Monday, September 05, 2005

Their State Fair

My parents were born in Minnesota. Have I mentioned that? They (well, mainly my Dad) would bring us back three or four times every year when I was growing up. Most of the trips were fairly flexible calanderwise (probably a fall/winter trip for a Vikes game, one in spring sometime), but we would be in St. Paul on labor day weekend for the Minnesota State Fair. We'd go for a day or two, stay until about 3 or 4 on Monday, and then buzz back down to Milwaukee for the start of the school year on Tuesday. Actually, monday at the fair was always a little sad as the school year was hanging over me like the 16 ton weight on Monty Python.

Well, I came up to meet my parents this weekend at the fair. I haven't been here for 10 years, I think.

I kind of like this bit from the Wiki entry: At the fair, residents of the state and region come to be entertained, exhibit their best livestock, show off their own abilities in a variety of fields including art and cooking, learn about new products and services, and enjoy many different types of food—often on a stick.

On a stick! They aren't lying. Apparently the new thing this year was spaghetti on a stick. Wacky, eh? Apparently the only way to hold it together is to deep fry it. Blech. Seen around the ground on a stick were mocha (some sort of popsicle), corn, corn dog (refered to as a Pronto Pup, which has its own wiki entry), and various meats.

It was a focused run. 3-4 hours, and we covered a lot of old ground.

I started with a Peter's Weiner hotdog. Still tasty.

We stopped by the Minnesota Public Radio both. The are schlepping a lot of Prarie Home Companion stuff. My parents had seen Garrison on friday night. The story about the civil war enactment was priceless.

Next, a bag of Tom Thumb mini-donuts. The wax papap bag still looks the same, and is still caked with sugar after the donuts were gone. My dad used to send those empty bags all over the world to people who couldn't make it to the fair. Kathy warned me not to send her one.

We then walked over to the barns. I saw the prize winning cattle cow (purchased by a meat packer up in Wisconsin). We saw sheep getting judged. It was like a dog show by wollier. We finished with the pig barn. All of these places smelled exactly like what you think they smell like.

The last must have on my list (after walking longingly past the giant slide and Ye Olde Mill (a very poor man's Small World)) was a Honey Sundae, over in the Agriculture building. Honey icecream (and I don't really like icecream) with sunflower "nuts" mixed in, and then honey poured over the top.

Well, the guy screwed it up a little by putting way too much icecream in the little bowl, and then way too much honey on top, and then handing it to me. There was no way. I ended up with a honey glove by the end.

And then we left. But it was a great day. Some things (especially state fairs) don't change. Except for spaghetti on a stick. And then you remember why you are happy they don't change.


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