Well the weekend just seemed to slip away from me again. I worked until almost 8:00 Friday night, and having stayed as late most of the week-long, I was just wiped out by the time I got home. I was in bed by 9:00 Friday night. I’m such a wimp.
Brad has been back at school for a week now, but he, Heather and the dog came back here for the weekend. The Minnesota State Fair is going on, and Heather hasn’t been there since she was a little kid, so Mark promised her we’d all go. The kids arrived Friday evening, and on Saturday morning, we all piled in the truck to go to the fair.
We normally go to the fair every year, but usually we pick a weekday to go. It’s been years since we attended on a weekend and I had forgotten how absolutely insanely crowded it can be. There was no parking to be had at the fairgrounds, but we did find a good deal a few miles away. The area businesses were offering free parking with free shuttle rides into the fairgrounds. That was really the way to go. We probably would have had to pay upwards of ten dollars to park at the fairgrounds, but instead, we parked for free and enjoyed an air-conditioned ride on a coach bus which brought us right to one of the fair entrances.
Jake had gone camping for the weekend with my brother and nephew, so he missed the fun. (Not that he minded. He loves to camp and fish.) In Jake’s place, Kacey invited her friend, Hailey along and the six of us began our trek through the fair. It seems like in the past, we tend to just wander aimlessly, trekking here and there and often doubling back to places we’d already been. So I decided right off that we would start by walking the outer edge of the grounds and then weave our way through until we came to the midway on the far side.
There is always so much to see at the fair and SO much to eat, and we did our part to taste-test as many of the foods as possible. We started with deep-fried sun-fish, all sharing from one serving. this is how we tasted most of the foods. And almost everything is deep-fried at the fair. You can’t plan on eating healthy there, but if you allow yourself a day to just pig out, you’ll have a ball. Just plan on ingesting a few Rolaids when you get home!
We had deep-fried cheese curds and a blooming onion with cheese sauce for dipping. But my favorite were the deep-fried pickles. These were thick, round pickle slices and cream cheese, dipped in batter and deep-fried with ranch sauce for dipping. Yum! And it was an extremely hot day, so we had plenty to drink. And before we left for the day, we made a stop at Sweet Martha’s for an overflowing bucket of fresh-baked chocolate chip cookies. We ate a few while there, then took the rest home for later.
The people watching is always the best part of the state fair. First, there’s the hair. It comes in all colors, including neon green, hot pink and royal blue. There is long hair, short hair, spiky hair, Pauly-D hair, mohawks and hair with tails. Then, there’s the wide array of fashion at the fair. I’d say most people dress sensibly for a hot summer day of walking for hours around the fairgrounds. Those people wear shorts, a t-shirt and a good pair of tennis shoes. (Not me though. I wore my favorite, most comfortable Skechers flip-flops.) But others are there to make a statement, no matter the fact that the temperatures were hovering in the high eighties. My favorite can’t-help-staring fashion was worn by a girl with very, dark black hair. She had on a pair of denim shorts, but under the shorts, she wore black tights. Over the tights, she wore knee-high black socks. Over the socks, she wore knee-high black boots with buckles from the top of the boots to the ankle. Honestly, I can’t remember what she wore on top, because I could not help but stare at the footwear, which clearly did not say, “Hey, walk for miles around the fairgrounds in me on a hot summer day while fighting massive crowds.” But that girl managed to pull it off. Wonder how her feet felt at the end of the day? A close second in stare-able fashion was worn by a woman who I’d say was in her fifties. She had on a pair of zebra striped spandex pants with a bikini top, which, more power to you if you can pull off such a fashion, but let me tell you; I saw her stomach, and someone should tell her she couldn’t really pull this look off. Oh… and one other strange thing I saw there… walking casts. I lost count of how many people were wandering around in walking casts! Apparently there’s been an outbreak of bone breakage in the state lately. Personally, if I had one of those, I’d take advantage and get one of those electric wheelchairs and zip around the fair in comfort!
The state fair also had plenty of legitimate attractions to offer, including the livestock barns. And since the Minnesota State Fair began as a celebration of the state’s agriculture industry, we thought it pertinent to take a walk through the barns. We skipped the cows and the pigs, but we took a tour through the poultry barn, mainly because our neighbor, Caitlin had entered a couple of chickens and we wanted to see them. Honestly, I don’t know one chicken from the next, but I was surprised at the variety of breeds there were. Caitlin’s were black and white and sort of stripey. It was fun to check out all the other birds there too. I guess I never really thought about how huge turkeys can actually get, since my frame of reference has been thus far limited to the kind you see in the grocer’s freezer. I was impressed with the size of the geese too. I found a domestic one that seemed to take a liking to me while I talked to it. He eyed me curiously and I noticed that it had blue eyes. Mark told me all geese have blue eyes. I had no choice but to believe him, since I really don’t know, but I found it odd.
Back outside, we marveled at those brave enough to try the thrill rides. The ejection seat always amazes me, and we watched a few brave souls strap in and allow themselves to be sling-shotted into the sky. I also noticed for the first time this year, some big, clear plastic bubble things (kind of like giant hamster exercise balls… almost said “hamster balls” but realized that didn’t paint quite the picture I was going for…) that people could go inside and float around in a big pool of water. There were sky-rides and the space-tower for those who wanted an aerial view of the fairgrounds, but we are all a bunch of wimps and were content just to watch. The three girls did, however, take a ride down the giant slide, while I picked up a t-shirt from my favorite radio station’s booth:
I love the fair. If you’re ever here, you’ve got to go. Call me. I’ll go with you!