Dakota County Fairgrounds is in Farmington, MN about 30 minutes south of Minneapolis. Its pure fairgrounds camping: a big, mostly level grassy area with no trees to speak of and just the basics for a RV. There are no sewer hookups but there’s water and 50 amp electric and a nearby dump station. The camping area is set up for clusters of four RVs to set up around four hookup power/water pedestals. That’s not immediately apparent upon arrival, though, because there are a few exceptions to that setup (along the roads) and also, some folks park a distance away from their hookup point and stretch cords to their hookups, giving them some elbow room from their neighbors. There’s a range of people in the campground – guys working in the area, retired people, and families all taking advantage of probably the lowest camping rates in the Twin Cities area.
We arrived on the heels of the area receiving three inches of rain and the wet, grassy campground was pretty spongy. Making matters worse for us, although we didn’t realize it at the time, one of the leaf springs on the camper broke just as we arrived. That meant one of our wheels was literally dragging against the floor of the camper as I drove out onto the grass. I drove to our spot, then tried to move the camper back a bit and got stuck immediately. The issue was mainly the broken spring but the soft parking area didn’t help any. A fellow RVer pulled me out and then diagnosed the real problem. The campground didn’t have an actual campground host at the time, and one of the other campers suggested to the folks filling in as camp hosts that I be allowed to pull up onto the only gravel site in the place, the vacant host site, where the 5th wheel could be safely jacked up and worked on. At that point, I needed to find a mechanic to install the spare spring I had with me. Before I knew it, Bob, who had pulled me out and diagnosed the problem showed up with his tools ready to do the repair. A couple of hours later the camper was ready for the road again. Jackie and I are humbled and thankful for the Good Samaritans who helped us in this breakdown.
The fairgrounds has lots of good gravel roads, so there’s plenty of places for a nice walk. There’s also Dakota Village on the property. It’s a small town of several carefully restored buildings dating back to around 1900. There’s a church, schoolhouse, drug store, blacksmith shop, and several other buildings. During the fair and at other times, local volunteers come out in period clothing to make Dakota Village come alive. There are also equestrian and canine groups that do training adjacent to the camping area. It’s fun watching these activities.
The campground does have restrooms (although the one right at the campground was undergoing repairs during our stay). I saw a single shower in the restroom, though, and it didn’t look very inviting – the toilets, though, were acceptably clean. We had full scale Verizon 4G and, with no trees to speak of, no problem getting a satellite signal. The county fair takes place in August, during that time all campers have to be out, as the area is used for venders and parking.