State Fair 2017

As you all know, I adore the Minnesota State Fair. This year I was able to attend three times: opening day on my own and twice with Young Adult.  Some new things this year: a thorough exploration of the West End area, Macaroni & Cheese Curds, llamas and alpacas in the very back of the horse barn.  And the traditionals as well: Hawaiian Shave ice, bunny whispering, butter heads.  After three years of lusting after them, YA and I caved this year and purchased a big set of Thin Bins, collapsible containers with color-coded lids. We also went home with some t-shirts, assorted bags and cookies.

Even though it is essentially the same parade day after day, it is one of my favorite parts of the fair. I love seeing the different marching bands, the dairy princesses and the art cars.

On reflection though, one of my favorite things about the Fair is the people watching – and the unbelievable “variety” there is in the folks of Minnesota (and Iowa/Wisconsin/Dakota visitors). Lots of different family types, from extended families in matching shirts to young families with their jam-packed strollers.  An amazing array of clothing and shoes – why would you wear bright white tennies to the fair?  Or high-heeled shoes?  Lots of shoppers (YA and I included) getting fancy scissors, wine pouches, shark teeth – this list could go on and on.

So now the fair is finished for another year and I’m already looking forward to next year. If my feet and my pocket book can handle it, maybe I’ll go four times!

Where is your favorite people-watching locale?

77 thoughts on “State Fair 2017”

  1. i love people watching at art stuff
    plays concerts museums those are my people
    but really wherever i am is my favorite people watching spot. i love faces i love other people’s idea of fashion and the way little groups all band together looking like their common view of how it ought to be should stand up and be counted.
    i got to the fair twice this year
    gave my last two tickets to daughter and sil do they could go on the last day and then they didn’t
    some sins are not easily forgiven

    oh she’s 5 weeks pregnant with my first grand baby. i think i’m supposed to be quiet until it’s bigger than a raspberry but i don’t care, i’m super excited . they got the first ultrasound yesterday. 152 heartbeats a minute and it looks just like me

    Liked by 8 people

  2. I like the slow pace of people watching in my neighborhood – my old neighborhood was good for it too (with a couple more non-English languages being spoken as folks passed there). State Fair is a great spot – hard to beat the variety you see, there. Turtle races in Nisswa is another one – fun to try and pick out the family groups, the ones entirely new to vacationing in the Nisswa/Brainerd area, the ones who are there year after year…it’s especially the awe of the little kids that’s fun to watch.

    Hoping rain clears off here soon so I can set out my yard sale stuff. Fingers crossed that there is good people watching (and profitability) in that effort…

    Liked by 2 people

  3. Rise and Shine Baboons,

    I agree with VS–the State Fair is primo people watching. Other spots: malls, Renaissance Festival, airport, music festivals, and Lake Harriet Band Shell, home of the old guy in the green plaid kilt and no shirt. The U of M is also colorful. My favorite guy stood at the end of the Washington Ave Bridge in a tinfoil pointed hat when I was in grad school.

    Liked by 3 people

    1. I always thought it was special to walk around the city lakes, enjoying the lakes and the people and their dogs. Those lakes are key to what is unique and right about Minneapolis. People can enjoy nature and each other and exercise right in the heart of town.

      Liked by 3 people

  4. The people are not different in different areas of the Fair, so the smart plan is to sit down with something good to eat or drink and just enjoy the flow of (skimpily clad) humanity flow by. For me, that would be a park bench by the Food Barn.

    The excellence of the Minnesota State Fair fascinates and confounds me. The Fair is wonderful, yet it has elements I find oppressive in other settings. Why is the Fair so enjoyable? I often think that things that attract humans aren’t very different from things that oppress us, and it is one of the mysteries of life how the particular combination of diverse elements can be beautiful or awful. Sometimes it seems there is almost no significant difference between a marriage that fails and one that soars, a recipe that works perfectly or one that disgusts the palate, a home that makes us feel edgy and one that is inexplicably comfortable and inviting.

    I don’t know why I find the Fair so much fun. I hate crowds. I hate glitz. I hate hot summer weather. And yet one year we went to the Fair four times. It’s a bloomin’ mystery.

    Liked by 4 people

    1. you hate glitz because it is people trying to be what they are not
      at the fair people let their guards down and be exactly who they are
      big bodies brought out to bask in the minnesota glory eating eating eating the mini donuts chocolate chip cookies french fries cheese on a stick chocolate malt bacon on a stick refillable coke carmel apples blooming onion cheese curds chocolate chip cookies cheese curds until next year
      i saw one guy go up and ask the vendor ” hey where did pork chip on a stick move to?”
      right over there to a bigger booth

      bobs snake show us still $2 and bob appreciates it,the car displays the signature to save the boundary waters wilderness culligan water really??? culligan water lets go see what’s new at culligan water and the lines the people waiting to spend too much money in too little a portion of that glory taste
      7 dollars for 14 cheese curds? 6 dollars for 6 deep fried olives? but if you want em get in line
      fries or cookies be prepared to age while you. get prepared to ingest 3000 or 4000 totally useless calories walking with the person cartying the monster bladder buster next to you as you laugh at the macho teen sher who just stepped on a meadow muffin in the middle of the road quickly trying to scrape off the goo while looking like he knew it all the time. little girls who get to show off cleavage in public cause moms not here and farm kids who know teats are just part of life
      the horse barn the cow barn the pig barn the sheep the chickens and bunnies and goats and the people who each match their chosen critter
      pig people would look wrong in the horse barn and sheep folk are different from bunny people

      bonsai honey bee orchid mushroom folk in the agriculture building i get my noodles in the international bazaar but next year i’m not gonna screw it up with too much hot sauce falafel,pickles art next door to the booths for energy with solar wind electric cars and bikes,
      how can you pretend to be someone you’re not when you have to choose butterfly hatching or harley davisons, quilts and baked goods or the grandstand show corn on the cob or minnesota wine
      if you sit steve you get to watch them as they drop keys up on their bellies and step in the humanitarian locomotion line en route to the next featured event
      the clydesdales are getting dressed up over here and the llama races are in the corner

      people do choose to pay good money to be spun around in a circle at 200 miles an hour being tipped upside down and sideways minutes after finishing the malt and gator on a stick . watch out where you step
      i love the fair

      Liked by 1 person

    2. Steve – I am like you – completely baffled about my love of the State Fair. I do not come from fair folk. My father hated crowds and noise. My mother isn’t fond of trying new things (especially new foods). My middle sister doesn’t really care for animals (or animal smells). My baby sister doesn’t like to wait for anything. None of my family are shoppers. I am clearly a changeling in my family!

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I was in 4-H. I adore fairs. The ND state fair isn’t much. I really liked the Iowa State fair, which I attended once. I have fair envy for all of you who can go to the MN State fair.

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Renee, then you would love to know that two of today’s pictures, the little pig and the fountain made from buckets, we’re from the 4-H building. I’m a city girl so was never in 4-H but I do love the 4-H building.

          Liked by 3 people

        2. The Iowa State Fair and the Minnesota Fair are both great–I have spent a lot of time at both. As a 15 year old 4-H re I took a demonstration to the State Fair. Blue Ribbon.

          Liked by 2 people

  5. This was almost the year the s&h missed the Fair. He’s gone every year since before he was born, including the year my sainted aunt (the one who for the first years of his life made the trip with us) died a couple weeks prior. She had given up the Fair a few years before that, but that year, it really was an effort for us and our hearts were ever not in it.

    But by golly, we went.

    So it was a bit of a blow to find out he had to be at Carleton to start training the opening day of the Fair. He’s at a point in life where he doesn’t really let you know how he feels about something, you just have to figure it out.

    So I was a little sad to think he maybe had “outgrown” the Fair and this was only a big deal to me.

    Then we found out he didn’t have to be there until the afternoon, so I suggested we do Fair Express in the morning.

    We ticked off the main things, Eco building, baby animals, exotic chickens, runaway pigs …. They hadn’t weighed the mega pumpkins yet and the crop art was less political than we expected (not so the scare crows!), and because we were in the horticulture building, something he calls “flowers I don’t care about”, I did spare him Creative Activities.

    We did not do a lot of the usual Fair fare because “training”, but I did tell him he had to have at least one cheese curd to prove he was eligible for his Minnesota grant.

    It was nice to hear him say Fair Express was better than no Fair at all.

    We do not people watch at the Fair. We go early so we can leave before the streets are solid people That is exhausting.

    Liked by 4 people

      1. I’m still in transition, Steve, so not posting regularly yet. He seems to be happy at Carleton and certainly is running well, although his assessment is “there’s always room for improvement”.

        Goodness that kid works hard.

        Liked by 4 people

  6. I observe people for a living, so sometimes I really don’t get mutch satisfaction from people watching . That said, it is fun for me to watch people at pow wows.

    Liked by 2 people

  7. Hmmm. I realized, as I tried to come up with an answer here. that I don’t really like to people watch. Although I do enjoy watching the twins play together. (Sometimes.) They’re at the age where it’s best to just let them get on with their play and not interfere unless things get violent. They are quite amusing.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. My conviction, ljb, is that twins have something the rest of us will never have and never quite understand. It is really something special to have a person in your life who is “you” only not-quite you. I think having a twin is deeply reassuring to people. They engage in life with a sense of security denied to all of us who aren’t twinned. Their world is more stable because of that other version of themselves out there.

      I hope you have many years of being able to watch your twins. You might decide that having a twin is no big deal at all. Many people have siblings, and maybe twins are just siblings. But I don’t think so.


      1. I agree, Steve – twins have a connection that regular old siblings don’t (at least most of the time). This can be good – as in right now as they adjust to a new preschool and never have to feel like they don’t know anyone since their twin is always with them and on their days home from preschool they seem totally satisfied with each other’s company and don’t ever ask to play with another child. And it can be bad (from the viewpoint of the adult), or at least challenging – as in when they inspire each other in bigger and worser acts of naughtiness.

        Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t get to watch those Twins play very often because no cable TV here. I watched last night because mlb streamed one game live on facebook so I hooked up the laptop to the tv and watched on the big screen (big compared to my laptop). It was nice to watch them, although it would have been more fun if they had won. The twins that I watch play are 4 years old and I can watch them without the tv.

        Liked by 2 people

      2. The “other” Twins have been so disappointing so long it is hard to realize that they’ve become a truly good team. Do people know that Byron Buxton, a Twins outfielder, is probably the fastest man in baseball? He just set a record for the fastest time to run the bases for an inside-the-park homerun. That’s amazing!

        Liked by 2 people

        1. Yesss, Byron is very cool to watch – he’s often in the highlights of the game that I can watch online – usually fielding, but sometimes hitting, such as that inside the park homerun. I really like the outfield this year. Byron can get to almost anything and make it look easy; the other two are also pretty good and they seem to be great friends and enjoy playing together and playing the game.


  8. I’m not very visually oriented, so I think I miss a lot. I do look at people at the fair, but I can go a long time just lost in thought without really registering what I’m seeing.

    I did notice that the teen fashion choice this year seems to be jeans with lots of horizontal slashes in the thigh area.

    Grand Avenue in St. Paul is a good people-watching street. Lots of coffee shops and college students and people walking their dogs. It’s never deserted, but not loud, always a low hum of activity.

    Liked by 1 person

      1. YA has a pair of ripped jeans, although she knows not to wear them around me. I cannot for the life of me get past how much money people are paying for clothes with rips in them. I CAN’T STAND IT!!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s interesting. Can you spot people in public that you are pretty confident you can diagnose? Or if you go to, say, a book club meeting and chat with some people there, do certain people stand out as dysfunctional in some way?

      Liked by 1 person

  9. OT- have just started watching Ken Burns’s Vietnam.

    I’m not sure I am going to make it, but I wanted to see the beginning, because I honestly don’t really understand how it started, by the time I came along, it just WAS.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. We watched the whole segment and intend to watch the rest of the series. I was wondering how many of my old friends who are Vietnam veterans are/will be watching it. Might be too much of a trigger. Find myself very emotionally engaged. That was a tough war, even for those of use who weren’t there, how must it be for those who were intimately involved – even if they had little to no knowledge of why they were there.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. I am just trying to understand that war. When it was happening, it was all framed as a fight against communism. That never made sense. Burns explanation that it was a civil war –that explains the intensity and level of violence. I don’t know that I can do the entire series, but maybe enough that I can understand a baffling war.


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