Open since 1897, the Hamline Church Dining Hall on Dan Patch Avenue is the longest consecutive running concession stand in Minnesota State Fair history. During the Great Minnesota Get-Together, more than 75 volunteers work each day to provide fairgoers with a “nice atmosphere, great food and a chance to sit down, rest and regroup as a family,” says Teresa Renneke of Hamline Church. Throughout her 30 years spent organizing the dining hall, Renneke has experienced how valuable their presence is to guests of all ages. “People often say, ‘Wow, real silverware and real plates,’ when they sit down for the first time,” Renneke says.
Opening daily at 7 a.m., the Hamline Church Dining Hall serves breakfast, lunch and dinner with a variety of popular options at $9.95 per meal, featuring choices ranging from ham loaf and Swedish meatballs to coleslaw and sandwiches. Over the years, the dining hall has been staffed by several longtime volunteers, with some avid helpers giving upwards of 50 years’ service.