Can two adults who don’t want to ride rides occupy themselves for a whole afternoon at Valley Fair?
If you’re into the waterpark or floating around the lazy river, then yes! But otherwise, no.
Fifteen years have passed since I’ve been to ValleyFair. It’s been about the same for Jake. We curiously returned as part of my work’s employee appreciation event. It was a laid back type of event where you could simply stop by.
Growing up in the Twin Cities, we went to ValleyFair every year. Going as a family was a big deal and something we greatly looked forward to. Occasionally we went as part of a school field trip. ValleyFair hosted a physics-themed day in the spring. Our teachers assigned us easy physics assignments to completed related to the park and then we got to have fun.
You wouldn’t know it now, but I used to love thrill rides. Back in the day when I didn’t worry about my neck or my back or ruining my car fobs and smart phone with water. Or walking around in wet shorts all afternoon. Oh to be young and carefree.
When you are a kid, ValleyFair is vast and sprawling. You feel like you wander for hours, going from ride to ride. Our parents drove us home after a long day, soaking wet from the wave ride near the entrance.
Returning to places you remember when you were young is peculiar. They’re always so much smaller. You wonder how they felt so large.
Jake’s main goals were to see if he could remember where everything is and find his favorite ValleyFair foods, cheese-on-a-stick and a funnel cake. I wanted to find a cold adult beverage.
Cheese On A Stick
Cheese On A Stick looks like a corndog. Except it’s bigger and the inside is filled with gooey cheese. And it’s not just any cheese. It’s a giant blob of American cheese.
There’s something that’s still special about Valley Fair’s. The state fair’s cheese on a stick is also good but not quite the same. You’d have to try it to understand.
No one’s going to ValleyFair to get annihilated on $10.99 craft beers.
The park is too immaculate, there are too many kids, and too many spinny rides.
The little saloon we remember feeling was very fancy as kids is called Chickie’s & Pete’s now. We hoped they served that Tattersall punch, but didn’t stick around long enough to find out
If our memories are correct, this saloon was a sit-down restaurant that looked like something out of the wild west. It may not have actually served fancy food, but it felt special to eat there. We looked forward to chilling there as an adult.
Upon walking in, we noticed those awful self service screens. It looked like you had to punch in your own order before entering. We wistfully looked at the bar around the corner. So close, yet so far away. Flies buzzed around a half-eaten pizza. The people in front of us took so long to order that we left for another watering hole.
Here, a very young person served our drinks.
“Rum! Rum! Push the rum button!” we hollered and she tried to operate the slushy machine. $12.99 gets you a very, very weak very refreshing margarita, daiquiri or lemonade in this souvenir cup.
I actually have very few recollections eating food at ValleyFair.
In addition to the cheese on a stick, Jake wanted to find a funnel cake. Not the sexy Instagram ones covered in cream, chocolate, and sprinkles, but a classic funnel cake dusted with powdered sugar.
It’s not even on the menu, but they do sell it. You just have to ask.
Crispy and not too sweet. Pull it apart, it’s perfect.
You may return to ValleyFair after fifteen years. The park might feel smaller and rides make you sick now. You might find yourself, saying “We probably won’t come back until we have kids.”
But you can still enjoy a funnel cake, with beer now. And the cheese on a stick is still good.