“I don’t think she ever thinks about me” – photo by Instagram user gaadgette, used with permission
Every August, it appears on the horizon, looming like a giant, noisy, cheese curd-and-hay-scented storm cloud. You can shrug it off, think you’re too good for it, but by the end of the month, it’s unavoidable. Even if you never set foot on the grounds, the Minnesota State Fair will demand your attention and make you care about it.
MPLS.TV often tries to dip around what everyone else is talking about, but we’re no match for the State Fair’s powerful pull. One thing about the fair, almost as hard to explain to out-of-staters as the fact that we carve pageant queens’ likenesses in butter, is how all-consuming it really is. Cooing over baby farm animals, peering down on fellow Minnesotans from the Ferris wheel or the sky ride, and pushing deep-frying technology beyond the laws of God and nature are shared cultural traditions that defy elitism, at least for these few late-summer days.
At the same time, that communal experience contains multitudes: The State Fair is so big and chaotic that it offers something for almost everyone to latch onto. Babes in Soyland’s Holly dedicates this week’s column to the surprising variety of food available to vegan fair-goers. I recently was amazed to learn of the 4H Llama Costume Contest–which, if you’re a fan of South American livestock and/or Christopher Guest movies waiting to happen, you need to know about (video via MPR). Last year, I was introduced to the newspaper museum in old-timey Heritage Square, where you can pick up some journalism history and leave wearing a jaunty folded newsprint hat. The Cultural Activities area is full of quilts and seed art and movingly personal creations, from scrapbooks about loved ones to the glorious Oprah creation pictured above. And a surprising number of people told me this year that getting high either before or during the fair really enhances the experience–not that we at MPLS.TV accept any responsibility for your choices in this matter.
MPLS.TV continues to try to find creativity and comedy in everyone’s Minneapolis: vegans, llama lovers, people who need an herbal refreshment to get through a fair visit, and also people for whom (despite the hype) the State Fair isn’t a meaningful tradition. We want to hear from you: What’s your State Fair like? Have any good stories or photos from this year? Send ‘em our way and we’ll post our favorites: email@example.com.
In case you missed it, last week we interviewed Tiffany Trawick, founding editor of InCOLOR Magazine–watch for the online mag’s official launch at the end of this week. Also check out our video of Pitchfork critic Ian Cohen eloquently reviewing snacks at this year’s Pitchfork Fest in Chicago, as well as last week’s Pumped Up Kicks column about political troll Vermin Supreme.
And keep an eye out for the rest of our State Fair and other coverage the rest of this week, including Scratch Your Niche’s visit to new Prohibition-style/”bandaoke” bar The Pourhouse, plus Caught in a Nosh and Chance Encounters’ takes on the Great Minnesota Get-Together.
Talk to you soon!