I’m missing the get-together. The Minnesota State Fair is known for being the “Great Minnesota Get-Together”. I can’t really afford a visit this year, so I have spent considerable time thinking about past outings to this event over many years.
I first remember going to the Fair in high school. I may have gone when I was younger and just don’t remember. I went with some potential boyfriend and a group as a teen, I can’t see allowing a teen to go on her own now that I’m an adult, but my parents had raised a few kids by the time I got to be a teenager. My mom went to the fair with her girlfriends when I was in high school and I couldn’t really figure out what the draw was for her. We spent our time on rides. But I do remember her being disappointed in seeing what her favorite (WCCO) radio voice looked like in real life. Not exactly what she imagined from that handsome voice.
As a young adult I was at the Fair several years running. I worked in the International Bazaar in the KENYA KENYA booth for a few years selling my favorite handicrafts from East Africa. It was fun to have the access and see the throngs stroll by. I worked with a Muslim Kikuyu gal who wanted to go out for a beer after we got off for the day. I told her I don’t drink and thought it strange that she did. But then it slipped my mind and I brought her a ham sandwich for lunch. Oops. We both got over it.
I lived in a Christian community for a while and one of the guys there was enthralled with the ‘freak’ or side shows in the midway. He came home from seeing the ape women “Zambora” calling me Jambora. It wasn’t really endearing, but we were kids, so to speak. That experience made me aware of part of the Fair I hadn’t considered until then, and honestly I haven’t thought of much since either.
One year I lived a few blocks from the main gates. Oh, the traffic! Some boy I knew at the time took me flying over the Fair at night. I toted my camera with the macro lens and got some awesome shots of the midway lit up at night. I’m sure if I dug through my photo boxes I would find those.
At the end of one of the years I worked there I bought at hammock chair from the booth across from us. I couldn’t help myself, their spiel was so convincing. I got a deal on one that had been up the whole 10 days. That hammock chair hangs on my front porch today and is still one of the most relaxing chairs to sit in after a busy day.
I’m not one of those people that LOVES the Fair and can’t miss it! But I do like to go for a number of reasons. I remember one year going with a father and two sons to see Kirby Puckett and get an autograph. Going with different people allows you to see things at the Fair you may have missed. I like the art displays and seeing what the Grad Stand Hawkers are selling. When I was into swing dancing I went to see the competition of friends.
Nothing tops seeing through the eyes of internationals that have never before experienced such a thing. Last year I took the AFRIZO! Team to the Fair. They had their first public performance at the new Crossroads Chapel. But seeing them enjoy turkey legs and rides was much more fun! Also just experiencing the wide range of folks who attend the Fair is interesting. There is no better people watching then there.
My trip down memory lane makes up for not going this year. I wonder if I’ll ever need to go again if I can just think about the past trips.