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Photo gallery: Welcome to the fair

Arts & Culture Jennifer Simonson , Jeffrey Thompson · ·

1 It was a wet opening morning Thursday for the 2014 Minnesota State Fair in Falcon Heights, Minn. 
2 Among the new offerings this year is Deep-Fried Breakfast on a Stick: American and Swiss cheeses, a sausage patty, one egg and Canadian bacon between two pancakes, dipped in batter and deep-fried on a stick. It's one of only a handful of new "stick" foods at the Minnesota State Fair this year. 
3 Andrew Berg, a 4-H participant from Pipestone, trims his sheep's coat in preparation for competition Thursday. 
4 Nora, 4, Lillian, 3, and June Bystrzycki, 4, pet a sheep at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday. 
5 With help from his mother, Elliott Cich, 4, of Austin, Minn., washes his hands after visiting the sheep barn at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday. 
6 The new Lulu's Public House, located in the West End Market, offers deep-fried lobster on a stick and blueberry-flavored beer, among other things, at the Minnesota State Fair. 
7 The newly renovated west end area of the Minnesota State Fair is packed with fairgoers Thursday. 
8 Gov. Mark Dayton took the ALS Ice Bucket Challenge Thursday at the State Fair. 
9 Shoreview resident Debbie Quant, right, a dancer with the Westonka Whirlers, helps fairgoers like Nina Blount of New Brighton learn to square dance Thursday. Volunteers from the Square Dance Federation of Minnesota were outside the Education Building giving dance demonstrations and short lessons. 
10 After Republican Mike McFadden challenged DFL Sen. Al Franken to six more debates, a person in a chicken costume appeared outside the Republicans' booth at the State Fair. 
11 Jay Bufler, 15, of Waseca, Minn. shines his Black Cochin with Vaseline before showing the chicken at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014. 
12 Kali Geyer, a member of the Benson FFA chapter, shows off a lamb Thursday that was born 24 hours earlier in the Miracle of Birth building at the Minnesota State Fair. 
13 Sarah Brakke of Garvin, Minn., shares her attention while fitting sheep at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday. Brakke's family has been showing sheep at the State Fair since 1963 and she said she hasn't missed a year in her 31 years. 
14 Adrianne Staff, 3, of Blaine, Minn., enjoys a snack and a ride at the Minnesota State Fair Thursday.