"Watch your step. All the way to the back now. Shuttles run until midnight. Remember this is the only ride back to your car besides a squad car and I guarantee that'll cost you more than a ticket to the Fair. I know we have a lot of Scandinavians on board but I need you to count out loud, from the back." Over cheery Rat Pack jazz our driver entertains us. "When you are trying to find your bus back to the parking lot look for the signs on a stick. You want the St. Rose of Lima and Roseville High School sign on a stick. Have you heard the one about Ole going ice fishing?"
And so begins and ends most every day we spend at the Minnesota State Fair. We make friends with our neighbors, chatting about the big boar and admiring the little girl in front of us with the sparkly Fair Hair updo. "Last year she wore a bag over her head to sleep so she could wear her Fair Hair to school the next day," the brother tells us. Pink-haired glitter girl smiles and giggles.
Someone up front is singing along with Sammy Davis Junior and our driver is still doing his shtick. "Next stop, Grand Casino." We all laugh.
The shuttle picks us up, the shuttle drops us off, and in between we gaze and graze.