Nestled between the buffalo burgers, the kettle corn, and the booths that harken back to yesteryear in Heritage Square, you'll find a new immigrant.
It's Ole's Cannoli, a booth featuring Italian cannoli and Swedish coffee.
"We're really excited for people to come try the cannoli," said Marta Lindsey, who with her mother Pam Olson, is running the booth. The family has roots in Brooklyn Park. "We've done some street fairs in San Francisco, but nothing compares to the Minnesota State Fair."
Marta and Pam first tasted the italian treat ten years ago on vacation in Boston.
"We both ate a bite and said this is amazing, how have we never had this and this would be so perfect at the Minnesota State Fair," said Marta.
They spent the rest of their vacation figuring out a way to bring the dessert to the Fair. Three months ago, they got the call that their booth would be located in Heritage Square. Even though the area is known to be quieter than major thoroughfares, the booth is bustling on the first day.
"It's nice and crunchy," said Aaron Perslin, who tasted the cannoli after seeing a show on television about it. "It's something new I've never had before."
Several people who stop by the stand have never had cannoli before.
"A lot of people say 'it's pasta' and I say no, it's this amazing dessert," said Marta.
The secret is to fill each cannoli shell fresh to order so it keeps a creamy-crunchy texture.
"It's all about freshly filling them right before you eat them," said Marta. "If you go into a bakery and there's one sitting on a shelf, it's not going to be a good cannoli. It's important that a flaky shell stays flaky not soggy."
At Ole's Cannoli, you can buy a plain cannoli or chocolate cannoli and then top it with traditional pistachios or chocolate chips or even sprinkles.
The mother-daughter team hopes when the State Fair is over, they've done a little teaching on what good cannoli is. So when Minnesota fair-goers think of cannoli, they think of Ole.
Shannon Slatton, reporting
August 23, 2012