Friday, August 26, 2011

Bittersweet On A Stick

Fairchild the Minnesota State Fair Mascot

It's time for the Great Minnesota Get Together.  The Minnesota State Fair.  We go every year, and it's always a nice farewell to summer.  The State Fair means summer is pretty much over, and fall is just around the corner.  Say good-bye to the lazy hot humid days and hello to the crisp early mornings at the bus stop.  But first one last summer-fun event!

 For a couple weeks the kids have been planning the rides they'll ride and the food they'll eat.  Everyone seems to have their favorites.  But the #1 must-have is the ice cream from the Dairy building. Or the stuffed olives on a stick. Or the corn on the cob. Or the bucket of Sweet Martha's cookies, or. . .

Fried Cheese Curds

cheese curds.  Yep, definitely the cheese curds.  That's the must have.  Although everything else mentioned above is a must have.  So, I guess we've got a few favorites.  We always do a little research before we go to see what is new at the fair, or the stuff we haven't tried yet.  I've heard good things about the bacon on a stick and it's on our list this year.  One new food we'll be trying is the Minneapple Pie--apple pie on a stick.  Since it's by the Dairy Building's must-have ice cream, it's kind of a no-brainer.  That, and I do love pie.  We're going on Monday, so we may hear about things to add to the list. 

It's a lot of walking.  Good thing, with the list of must have foods that are fried.  My mom always wears her pedometer when they go.  I'm thinking I might wear mine this year.  If I can find it.  I probably should have started my training already.  I know we walk miles and miles, but I never feel too sore the next day.  I suppose that's because it isn't marathon walking but leisurely strolling with lots of stops to look at exhibits and pick up your next fried delicacy on a stick.

The more I look at pictures, the more excited I am.  WCCO has a whole hour at the fair at 4:00 pm.  If I weren't here at work at that time, I'd be home watching it. 

There are a few people we know that are going the same day we are.  There are probably a few people we know that we'll run into unexpectedly.  It's always kind of fun to see people you know amidst the thousands of people at the fair.  I come from a very large extended family, and have run into relatives in the past.  One year we ran into the woman who delivers the newspapers in town.  Seems that when we meet other people we know, the conversation is about what we've seen and what we've eaten.  I think I should probably bring along a little notebook to keep track of all the food we digest over the course of the day.  We go every year, so I could use it over and over.  Then maybe we'd have a better idea who got to experience the fried fruit on a stick whatever year that was.

And the rides.  The kids love them.  I like it when I have to ride along with one of them.  Rides are much more fun with a kid who is excited.  Bumper boats, tilt-a-whirl, Ferris wheel, merry-go-round, "that thing that Mom and I went on last year", it'll be interesting to see which rides they pick.  They usually only get two rides each.  It's not like those tickets are free. 

The girls have been discussing all there is to see.  They like walking through the Agriculture-Horticulture building and seeing all the sights in there.  Flower arrangements, seed art, scarecrows, and the bee exhibit.  You can also get a cool, crisp apple, apple juice or apple popsicle.  (Food is a major part of the day, obviously.)  The kids enjoy walking through the barns.  Pet the biggest pig, see them milking the cows, watch them shearing sheep.  A couple years ago our daughter Maeve; then two, had the most fun in the poultry barn.  I love walking through that barn, it reminds me of my chicken loving Great Grandma Mamie.  (The summer before she died, she and I perused a chicken catalog and she would exclaim over the various breeds--how crazy some of them looked.)  I may not want to raise chickens of my own, but they're fun to look at.

The DNR building, and their big pond of native fish is always a hit.  They usually have some sort of litter sculpture that has look and find activity page to go along with it.  We sit down to watch the news live in the evening.  The Creative Activities & Annex is right up there by Machinery Hill.  I don't care much to look at tractors, and my husband doesn't care much to look at what people have knit, sewn, or crafted.  Divide and conquer.  We let the kids go with whoever they want to go with.  I used to get to go by myself, but the kids are older now and much less interested in the farm machinery than they used to be.  We go through the 4-H building and see what some talented kids are showcasing.  I go through the Fine Arts building while the rest of the family sees something on the stage at Baldwin Park, although this year I may have a few kids along with me.  By this time we're getting to the end of the day, and everyone is getting tired.  It's a good time to sit down for awhile. 

On our way out, we swing by Sweet Martha's Cookies and pick up a bucket of cookies, then we head over to all the milk you can drink for $1.00--talk about divine.  Walk back to the car, and these weary travelers head home. 


Summer is about over, but it goes out with one of the highlights of the season.  I couldn't possibly hit all of them with this blog post, there's so much to see (and eat).  We look forward to going, and at the same time regret that those slow sultry days of summer are coming to a close. 

Bittersweet on a stick, indeed.

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