbsp Butter) - 320 calories

Source of calorie information.

Fried Cheese Curds (2 oz) - 410 calories

Source of calorie information.

Sweet Martha's Cookies - 90 calories/cookie

Source of calorie information.

French Fries - 560 calories

Source of calorie information.

Root Beer (12 oz) - 150 calories

Source of calorie information.

Last year, when I went to the Minnesota State Fair, I ate everything listed above. Including 5 Sweet Martha Cookies, that is 2,640 calories.

I burn approx 500 calories/hour doing moderate cardio, and it would take me 5 hours of moderate activity to burn the food that I ate in one night!

Now, I know there are lots of other attractions of the Minnesota State Fair. See this article from the Star Tribune. I took an impromptu poll yesterday on Facebook and Twitter, and heard from people who enjoy meeting up with friends, who like the people-watching (me too!), the memories, and that it’s the same every year.

Of course, most people have a favorite “fair food” – heck, I still have lots of favorite fair foods (see above). But right now, at the point I am at in my journey, going to the State Fair and eating is not going to help me reach my health and wellness goals. Eating any of the food listed above would take me further away from my personal goals of being a faster runner, a stronger cyclist and a healthier person.

Will I go back to the State Fair another year? Heck yeah. Are there lots of non-food attractions of the State Fair? Absolutely! But this year, I’ve set different goals and priorities for myself.┬áTo commemorate the opening day of the State Fair today, I won’t be attending the fair. I won’t be eating any of my favorite “fair foods”. In fact, I don’t plan to attend the State Fair this year.

Tonight, to commemorate the opening of the State Fair, I will be running the Lifetime Fitness Torchlight 5k. And I will continue working towards my goals of living a healthy, active lifestyle. For me, that doesn’t include the State Fair this year.

Edit: This was a difficult post to write because talking about personal choices can often lead to misunderstandings. Hopefully you can understand why going to the State Fair is simply not in my best interest right now, with my personal healthiness journey. Thank you for reading objectively and commenting with respect – even if you disagree.

22 Responses to “Why I’m Not Going To the State Fair”

  1. Lynne says:

    When going through this journey, choices like this need to be made from time to time. I think you made a good one for you and where you are right now.
    Have fun and good luck with the 5k!

  2. Kris says:

    Have an awesome time at torchlight!!! I support anyone doing what is best for them when it comes to high risk situations like the fair. Rock on Ann!!

  3. Kari says:

    You continue to just blow me away. I love waking up every morning and reading your blog. You inspire me again and again. Congrats to you! I am so proud of the strides you are making.

  4. jillian says:

    my favorites were always deep fried cheese curds (WITH ranch), boardwalk fries and lemonaid shake-ups. all that stuff is deadly… i am passing up the fair this year too. no need to put myself in that situation with all that fried fatty food that’ll just make me sick.

  5. Ashley says:

    You gotta do what’s best for you. If someone gets offended it’s probably because they realize that they aren’t going to be making healthy choices and that bothers them, ya know? Good for you for just simply removing yourself from the situation.

    I support you!!!

  6. Kat says:

    I completely understand your pulling yourself from the game. We’re not going this year either. It’s delicious, but it’s just that. I really only care about the Mouse Trap Cheese Curds and a pineapple milkshake from the dairy barn. Period.

  7. Jessica says:

    Have fun at your 5k!

  8. Becky says:

    I have never had fried pickles, but they look amazing. I think I shall stay away from that fair as well!

    Good job on making a tough decision in order to keep yourself on track. I’m proud of you!!

  9. Um, I didn’t know you were running the Torchlight – I will be there tonight too! We should hook up! Yahoo!

    • Ann says:

      Yes. I’ll see you tonight!! I know I saw you at the PFG event, but I feel like I haven’t seen you in AGES!!! Hooray!!! :)

  10. Nicole says:

    Like others have said, you have to do what’s best for YOU!!! I avoided the Iowa State Fair as well, and I admit…I really didn’t miss it. Good luck on the 5K!

  11. Jana says:

    I see nothing wrong with skipping out on the fair because you feel you might have the potential to make choices that aren’t the greatest for you. Rock on!

    Good luck at your 5K tonight!

  12. Liz says:

    The thing about a healthiness journey is that you need to choose what is right for YOU and no one else. Which means that if skipping the fair this year is right then you are staying on track! I’m proud of your willpower and continued perserverence.

  13. Good luck on your run! Great that you are putting yourself first and know what is BEST for you! Have fun!

  14. Rhonda bastian says:

    Sounds like a very mature honest decision….and a good idea!

  15. Amber says:

    I totally get it!!! I live in Texas really close to the BIG State fair… Last year I had just started my weight loss journey but went to the fair DETERMINED to defeat the temptations…I packed my food and headed out. The only thing I bought food wise that day was a salad ( wouldn’t recommend at the the fair lol) I did have a lot of fun but it was REALLY REALLY HARD not to eat like I normally would.I don’t know if I will go this year ……. I am training to run a Half in Oct. (BTW love your post about your 13.1… truly inspired me!) and I don’t want to mess up my training and eating habits. Sometimes for me if I have a big cheat day it can throw me all out of whack. I think its very admirable to miss out on something you really like to better your health and your journey. I totally get it!!! Love your blog!
    Amber

  16. Nancy says:

    What great, supportive comments. Not only is it a good choice to skip the fair this year, I think it was a good choice to write this blog about doing just that. Let’s find a Fall bike ride to do, okay? Looking forward to staying with you this weekend. I am one lucky mom.

  17. Love this post, I am not going either for the same reasons, my goals are more important than 5000 calories that will only make me feel good for a while. PERFECT timing!
    :)

  18. Mads says:

    I hear this! It was actually a struggle for me to decide if I should go to the fair this year or not.
    My indulgences include cheese curds, corn with butter, corn dog, and sweet martha’s. I’m SURE the calories add up to well over 2,000.
    I AM going this year, but I know it won’t be pretty. It might even be worse than Thanksgiving. The plan is to run until I die the day before, the day of, and the day after. Wish me luck!

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  20. Cindy says:

    you know what i love? the fact that a 5k is no longer a big deal. i mean…it’s a HUGE deal, but you’re just like “nope, not going to the fair. just going to head out to this 5k…” and that is super awesome!!!!!!!!!!

  21. Mary says:

    I went to my first big state fair last year – about a week and a half after I started trying to eat better and stay active. It was the hardest day of my life, but surviving it made me feel like I was capable of anything! At this point, though, I’d avoid it entirely, too – even if it is “just once a year,” some things are better avoided. I totally agree with you – I could go and not eat, or go and eat in moderation, but the temptation is too great and it’s better to celebrate summer with something active like a race! :) [Your Ragnar posts were great, too, by the way - so jealous! I want to do one someday.]

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