This Popular Minnesota State Fair Food Actually Isn’t From Minnesota
The Minnesota State Fair kicks off its 2023 run later this month, and it'll feature all things Minnesota, including one popular food we always associate with the Gopher State. But as it turns out, this item was NOT invented here!
One of the more iconic Minnesota food items the Great Minnesota Get-Back-Together sells is the Pronto Pup. Sure, it looks a lot like a regular corn dog. Which, of course, you can also get at the State Fair. But the Pronto Pup, while available elsewhere NOW, has always been a true Minnesota original, right?
Wrong! There have been various stories throughout the years that have theorized that the Pronto Pup was invented here in the Land of 10,000 Lakes and popularized at the Minnesota State Fair. But, as I found out earlier this year, that's not entirely correct. The Pronto Pup was actually invented in Oregon.
While the Minnesota State Fair might have helped popularize the Pronto Pup, it was actually invented by George and Versa Boyington in Rockaway Beach, Oregon in the late 1930s. And, that original stand is still in business today, proudly proclaiming the story of how the Pronto Pup came into existence:
The Boyingtons ran a small hot dog stand on the beach. When the rain came and ruined their hot dog buns, George came up with the idea of cooking a bun as needed. He created a pancake batter-based mix and the duo came up with the formula still used today. The Pronto Pup made its big commercial debut from a fountain shop window owned by the Boyingtons in Portland, Oregon, in 1941.
And while there may be other locations-- like, say, the Minnesota State Fair, that helped popularize the Pronto Pup, 'no claims predate the Boyington's Rockaway Beach invention,' the sign in the stand says.
So how did the Pronto Pup make its way from the Oregon Coast to the North Star State? The sign goes on to say that the Pronto Pup became popular after World War II ended, with many soldiers having been introduced to it while serving on the west coast.
After the way, many went on to open Pronto Pup franchises across the nation. This MPR story notes that Twin Cities businessman William Brede brought the franchise to Minnesota and unveiled it at the State Fair in 1947.
So while the Bold North will still proudly sell you a Pronto Pup at the Minnesota State Fair, keep in mind that you'll have to head west to the original Pronto Pup stand in Rockaway Beach to see the World's Largest Pronto Pup as well as take a ride on the World's First Mechanical Pronto Pup!
Now, if you're not planning to head up to the Great Minnesota Get-Together this year, never fear-- because there we've found a recipe that will allow you can make your OWN Pronto Pup right there at home. And, if you ARE going to the State Fair, keep scrolling to check out all the new exhibits, events and attractions as well as all the new foods that you'll be able to find this year!
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