Yesterday's Fair was like a collage with no focus. You know those days when you just let Fate decide for you? We began with a gig at the Renewing the Countryside in the Eco Building. My friend L volunteered with me last year when we appeared in the parade (a.k.a. the Death March) as kohlrabi and chicken and had such a great time that she agreed to work the booth this year. This year we modeled as a beet and an artichoke. L and I convinced Fair Goers to pose for photos as their favorite vegetables, and passed out samples of the tasty California Quinoa Salad that Whole Foods Chef Adam prepared for the crowds.
After our shift we walked into the hot sun, met up with friends, and wandered throughout the Fair. Together we sweated, nibbled at crepes, tossed back some Beergaritas, snacked on cheese curds, and lost a teenager (she was found later in the bunny barn having a great time with her cousin, a 4-her and Blue Ribbon winner). All in all, a perfect 12 hours.
Yesterday was also SPAM day. My SPAMdinavian Små Paj entry was rejected: no SPAMtastic ribbons or loot! Well, except for the super cool SPAM swag each participant received. More on that experience in a later post...
On the shuttle ride back home I listened to the couple behind me talking about their day. "I am exhausted. My feet hurt." The woman paused then joked, "My dawgs are tired!" Her companion agreed, "Me too. This is one of my favorite things about the Fair. I love how exhausted I feel afterwards. It feels like I saw everything there was to see. I did everything there was to do."
It is true. We Minnesotans are proud of our stoicisms, and there is a hardy dose of that in our State Fair. I take pride in the blisters I accumulate (I call it Fair Foot) and track my Band-aid consumption like Marjorie Johnson counts her Blue Ribbons. I down four Ibuprofen in a single swallow. Then I ice my back, rehydrate with plenty of water, get a good night's sleep, and head back out again the next day.
We shuffled out of the bus at the High School. T was on his way to pick me up, so I waited as I always do next to Elvis, the parking guy's dog. Elvis is as much part of my Fair experience as Dairy Princess Busts of Butter or arguments about whether fried pickles are better filled with cream cheese or without. We sat together, Elvis and me, in the crispy grass, and enjoyed the beauty of the moment, like a collage coming into focus.