Mayo and Shyness “On a Stick” at the State Fair

I never thought I’d see the day when references to the great Mayo Clinic would be uttered in the same breath with our annual attraction to food on a stick at the Minnesota State Fair. It has happened. And it works.

Secretary of State Mark Ritchie mixes metaphors to make a good point about Minnesota innovation in a recent op/ed article for the Rochester Post Bulletin. He called on visitors to the Minnesota State Fair, which opens Thursday, to stop by the Innovation on a Stick exhibit in the Grand Stand building.

We’re talking about promoting Minnesota innovation here, not necessarily the state’s contributions to health or food nutrition. The state fair exhibit will show how Ritchie and other Minnesota promoters and entrepreneurs are working to attract a World’s Fair here in 2023. Rochester, he told the southern Minnesota newspaper readers, has been a leader in such bold thinking about the future. The Destination Medical Center anchored on and surrounding the Mayo Clinic, with state and local support, is an example of bold thinking that will be remembered a hundred years from now, Ritchie added.

Promoting a world’s fair proposal and keying off our annual, humorous attraction to fair food served on a stick, Ritchie is at the same time highlighting a quirkiness of Minnesota culture. We sometimes have to laugh at ourselves in order to tell people about us. “But while we are a major world player, we are often too shy or polite to brag about our achievements and institutions,” he wrote. “Hosting a world’s fair is an opportunity to invite the world to our backyard – where we can comfortably share our remarkable stories about the Mayo Clinic, the Boundary Waters, our amazing colleges and universities and all the hardworking, creative people making Minnesota the most civically engaged and economically successful state in the nation.”

Overcoming shyness, it should be noted that world fair promoters are finding legitimate things for Minnesotans to brag about. A good example of that comes from Stamford, Conn., where the Stamford Advocate recently informed its readers that Minnesota entrepreneurs would “Launch Innovation on a Stick at Minnesota State Fair.”

That is getting the word out no matter how it is served.

Posted in Economic Development | Related Topics: Economic Growth