Family of Dot Schwartz purchase a unique bench in her honor

By Chad Koenen


Dot Schwartz has become just as much of the Minnesota State Fair as corn dogs, cheap milk and those little cookies that are sold by the bucket. For the better part of a half century, Schwartz has rarely missed a state fair. Thanks to a donation from one of her daughters and granddaughter, Schwartz has become quite literally a fixture at the state fair. 

“It was very nice and I really appreciate it,” said Schwartz of the gift from her daughter and granddaughter. 

The bench was a surprise gift from her daughter Barb and granddaughter Megan. The bench says Crabb-Schwartz, which was her maiden and married last name, as well as a small plaque telling about her life. 

Dot Schwartz next to her bench at the State Fair

“They talked about it for three or four years and I said no, that was too expensive. I offered to pay for half of it and they said absolutely not.”

Dot Schwartz

The bench will be moved around the state fair grounds, but this year the Crabb-Schwartz bench was located near the children’s barn. Schwartz was quite familiar with the children’s barn, which shows children how food is grown and eventually created into things like cereal, as she has volunteered at the barn several times over the years.

For Schwartz, the state fair and being active in 4-H was something of a staple in her life. 

From the time she was a child, Schwartz showed animals and completed projects for her 4-H group at the local county fair. Oftentimes that would result in a trip to the Twin Cities and the Minnesota State Fair.

Wanting to share those experiences with her children, which included seven girls and one boy, Schwartz encouraged her children to be active in 4-H growing up. 

“It was just something I thoroughly enjoyed so I wanted our kids to do it and they thoroughly enjoyed it as well,” said Schwartz. “It teaches them to take pride in their work and to try their hardest.”

Her love of the state fair and the 4-H has been passed down to her children and even her grandchildren, many of whom still show exhibits at the state fair each year. Her children were all members of the local 4-H groups and showed everything from pigs to rabbits, photograph exhibits and other projects through the years. In fact, Schwartz said with a laugh, that her daughter had approximately 44 exhibits in one year alone. 

“They were all very active in 4-H. The kids showed all kinds of projects,” said Schwartz.

Many times their projects culminated with a trip to the state fair and an opportunity to enjoy the last big celebration of summer in the Twin Cities. Even today, Schwartz said her daughter Barb goes to the Minnesota State Fair just about every year, another daughter goes to the Iowa State Fair and another does the same for the Alaska State Fair. 

“It’s something you look forward to,” she said of the state fair. “The fair means a lot to all of them.”

And now the Schwartz family has another reason to attend the stater fair each year, besides the animals, projects and food of course, as they find where their mother’s bench has been placed and provide people a chance to sit down and relax in the sun.