Since its founding in 1859, the Minnesota State Fair had been an essential yearly tradition in the agricultural state. However, after the United States entered World War I in 1917, the fair took on an entirely new significance. Organizers reframed the event as a “Food Training Camp” that showed Minnesotans how to produce and conserve resources vital to the Allied war effort.
During the extended Cold War standoff between the United States and the Soviet Union, many Minnesotans prepared for the terrifying possibility of nuclear war by participating in a variety of civil defense efforts. The civil defense strategies employed in Minnesota changed significantly as the perceived military threat evolved.