I have a confession to make. Unlike fellow Twin Cities blogger Emily, whose blog also recently returned from the dead, I love the state fair. I'm not a native Minnesotan. I came here at 24 after living in Montana and North Dakota. But for many reasons, some which have been documented here over the years, I fell in love with this state, and that includes the State Fair.
I could write a love letter or something just as cheesy, but instead I'm going to just go ahead and list the things that I love. You'll be surprised to find that most food is at the bottom of my list.
- The people. It's true that the State Fair bingo card exists for a reason. The fair seems to bring out people you would never see at a club in downtown Minneapolis or even a bar in Northeast Minneapolis. But that's sort of the point. Other than the fishing opener and the Vikings, nothing else brings together this entire state quite like the fair. Whether they live in the Twin Cities or in great Minnesota, people come from everywhere to attend. It's sort of amazing when you think about it.
- The animals - I grew up on a farm. In fact, I brought pigs to the county fair a few times growing up. I love walking through the animal barns, watching the kids take care of their charges, seeing how well kept they are, and occasionally helping corral an escaping creature. Ok, the last never happens, but only because everyone looks at me at assumes I'm a city boy and would get run over and rushes over to save me. Oh well.
- The horses - They get their own category. I love horses, their magnificent animals and sort of like big dogs. And the people who raise and show horses are usually extremely friendly and willing to tell you all about them.
- The hidden secrets. I took a group of friends to the fairgrounds for a photo walk last summer. It was cool seeing it without all the people, and a few things I'd never noticed before became apparent.
- The colors. Just look at the photo attached to this post. I'm not sure what it is about the fairgrounds, but on a sunny day it doesn't get much better.
- The music - Not the concerts at the grandstand, but the ones at free stages.
- The tractors - Especially the old tractors. They tend to remind me of my childhood, and the people who display them take such pride in them, as they should. They are magnificent.
- The food - I do enjoy the cheese curds, the cookies, and the milkshakes as much as the next person. But they are not the reason I go every year. In fact, I rarely leave stuffed. Usually I'm just mildly sick.
There are a lot of other things to love about the fair, but those are a few that I think of. It's an experience and no blog post really does it justice. Don't go just to stand in line for cheese curds, go for the day and spend some time exploring.