Substantial Fare

The Minnesota State Fair. What an occasion. Ranking right up there with the Twins home opener and the fishing opener, Minnesotans will take days off of work, hit numerous ATMs and drool in anticipation on the way to the feast. Exactly a year ago, a security guard at my office shipped in on assignment from St. Louis asked me about the Great Minnesota Get-Together. I was almost disgusted to tell him where to find the gates that house the stench of dung, spilled beer and never-hardening cheese. But as a portly man with a southern drawl, I knew he’d probably enjoy some aspects that don the fairgrounds every year. I advised him to stay away from any barbecue joints if he doens’t already know to refrain. Afterall, most southernfolk know not to touch any brisket cooked north of the Mason Dixon line. And to be honest, I advised him to stay away all together, and I’m glad I did. I didn’t want to be acquitted for being an accomplice to the man’s death after 2 cheese curds, fried everything on a stick, a jug of grease pop, and numerous other heart-stopping foods.

Several people tout people watching as a reasonable alternative to scarfing heart-attacks-on-sticks(Jason DeRusha’s favorite is the Midway, but we can’t blame him, he has to be there). Perhaps they are also trying to avoid serving time for contributing to death by grease. Either way, I think it’s outrageous that someone would want to watch pounds of blubber wiggle from one greasy yellow-and-white-striped kiosk on wheels to the next. Of course observers could be interested in oggling the trimmer bunch, but trimmer at the fair usually means young. Most people want to avoid being called a pedophile. Collecting free stuff is always a rather acceptable alternative, however (although it’s very cheap stuff).

Either way you slice it, going to the fair isn’t worth the money you dish out for the piece of paper they rip at the gate. You come home with a layer of dust, manure and grease on your body that won’t wash off for days. So, fair readers, I advise you, just as I did with Mr. St. Louis, keep your distance. The State Fair can ruin spirits, crush wills and destroy families. But in the mean time, I’m going to go get my spaghetti and meatballs on a stick. There’s really nothing quite like it.

11 Comments so far

  1. Heather K (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 2:19 pm

    You are 100% correct: it’s stinky and expensive and greasy and all of that. But I just can’t help it – I like the Fair.


  2. Justin (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 3:07 pm

    You’ve just gotta go! I might stay away next year, but we’ll see. The thoughts of all the good parts may drown out the bad parts once again. I ate so much this year I felt like emptying out the way it came in. funny thing was, when I woke up I was STARVING. I’m guessing it’s cause there is no nutrition in that food! Any nutrition experts to comment on that one?


  3. Dave Dash (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 5:54 pm

    I think it’s common to fill up on junk foods and wake up feeling empty. I’m not by any means a nutrition expert, but I do eat, and one thing I notice is if I’m stuffed when I sleep I sometimes feel famished.

    Your body has a lower metabolism too and stores calories – also… empty calories don’t do anything to help you feel full.

    Anyway.. I’m usually anti-FAIR, but this year I worked up the nerve… we’ll see how tomorrow goes. Deep Fried Oreos… here I come.


  4. Erica (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 7:43 pm

    I’m ill just thinking about it. But it could have something to do with the sampler platter I just had at Champp’s.


  5. Urgewyrm (unregistered) on August 31st, 2006 @ 10:59 pm

    As a new resident of our fair city, Sunday was my first experience with the State Fair. It was smelly, crowded, hot and generally rednecky. Never has such a collection of mutants and inbreds been in a major metropolitan city before.

    I had fried dough. Not on a stick. It was awesome.


  6. Erica (unregistered) on September 1st, 2006 @ 9:15 am

    Elephant ears are my personal favorite. If I were to eat one thing at the Fair, it would be an elephant ear. Waaaay better than funnel cakes.


  7. Bill (unregistered) on September 1st, 2006 @ 3:59 pm

    Obviously, to each their own. To me the fair is about more than just eating greasy food, and I saw lots of skinny, older people there yesterday (it was Senior day so…)

    YMMV and obviously does.


  8. Urgewyrm (unregistered) on September 1st, 2006 @ 4:02 pm

    I had never heard them called Elephant Ears before the State Fair. It’s always been ‘fried dough’. Such a New England thing.

    And yes, they are so much better than funnel cakes.


  9. Erica (unregistered) on September 1st, 2006 @ 4:31 pm

    In Michigan, the elephant ears are much more popular. They’re a lot harder to come by around here.

    I think only once have I ever had a funnel cake, only because I couldn’t find an elephant ear. And I couldn’t quite put my finger on how they were different, but someone finally pointed it out to me. Elephant ear = dough. Funnel cake = batter.

    I could go on about the elephant ears.


  10. friedcityboyonastick (unregistered) on September 2nd, 2006 @ 1:07 pm

    Why do I go to the state fair? Good (as in taste, not good for you) food. People watching & free crap. This year I won a video ipod and four years ago a truck, maybe I’m just lucky! To avoid the rednecks & freaks take a day off of work and go during the day, but what fun is that.


  11. Urgewyrm (unregistered) on September 2nd, 2006 @ 4:45 pm

    I’ve decided to buy a fryolator to make my own fried dough so I can just skip the Fair next year.

    Erica, I think you nailed it with the Dough vs Cake thing other than being from New England makes the dough inherently superior to being with.

    You’re more than welcome to come over for fried dough when I get the fryolator, although I won’t be responsible for any arterial hardening or MIs that occur.



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