Archive for September, 2011


Locals here call it, “The Great Minnesota Get-Together”.

I call it, “The Great Minnesota Must Avoid”!

Twelve days of sweaty people jammed together, eating everything in site and grabbing up advertising freebies like they had just won the lottery!

Welcome to the Minnesota State Fair!

Some call it, a showcase of the state’s finest in agriculture, arts, industry and entertainment.

To me, it’s more like, The Home Depot, only with a large food court!

I know I’m very much in the minority on this one, but it is a minority that will not require an angioplasty the day after the fair closes!

To be “fair”, the Minnesota State Fair is the the third largest of its kind in the United States in terms of average daily attendance. Texas tops the annual attendance, but has the advantage of running twice as long as our little gathering. Although, the attendance at the Minnesota State Fair comes close to 1.8 million visitors most years.

The first Minnesota State Fair took place in 1859 and I doubt there was much to excite me way back then either!

Okay, okay, a few things have changed…

There is a large, noisy midway now that is full of overpriced carnival rides that have been assembled and taken apart probably thousands of times during the wee hours of the night!

There is the “Princess Kay of the Milky Way”. Her job, you guessed it, promote the dairy industry!

There are things carved out of butter (see above).

There are tractors!

There are snowblowers and lawn mowers!

There are hot tubs and pools!

There is a giant slide. Which is a pretty good gig for its owners with 300,000 tickets sold each fair at $2 a ride!

There is also nightly grandstand entertainment. I know, I know, I must be crazy to not want to spend an evening with Garrison Keillor under the stars!

There are animals giving birth!

There are animals in competition, which I’m told there is no wagering on!

And then there is the food!

Lots and lots and lots of food!

You see, food is a big deal at the fair! A very big deal! Pretty much any food you can think of can be found and consumed at the Minnesota State Fair.

Going to the fair is like receiving an invitation from your doctor that says, “go ahead and stuff yourself, I’ll look the other way!”

And here’s the neat thing…

As long as it can be deep fat fried, consumed on a stick and can “ring the bell” in terms of your cholesterol count, it’s probably at the fair!

That’s right, most of the food options at the fair come on a stick and most are given that “little extra” calorie boost by dunking the food in a deep fat frier for a few minutes!

Here is a sampling from which fairgoers can choose to indulge…

Pork chops on a stick.

Funnel cakes.

Cheese curds, a state fair classic!

Not to mention, mini-doughnuts. (I think the “mini” version is preferred to save room for a “deep fat-fried candy bar”!)

Or how ’bout some deep fat fried cookie dough?

For those early risers, there is a “breakfast lollipop” to satisfy those hunger pains. It is a large sausage patty dipped in corn muffin batter, deep fat fried and finally, covered in maple syrup!

For the adventurous types, there are the “chocolate covered jalapenos”.

Of course, lets not forget the good ‘ol basket of french fries, burgers, hot dogs and brats!

And for dessert…

A bucket of chocolate chip cookies!

So this weekend as my wife and daughter head off to the “Get-Together” and are fighting a crowd of 200,000 fellow, hungry Minnesotans, I’ll be home alone lounging on the couch, snacking on unhealthy food that isn’t on a stick and watching college football!

Happy Labor Day Weekend!

A "Breakfast Lollipop" to start your day!

Chocolate covered jalapenos!

The classic...cheese curds!

The Countdown

I turned 49 earlier this week.

As I read through the many birthday wishes posted on my Facebook page it became apparent my days are numbered!

As of today, that number stands at 362!

362 days until I turn the dreaded 50! Or as I like to call it, the “Big Five-Ohhhh”!

Yep, I’ll be 50 years old next year at this time!

It sort of feels like my senior year of high school all over again. Remember how you felt like you wanted to enjoy every last day of that year because once you graduated your whole world would change?

Yep, that’s me!

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not ready to fitted for a walker anytime soon (I did hit the road at 5:30 AM for a run on my birthday) but, there are some realities that one must face upon reaching that “milestone”!

Such as…

Membership in the AARP! I would imagine my recruitment will start to get pretty intense over the next few months. Oh I know, anyone can join at any age, but if you want the real “perks” you need to be in the over fifty crowd!

Next year at this time I’ll be halfway to getting my picture on a Smucker’s Jelly jar on the Today Show! Here’s hoping Willard Scott is still around if I make it to the century mark!

There are a few things I’ll still be too young for, such as…

I’ll have to wait another five years before I’m able to get a cheaper breakfast at Perkins!

I won’t be old enough quite yet to take advantage of “Seniors Only” parking at my local mall and grocery stores! Although, you might find me walking the mall before it opens with my fellow “oldies”!

I also think I’ll need to be just a bit older before I start wearing knee high black socks with my shorts! However, I might go ahead and purchase a white belt, just to have one handy!

And that brings up…

Wait a minute…

What was I writing?

Oh yeah, the whole turning 50 thing!

I promise to do crossword puzzles to keep my mind sharp!

So I am going to enjoy the next year as much as possible!

And I am going to start by spending this weekend with old college buddies. It’s the weekend for our annual reunion when we gather to toast the years gone by and rehash our “glory days” at college!

(White belts and black socks are optional!)