Today, I get to see what the quintessential Minnesota experience is all about. I’m heading to the Minnesota State Fair this afternoon for work, where I’ll be surrounded by all manner of fried food on sticks, though I’ve been told I cannot eat any of it. Our client is a health-care provider. Apparently grease dripping from my fried-alligator-on-a-stick doesn’t gibe with their public image.
So be it. I’m probably dodging a bullet, because according to my Facebook feed, the average Minnesota State Fair-goer experiences the Great Minnesota Get-Together in the following five phases:
Phase 1 — The Arrival: Holy crap! Look at all of the rides! Is that an omelette on a stick? Either I’m getting blood clots or inducing vertigo! Booyah!
Phase 2 — The Indulgence: This deep-fat-fried ham I’m eating is delicious! So is this stout beer! I can’t feel my legs!
Phase 3 — The Exploration: I don’t remember the Tilt-a-Whirl making me so nauseous! Where are the other adults?!
Phase 4 — The Aftermath: (Overwhelming sadness. Silence. Despair. Slight jaundice.)
Phase 5 — The Empty Pledges: “Hey guys, want to leave the State Fair and never come back again in our lives?”
About 1.8 million attended the Minnesota State Fair last year, as year after year it’s one of the largest state fairs in the country. (Texas holds the crown, but only because it runs twice as long.) I’m generally opposed to huge crowds, sweltering heat, carnies and horny teenagers running amok, but I love Minnesota. This is a celebration of the state’s culture, no matter how folksy and fattening it gets. It’s the last hurrah before the weather turns and we’re trapped indoors for six months. (This justifies the gluttony — mammals must feast before hibernating.)
Today’s more work than play, but I’ll snap some footage for those of you who haven’t been or haven’t even heard of the Minnesota State Fair. (That means you, daily reader from Turkey.) For those who have been, why do you go? What brings you back? What’s the fair’s biggest selling point?