Different State Fair focuses on Black entrepreneurs for 4th year

Mariah Brown started Dipp'd By Riah two years ago, selling chocolate covered strawberries, lemonade and fresh fruit.

But this is the first time she's been surrounded by other business owners who look like her.

"I was a part of another big event where I didn't feel as one of them. So they've been supporting me more than the customers have been supporting me," Brown told FOX 9.

The Black Entrepreneur State Fair in Minneapolis started four years ago as a way to empower, celebrate and promote Black business owners.

Organizers say the fair offers the 75 vendors the opportunity to sell everything from food to clothes to jewelry in a space where Black entrepreneurs can shine, connect and thrive in the parking lot of Midtown Global Market.

"I want people to come and just see our culture for themselves and just experience it from our point of view. This is for us, by us, the way that we do it and how we want to do it with no barriers," said co-founder Destiny Shelby.

Shelby says many Black business owners don't have the financial resources to stock up for a large-scale event like the Minnesota State Fair.

But her event gives them a chance to do a fair on a smaller scale, where they can learn and grow, and maybe one day be ready for the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

"It's a little intimidating, the Minnesota State Fair. But this is definitely a start, a head start to getting there," said Brown.

This may be Brown's first Black Entrepreneur State Fair, but she says it won't be her last.

"That's all I can say is I love it. It's been a fun time. It's been a great experience," she said.