There are three kinds of Minnesotans. There are those who can’t stand the State Fair, there are those that go every couple of years, and then there are the rest of us who live for The Fair and go multiple times each year. I have used this blog to express my love of All Things Fair for several years: details about The Unofficial but Super Cool State Fair Trivia Contest (and Annual Scavenger Hunt), photo essays of my daily visits throughout the run of the Fair, my pursuit of finding Fair experiences I’ve never had before, stories about the people (and animals) I’ve met, foods to try and foods to avoid.
The Minnesota State Fair is the one place where the only thing that divides us is a preference for Corn Dog versus Pronto Pup. From quilts to sows, from the Magnum Ride to dodging the sticky Sweet Martha’s clumped dead on the sidewalk in front of her booths; the State Fair displays all of the best we have to offer. I love mingling with the masses, watching teens flirt at the Fresh French Fries stand, admiring the pickles and preserves, reminiscing with friends over a cold Beergarita, and asking 4hers about their projects. I love that my mom and I once tag-teamed on Smokey Bear duty and that last year I was a chicken in the parade. I love the rotating Butter Heads and talking to Princess Kay. I love the goofy flavors of lip balm from the StarTribune and listening to Bluegrass at all of the free stages. I love walking through what’s left of Machinery Hill and sharing a tray or two of cheese curds. I love standing in line with a bunch of kids to milk the cow and milk drinking contests with my friends’ teen-aged boys. I love wandering and finding art and beauty everywhere I look.
Yesterday I walked along Dan Patch, Carnes, Judson, Nelson, and Underwood with our IT guy checking Internet connections for the 4hers and debating what food booth would be most successful if we were granted access to the Consecrated Grounds. The air was clean (not yet heavy with deep fried and animal smells), the paths were clear (no horses and cows and costumed alpaca walking to the arena, no families dressed in matching shirts, no kids on leashes), and I moved into the time warp that always envelopes me at the Fair. Maybe that is why some of us Minnesotans feel the way we do about the Fair… we perceive that magical warp and gladly enter it.