Food vendors bringing new flavors, traditions to the Minnesota State Fair

New vendors share experience with State Fair so far

New vendors share experience with State Fair so far

New vendors are doing their best to keep up with the crowds as thousands of people pour into the Minnesota State Fair to fill their appetites.

Eight new vendors are up for the challenge to fill the hungry mouths of thousands.

Friday’s record attendance brought a record of appetites.

“The last few days were crazy,” Abdirahman Kahin, Afro Deli & Grill owner, said. “The smile and the happy people — that’s what’s driving us.”

The Somali Iced Tea is driving sales and a new tradition.

It’s the first time an African food vendor has been at the fair in history.

Kahin is spicing things up with a tea that’s normally served hot. Now, it’s poured over ice with mango.

“A customer named Maria said she wanted to try it and we love it. We’ve been selling like crazy,” he said.

On Monday afternoon, a special guest stopped by to try a taste of Africa.

Lt. Gov. Peggy Flanagan stopped by the booth with her daughter to get a taste of Somali Tea.

“It’s so good. I’ve had it hot, but I’ve never had it iced,” she said. “It’s a little spicy. You can really taste the pop of Cardamom in it. I feel like it’s a must-do drink at the fair for sure.”

Kahin was named the 2023 National Small Business Person of the Year earlier this year at a Washington, D.C., ceremony marking National Small Business Week.

Having the opportunity to give fair-goers a taste of his culture has been at the top of his list for years.

“It’s something that I’ve always dreamed to be a part of because if you own a small business, this is where you want to be,” Kahin said.

Gov. Tim Walz is set to stop by Afro Deli on Tuesday, according to Lt. Gov. Flanagan’s press team and Kahin.

Other new vendors include Bandstand Concessions, Churros and Aguas Fresca, MomoDosa, Peachey’s Baking Company and Tasti Whip and Wow Fudge.