Wednesday, August 31, 2011


Everything on a stick is shtick at the Minnesota State Fair. The put-it-on-a-stick rage started in the 1980s when someone observed that a variety of foods were positioned on a short wooden stick to make it easier for people to consume several at one time. Since then more and more items have been shoved onto a stick. Pickles, cheese, pie, casserole, fried candy bars, breakfast balls, scotch eggs, and the list continues. Minnesotans tend to have oddly dry humor, probably developed during the cold months of winter.

Returned to the Minnesota State Fair on Tuesday, August 30th. Volunteered with a nonprofit. Arrived early since my shift began at 8:45am. Helped until 1pm. Much more pleasant experience than during the weekend. Fewer peole made the lines shorter. The weather was cloudy and cool with intermittent light precipitation. I am not sweet enough to melt in the rain and I forgot my jacket. Damply toured the Grandstand, Heritage Square and the Hippodrome. Nice to see lots of people celebrating the end of Ramadan at the fair.

Military Appreciation Day brought a lot of active duty, veterans and their family and friends to the fair. I currently have two cousins in the “sand-box,” a nephew-in-law who will be returning to that area soon, and another nephew who has recently come back from a hot spot. Lots of vets in my family, my dad served, and my uncle died in Vietnam. We can trace our military involvement to at least the Civil War. I visited the Lost Heroes Art Quilt in the lower level of the Grandstand. It made me cry. War is such a waste.

The State Fair daily program guide should include a musical genre behind the names of performers. I have no idea what type of music the Fairlanes, Gallivanters or Big Tree Bonsai perform. Ten perky folks had a lot of fun with band tunes ala Brass Messengers. The smooth jazzy sound of the Barbary Coast Dixieland Show Band soothed my mood. Three year old Jacob stole the show of Chuck Thiel & The Jolly Rambler’s peppy polka. Sad to have missed Wally Pikal but I was volunteering while he concurrently played multiple instruments.

Interesting to sit, close your eyes and listen. I sat on a granite bench outside the Horticulture Building and simultaneously heard polka from the International Bazaar, acapella singing from the Bandshell, and faint rock-n-roll from a radio station. Laughter, chatter, kids screaming/crying, and cash registers clanging like a bell, as the cash drawer slams shut. No need to bring along music when a cacophony of sound is available at the fair.

Zen Garden would be a terrific addition to the Minnesota State Fair. Have a space that is soundproofed, cool in temperature, and lower light level. Relaxing harp music would play in the background as a light scent of flowers waifs through the air. People can sit on carpets, pillows or lounge on hammocks. Silence would be required. No talking, just resting. Pay for a half an hour to relax before returning to the pell-mell of the fair. Check your shoes at the door, and enter peace.

Mmm, sounds good to me.
© 2011

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