Local Current Blog

Prince is the star of the ‘homegrown legends’ in Minnesota State Fair ‘Floralpalooza’

Photos by Jay Gabler/MPR

Let’s go crazy! Attendees at the Minnesota State Fair on the first day of what looks to be another record-breaking run didn’t need any encouragement, but there was Prince’s music regardless, infusing a dose of funk into the heart of the iconic Horticulture Building.

Each year, that space is used for elaborate arrangements that showcase the skills of the Gopher State’s floral pros. In 2019, where one might have perhaps expected a nod to Woodstock, there is instead a “Floralpalooza” paying homage to some of the late greats of Minnesota’s arts heritage.

At the center, very literally, is Prince. A Love Symbol hangs high above a tower of flowers in a purple-lit display draped with gauze and sparkling crystal cascades. A nearby wall of succulents invites selfies underneath another Love Symbol; at the base of the central tower, a placard sings Prince’s praises.

Originally named Prince Rogers Nelson, later called the Artist Formerly Known as Prince, and [Love Symbol #2] was born on June 7, 1958 in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and died on April 21, 2016, in Chanhassen, Minnesota. The singer, guitarist, songwriter, producer, dancer, and performer on keyboards, drums, and bass was among the most talented American musicians of his generation.

Surrounding the Prince tribute, tableaux honor cartoonist Charles M. Schulz; fictional lumberjack Paul Bunyan; and author F. Scott Fitzgerald, who gets a Gatsby-themed garden. Grand Rapids native Judy Garland gets perhaps the oddest tribute: a Wizard of Oz diorama with a lumpy lion and an oddly leggy, troubled-looking Dorothy grooving very hesitantly down a yellow brick road.

This isn’t the first time the Minnesota State Fair has featured a Prince tribute, and it surely won’t be the last. In fact, in the very same building this year Prince appears in crop art form.