Wednesday, August 5, 2009

state fairs

State fair season is starting up again, and Garrison Keillor wound up on NPR talking about them. Part of this was to promote his article in National Geographic about the Top 10 State Fair Joys, but part of it is this: that people from Minnesota are *crazy* about their state fair (or, as W recites like an automaton, "The Great Minnesota Get-Together"). There even seems to be some weird deathcage rivalry on Wikipedia about whether the Minnesota or the Texas state fair is larger.

Minnesota State Fair Gopher by Gordon Shumaker
via Gary B. Johnson

I'm from Nevada. I didn't even know that we had a state fair until I looked it up 2 minutes ago (it's in Reno). We used to go to the Jaycee State Fair (which isn't a state fair - heresy!) in high school, but only because our high school jazz band was paid to play there. The most amazing attraction was the World's Largest Pig, and it was mostly amazing because it also appeared to have the World's Largest Balls. I don't even remember if there was funnel cake -- *that* is what a limited impact that fair had on my life.

Meanwhile, a fifth of the population of Minnesota has been attending their state fair since in the embryonic stage, and another fifth was probably working there. When I told my now-friends J and R (who are also from Minnesota) that I was going to Minneapolis over Labor Day weekend, both immediately shrieked in unison, "the State Fair!!" and then tried to brainstorm a way for me to bring whatever-on-a-stick back to California for them. Mind you, I had just met them about 1 week prior to this exchange.

Minnesota State FairMinnesota State Fair
via stevelyon

Minnesota State Fair 2008Minnesota State Fair 2008
via WBUR

W finds the Minnesota State Fair essential to his identity. He is so protective of it that when I suggested we go to the California State Fair last summer, he gave me the sad, patronizing stare that clearly indicated that he felt so sorry for me, poor thing, not knowing that there is really only one state fair worth going to. It's not called the "The Great California Get-Together," is it love? What could possibly be at the California State Fair? When I pointed out that the California one probably had a lot of the same stuff as the Minnesota one, he looked like I smeared his mother with honey and tied her to a tree in bear country, and then kicked a baby otter.

I would like to add that the website for the Minnesota State Fair is boring old, and the California State Fair website is And really, which one of those would *you* rather go to?

1 comment:

. Phydeaux . Phydelle . said...

Oh my gosh, I'm coughing from laughing so hard over the exchange between you and W. Stop kicking those baby otters, will you?

(p.s., the CA state fair is a hoot ... when you're a teenager living in Sacramento ... which I once was.)