Pic from Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff

State Fair Fears: The Lure of the Lore

I’ve been a Minnesotan for the large majority of my 37 years, and this Saturday will mark the first State Fair trip for me and Becky. What tipped the scales? The Avett Brothers. Becky’s a fan, so we got tickets. Now we just have to go to the Fair to redeem them.

When other Minnesotans hear about this, they tend to be surprised and angry at the same time, like telling someone you never saw Star Wars. They immediately want you to remedy this flaw in your upbringing and report back.

Growing up in southwest Minnesota, I was under the impression that the State Fair was only for farm kids in 4-H, not for townies like me. My parents, probably not fans of keeping tabs on kids in a massive crowd in the heat, did little to dissuade me from this impression.

As an adult, and listener of public radio, the fair has been like listening to an addict talk about getting their fix for two weeks a year. It seems 80 percent of the reporting from the state fair is about fair food. Every year we get reports of 30 new deep fried foods that have no business being deep fried. Politicians come to talk about all the food they’ve eaten – they are just like us!

So in my mind, the state fair has become a rather mythic mélange of sweaty masses of people in various states of undress shoving deep fried and powdered sugared things in their faces while the odor of farm animals wafts through the air. And I say this with all due respect to people who have been there and love it; it’s fricking intimidating to hear about all this. It comes with the underlying narrative that you MUST eat it all to have a full fair experience. But Templeton should NOT be our role model, people. He’s a RAT.

The result of all this food reporting is it sounds like they want you to eat everything, and that each thing must be singularly filling.

Take a look at ONLY the NEW foods this year all at once, in all its brownish colored glory.



There’s also a ridiculous amount of entertainment options. A recent city pages has a listing for the day we’re there. It fills a page in type so small you need a magnifying glass to read it. I downloaded the app to help us navigate our way on Saturday.

And this is not to mention the crowds involved. I fully expect to hate humanity after two hours of dodging kids on leashes or falling ice cream cones.

So this is what going to the state fair feels like for someone who has never been who has anxiety issues. We’re going to cut that down by only arriving at about 4. Hopefully that will help.

I may fear the fair, but i’ve been proven wrong in the past, like with Yoga. I will do my best to remain open. I do look forward to trying something like ox tail to add to my bucket list of weird ass food.


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