Sunday, September 06, 2009

The Great Minnesota Get-Together

Here in Minnesota, where casseroles are "hot dishes" and the curious knack for passive-aggressivity (is that a word??) is called "Minnesota Nice," the annual Minnesota State Fair has been dubbed The Great Minnesota Get-Together. Maybe that's because Minnesotans, if I might stereotype for a moment, don't like crowds over about five people and therefore need to entice one-another to an event that annually draws over 1.6 million people and on the day we attended, over 200,000. Now how many of you would call that a get-together? A raging party? The population of the city you live in (or more)? I guess that answer depends on whether or not you're a Minnesotan. We Minnesotans like it better if we can think of it as just a little get-together among friends. Just poppin' in for a sit-down with some old chums.

Mr. Pumpkin, Wee Pumpkin and I stopped in for a spell at the get-together on Saturday. We got a real early start so as to avoid the crowds (in keeping with the attitudes of our state-of-residency). Even with a small crowd, though, we had a fantastic time people watching. Having just been introduced to People of Wal-Mart, we quickly drew correlations to the fair-goers. At an event where deep-fried candy bars and chocolate-covered bacon are easier to come by than a pizza joint in New York City, and where the muffin top still reigns supreme in women's fashion, it wasn't hard to find examples that could have easily found themselves in a "People of the State Fair" photo gallery. Mullets, mom jeans and Fair Do's, oh my! However, we restrained ourselves from too much mockery or stealth photography and just enjoyed looking at the animals and trying some new foods. I know, how boring, right?

We rode the Skyride, which wee one called "car up high" and looked at all the boats and tractors and plows on Machinery Hill. We tried a Spam breakfast sandwich (delicious) and washed it down with a shake from the dairy barn (at 9:30 a.m.). The honey lemonade was a hit with me and the family friendly magic show was a hit with the wee one. We saw the 1900 pound pumpkin and checked out all the seed art. We took a free trolley ride. It was a beautiful, perfectly sunny but not hot, not too crowded, pleasant day. I still regret that we didn't document the People of the State Fair. Maybe next year. Maybe if you go, you can do it. You won't have to work very hard at it. And now with the new-fangled camera-phones, no one will ever know what you're doing.

I love the fair. We go every year. Every time I go, I see something new, and I always miss seeing something, too -- because it's just so darn big and there's just one or two too many people at the great-big super massive gosh darn overwhelmingly gigantic Great Minnesota Get Together.

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