Our tickets for Garrison Keillor and the Prairie Home Companion show came in the mail yesterday.
Friday, July 22, 2011
Wednesday, July 20, 2011
Prior to 2001 I hadn't been to the Minnesota State Fair since 1992. That year, a friend of mine, Mike, had tickets for a Grandstand show by a group named Color Me Badd. Color Me Badd was a bubble gum boys band of the early 90's that came and went pretty fast. Mike was going through his second adolescence (or maybe it was his first) and was into stuff like that. As it was a free ticket I decided I really didn't have anything to lose so I went along. I gotta say that even though I didn't have any strong feelings about the band that they really did put on a great show. They could really sing and their moves were quite slick. After the performance ended at about 9 p.m. we had some time to walk the fair and hang out. I really do like being at the fair in the late afternoon and evening as it's not as crowded, it's cooler and it just plain brings back memories.
Tuesday, July 19, 2011
I remember on our 2001 visit to the fair Dale and I saw Paul Wellstone, the U.S. senator from Minnesota, and his wife Sheila doing a meet and greet over by Machinery Hill. We thought about getting in line to shake their hands but the line looked long and it was starting to get later in the afternoon. Dale and I had been there since about noon and we were getting tired and ready to go home. "Next time", we thought. Sadly, Paul Wellstone, his wife and daughter were in a private plane that crashed shortly before the election in 2002. All on board were killed.
In the summer of 2002, just months before his death, I did the Twin Cities to Chicago AIDS Ride. As I was riding down Summit Avenue in St. Paul with no one in front or behind me for a few blocks I noticed a man with a handmade sign standing all by himself on a corner. As I rode by he yelled out some words of encouragement. I said thank you and only moments later realized that it was Paul Wellstone. He didn't have an entourage around him and there was no media there because that's just the kind of guy he was. I sure he just showed up on his own.
I found the above photo on the internet. It shows Senator Wellstone and two women at the Minnesota State Fair.
Monday, July 18, 2011
Dale and I had never been to the fair together before. We decided to go in 2001. Shortly before the fair we had started a new diet called Body-for-Life. It was a great diet that focused on eating six small reasonably portioned meals a day that were balanced between protein and carbohydrates. The part of the diet I really liked is that it offered a free day where you could eat as much of anything you wanted including junk foods. That year we made sure that our trip to the fair fell on our free day. We worked out at our downtown Minneapolis gym that morning and then hopped a downtown bus that dropped us off right at the gates of the fair. Just before catching the bus we stopped by a coffee shop and each got a chocolate chocolate chip muffin and a personal sized bottle of orange juice. At the fair we each got the foods we really wanted to eat. I know for sure that I got the Tom Thumb mini-donuts, a corn dog and corn on the cob. I know I got a lot more but that's all I can remember for sure. We stayed until the late afternoon/early evening and took a bus back to our car in downtown Minneapolis. It was quite a day of food and fun.
Friday, July 15, 2011
Deep fried candy bars, to me, are like communism. In theory it all sounds great but in reality it just doesn't work. I'm not sure if they were brand new to the fair in 2006 but if not, they hadn't been around too much before that. I just remember having heard about them on TV that year and knowing that I really wanted to try one. Dale and I got to the booth and I ordered a deep fried Snickers. It was prepared just like a corn dog - dipped in batter and then deep fried. I'll never forget that first bite because it made the sides of my tongue curl. Them problem was that the batter was way too sweet and a candy bar is sweet enough as it is already. Sweet plus too sweet equals WAY too sweet, that is, unless you're into that kinda thing.
Thursday, July 14, 2011
Wednesday, July 13, 2011
Tuesday, July 12, 2011
"The Minnesota State Fair is one of the things that seems to bring all Minnesotans together. While the reasons for attending vary from the food to the cows, everyone can find something to enjoy. As you walk around the fair, you see all ages, races and cultures. People from the urban and the rural areas mingle at the cheese curd booth. It is truly the Great Minnesota Get-Together and Minnesota wouldn't be the same without it." ~Vicki Carlson, Minneapolis, MN
Wednesday, July 6, 2011
In 2008 the Minnesota Historical Society put together an exhibit called MN150 and published a companion book titled Minnesota 150: The People, Places, and Things That Shape Our State. Before the exhibit opened anyone was allowed to submit a nomination for something they felt should be included. The Minnesota State Fair made the list and the winning nomination does a great job of telling how the fair has changed and remained relevant today. Here it is:
"This is the Great Minnesota Get-Together that has been going on for around 150 years. The Fair is a unique blend of farming and big-city exhibits and demonstrations. It has changed over the years to reflect the changes in our community and state. For example, Machinery Hill was THE destination after World War II for famers from all over the state to kick the tires on the latest farm implements. The Hill gradually changed in the last decade to reflect the new urban farmer with high-tech lawn mowers and mini-excavator machines. And yet as much as it changed, many things are still the same, like the 4-H center where kids from all parts of Minnesota come to give demonstrations and skits on the main stage."
"Families have gone to the Fair for generations. And the Fair changes with the times as well. In 2006, there was an Eco-center with many different booths with energy conservation themes, which is very timely considering the increasing cost of gasoline, fuel oil, and natural gas. It truly is the Great Minnesota Get-Together! ~Tom Sletten, St. Anthony, MN"
Monday, July 4, 2011
I was doing dishes this morning and was listening to a local morning news show that was on TV in the living room. I heard mention of the State Fair and went to look at what they were talking about.I didn't catch the whole thing but a guy was being interviewed about doing salad on a stick at the State Fair this year. One of the foods on a stick that I've never tried is the walleye on a stick so I think I might have to give that a go this year.
The following is from the Food Network website: "Teddy Roosevelt famously said, 'speak softly and carry a big stick...' at the Minnesota State Fair more than 100 years ago. He was talking about foreign policy, but today, any reference to a big stick would most likely involve something breaded and fried: The Minnesota fair has one of the widest varieties of food on a stick in the country - more than 60 options. Deep-fried Reuben dogs and spaghetti-and-meatball balls are the crowd-pleasers, but one of the best bites of Minnesota flavor is the locally caught walleye. The state fish is mild, flaky and just meant to be dipped in batter, fried and dunked in tartar sauce."