The Great Minnesota Get Together

Thread the Needle Day, July 25, 2013

Today is Thread the Needle day (check out the Holiday Insights Calendar) and since I don’t sew much I’m going to walk the fine line between wanting Minnesota summer to last as long as possible and holding my breath until the Minnesota State Fair is here.

Raise your hand if you love the fair! Okay, you know this is a blog, right? I can’t really see your hand, but I’m assuming there are a pile of you out there that are waving one hand wildly in the air while reading this and scrolling with the other hand.

I’ve been to a number of county fairs, but only one state fair, so I’m no expert. However, I do think Minnesotans have a love affair with their state fair.  It is the largest state fair in the U.S., when measured in terms of daily attendance (according to Wikipedia). Also, if you talk to people that go to the fair, a large percentage of them go more than once over the course of the 12 days it’s held each year. I love going multiple times for a number of reasons.

Number one, I love to people watch and every day brings new people.

Number two, I love to eat and how much fair fare can one really eat in a single day

Number three, there is so much to see there’s no way to see it all in a single visit.

Let me just start with this. If you don’t like crowds and being jostled around, the state fair isn’t for you. There’s actually plenty of relatively relaxed areas from which to sit and observe, but if you’re going to se any of the great exhibits you’re going to encounter mobs of people. My favorite place to watch people from is around the long elevated Grandstand entrance. There’s plenty of space and a variety of people to watch. If you’re a dedicated “watcher” you may want to bring one of those collapsible backpack chairs. They’re more comfy than most of the options and allow you to be the master of your lazy destiny.

On to food. There are, of course, all the standard mobile (haul the sales from one location to the next each weekend) favorites. Mine in particular include snow cones (and actually these have been upgraded to Hawaiian Shaved Ice), Pronto Pups (NOT corn dogs),  Kiwanis malts, foot long hot dogs with fried onions, A&W Root Beer, carmel apples (usually I get them from Tysk), Mini-donuts (usually Tiny Tim) and, if I’m still able to waddle, carmel popcorn.

There’s new food on a stick every year as well. To be honest, I let the rest of y’all taste that stuff mostly and if it makes it to next year then I’ll give it a try.

The fair also has its share of church kitchens and regular restaurant fare. In fact, each year brings new restaurants and food vendors to the fair. It’s a big deal to be allowed in and usually a cause for celebration when it happens if the vendor or restaurant owner has been waiting for a while. My neighbor at work is related by marriage to a well established restaurant family in St. Paul that just made it in this year. Their’s is a large extended family and everyone from the matriarch on down is excited and has a role to play this year. I bet the planning for the 12 days of service has been going on for months.

As you can see, the 10,000 calories of my “must haves” demands more than a single visit.

Finally, the exhibits and performers. I love the free entertainment.  I’ll walk my legs off to get from the 4H exhibit for blue ribbon cookies and best quilts over to the Western Horse Show and then back to the Fine Arts building to pick out my favorite three pieces.

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I’ve found some of the most interesting gadgets among those shown by the Grandstand exhibitors as well. Everything I know I need along with a number of things I had no idea I needed. Indeed, as it turns out, most of the things I didn’t know I needed? I actually didn’t need them. Who’d of thought? Anyway, sculptures in butter, your cousin-in-law and the band he sings in, your ex-choir director and her all female musical group, the Budweiser Clydesdales, prize winning largest sow (or boar, as the case may be)
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…it goes on and on and I do love it all. Unfortunately my attention span is short and my need for rest and refueling is frequent. Again, the need for multiple trips.This year I’ve downloaded the maps and plotted a new strategy. Come on end of summer, I’m ready for the Great Minnesota Get Together!

About Bob

Bob has been a writer all his life. He has had to do many other things to buy groceries and make his car payments, but most of these things have involved writing, in one genre or another.
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