Hurricane Dorian prompts bittersweet reunion for Minnesota family

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Every year, the Loughreys of Brooklyn Park go to the Minnesota State Fair as a family. But this year, Blake almost missed out.

“If you’re Minnesotan and you’ve never been to the fair, you can’t call yourself Minnesotan. It’s part of being Minnesotan. We take a lot of pride in going every year,” Blake said.

When Blake left for Florida earlier this summer for his freshman year of college, the Loughreys figured their group fair attendance streak was done, and they originally showed up without him.

“He was incredibly disappointed," his mother Amy said. "When we came here, we took pictures and he gave us a list of things he wanted to eat, and we sent him all the photos."

But then, Blake’s college cancelled classes due to Hurricane Dorian. He quickly decided to travel home to go to the fair with his parents, younger brother and grandmother.

When asked about evacuating the area, Blake said, "it's definitely nothing to mess around with."

"No question," his mother said. "We just said, 'for sure, you're coming home.' We're from Minnesota, we don't know what a hurricane is like."

It certainly isn’t the way the Loughreys wanted to keep their State Fair streak going. In fact, Blake’s grandmother has a condo on the beach near West Palm Beach, and there’s no telling what she’ll return to.

“I talked to my neighbors, and they were doing the best they can,” grandmother Mary Lou Olson said. “We’re just praying everything goes well on Hutchinson island.”

To show where their hearts and thoughts are right now, the family donned gear from their favorite Florida surf shop as they cherished another summer afternoon at the fair.

Their family traditions at the fair include a visit to Ye Old Mill, a ride on the Giant Slide, Gizmos, poutine, and a bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies.