Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Fair 2015 - Visit #2: Oh, What a Night

Friday, September 4, 2015

Round 2 of the State Fair for 2015 this afternoon. Took Mom to see Prairie Home Companion at the Grandstand for her birthday. I had school today and Mom came by to help in the classroom. We met Dale at the house after school, got Athena taken care of and were off to the Fair by 4:30.

We arrived a little past 5:00. It was 90 degrees out and the radio had just reported a heat index of around 100, which, I believe, made it just about the hottest day of the year. The humidity was nasty. Mom was sore and moving rather slow having just started a new exercise regime earlier in the week. I was a little worried about her but she insisted that she was okay if we didn’t mind moving a little slower than usual and were willing to sit down from time to time. Wasn’t a problem.

We stopped by the John Deere booth to visit with her friend Gary who was volunteering there. We then hit the Pronto Pup stand (for me) and the gyros stand (for Mom and Dale). Yummy stuff. The Pronto Pup wasn’t as substantial as the gyros so I grabbed a slice a pizza from Green Mill.

Our next stop was beer for Mom and Dale. On the way to the Leine Lodge we stopped by the Kemps Cow for a photo taken by Mom. I thought it turned out cute.

Mom and Dale got their beer and we found a bench under the Space Needle. It was a cooling station so water misters above us rained little droplets to keep us comfortable. It wasn’t heavy enough to get us wet. We had a great view of Judson Avenue as it wraps around toward the International Bazaar. Great people watching.

Our next destination was the Corn Roast stand. Mom and I each got an ear drenched in butter. It was very sweet and delicious. Dale said it probably came off the stalk that morning.  My, my that was some tasty stuff.

Next to the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater. I’d convinced Dale that he really needed to try the chilled bread pudding there. I went with the chocolate brownie version again with candied pecans only this time I went with the caramel sauce instead of chocolate. Dale went with the corn muffin bread pudding and, like me, got the caramel sauce with candied pecans. He loved it as I suspected he might.  We found a bench for Mom and Dale to sit down and looked up the street past Andy’s Grille toward the Midway.

Finally it was time to move toward the Grandstand for the Prairie Home Companion show. What a delight that turned out to be. It wasn’t surprising how wonderful the whole experience was since I’ve seen it at the Fair twice before. Mr. Keillor warmed up the crowd by walking through the audience while singing. The guests included Jearlyn and Jevetta Steele who sang, among other things, Reach Out (I’ll Be There) and Proud Mary. The Steep Canyon Rangers, a bluegrass group that I’d never heard of before, played as well. They were great. Garrison Keillor, Sue Scot, and Tim Russell performed a hilarious bit about a son calling home and talking to his passive aggressive mother and distant father. Of course, there was a report from Lake Wobegon and a Guy Noir appearance. It was all fabulous fun. Mom and Dale loved it as well.

Our trek back to the car after the performance was leisurely so as to accommodate Mom. On the way back she convinced me to get an order of Tom Thumb mini-donuts to share. It was all great fun and I’m already looking forward to next year.

Fair 2015 - Visit #2: Chilled Bread Pudding

Friday, September 4, 2015

On the way over to the Grandstand we stopped at Blue Moon Dine-In Theater and picked up some chilled bread pudding. We found a bench for Mom to rest and then we ate and chatted. We were looking up the street toward the Andy's Grille and then the Midway.

Fair 2015 - Visit #2: Prairie Home Companion

Friday, September 4, 2015

With Dale

With Mom
Waiting for Prairie Home Companion to begin.
Garrison Keillor on the Jumbotron.

Sunday, August 30, 2015

Fair 2015 - Visit #1: Away We Go...

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Last weekend Mike and I set up a date for me to join his family on a trip to the great Minnesota State Fair. I’ve been looking forward to it all week and today’s the day!

The weather always changes during the second half of August from the hot and humid days of high summer to the warm and less humid days that are typical now. Evenings have changed from warm to pleasantly cool. When this happens in mid-August, shortly after my birthday, I catch myself saying, “Feels like [State] Fair weather!”

Today had that definite fair time weather feel. I drove over to Mike and Charisse’s house around 3 pm. On the way over I heard MPR reporting that the Black Lives Matter protest near the entrance to the fair was just finishing up. The event was peaceful and went without incidence.

Charisse’s three sisters were in from out-of-town to make the trip to the fair with us. It was nice to meet Cathy, Cindy, and Char after having heard about them over the last few years. Mike and Charisse’s daughter Shay accompanied us as well.

As last year we did the park-and-ride deal again. There are numerous free lots in which to park located all over the metro area. Once parked, chartered, air-conditioned, Greyhound-type busses pick you up and deliver you to the gates of the fairground. The bus ride is free as well. Charisse bought our admission tickets in advance at Cub Foods (a locale grocery store chain) so we didn’t have to wait in line to buy tickets. Slick.

Fair 2015 - Visit #1: Crowds Galore

Saturday, August 29, 2015

Upon entering the fair it was visibly apparent how crowded it actually was. None of that deterred us from doing everything we wanted to do. For such large group we really did a good job negotiating getting around to all the sites/sights we wanted to see. 

Fair 2015 - Visit #1: Blue Moon Dine-In Theater

Saturday, August 29, 2015

My number 1 goal for this trip was to get the chilled bread pudding at the Blue Moon Dine-In Theater. We went there first since it was closest to the entrance. Every year Blue Moon introduces some new wonderful sweet thang. Last year it was the sweet corn ice cream and this year it was the chilled bread pudding. There were different varieties but I went with the chocolate brownie bread asked chocolate sauce, pecans, and whipped cream on top. It was fantastic.

Fair 2015 - Visit #1: The Food Building

Saturday, August 29, 2015

We next stopped at the Food Building to get Shay some cheese curds. I love cheese curds but I can never eat more than 1 or 2 pieces before I’m done-in so I never buy any on my own. There are probably about 15 pieces per order. Anyway, the line was INSANE so we headed off to check out the International Bazaar. There was  lots to see once we got there. Fortuitously, the band, The Good, The Bad, and the Funky was playing on the main stage there. They’re a great local cover band and were doing Purple Rain upon our arrival. A contingent of our group went in search of restrooms and while the rest of us waited I got a phone call from Mom. When I told here were I was she wished us a good time and told me she’s looking forward to seeing A Prairie Home Companion at the Grandstand with Dale and me next week. I can’t wait. I’m guessing it’ll be his last State Fair appearance with the show since he’s retiring from the program this year.