It was my first time ever to the Taste of Minnesota since it moved from the front lawn area of the Minnesota State Capitol grounds. Back then it was crowded and noisy. The food was wonderful and widely varied, but a small bite was incredibly expensive. Fancy restaurants were represented that I could hardly afford to visit, but the smells were nearly as satisfying for the curiosity as the actual tastes (and much cheaper).
Now it's moved to Harriet Island, where there is plenty of room. The foods are less varied, less sumptuous, and vended by plain, ordinary booths from much the same fast food places as ones I visit on a daily basis. The prices are more than the norm, but not astronomical as before (If memory serves, a 1.5" square piece of cheesecake didn't leave much change from my mother's $5 bill, but she said it tasted heavenly.). Now a piece of roasted sweet corn goes for a bit more than it does at the State Fair, but it was just as flavorful.
So I guess my question remains; are we tasting the products of Minnesota, or are we tasting whatever food is made in Minnesota? Anything can be made here, but I didn't see much offered that lead me to believe we were being presented with those sorts of foods that Minnesota produces (no chicken, turkey or beef kabobs, no apples, no soy nuts, and no strawberry shortcake, just corn on the cob.).
As for my take on the variety of other vendors, I saw only 1 vendor that was offering things that resembled Viking merchandise, and very few others that had anything that looked hand-loomed or otherwise hand made. Most were from out state (I asked for cards from several).
The music, on the other hand was unbelievable! I loved every minute of the shows I got to see, and hope to go again some day; I will just bring my own food and beverages - which they do NOT discourage;-D. And I will leave much earlier - as the bridges begin to clog up well before sundown with every sort of fireworks enthusiast imaginable; including more than a few trouble makers. That made me so extremely uncomfortable, that I risked a heart attack scurrying my fat behind out of there!