We meet at all these old familiar places. These church halls and bunny barns and corn roast lines are second homes to us during the twelve most perfectly magical days of our Minnesota year. We jostle for position in line and wait patiently for egg coffee and bacon-wrapped batter-fried olives. We ooh and ahh over large pigs, pop rock waffles, and the auto-chopper demo guy in Creative Activities. We share sticker shock ($9 for fried kale?!) then dance with abandon when the polka band plays at the Leinie Stage.
2015 is the year of unique-flavored beers, birdless barns, and giant inflatable hot sauce toys. This is the year my Ginger Citrus Pinchies (cookies named for our beloved Orson, a.k.a. Pinchy) won a Blue Ribbon and SPAM burgers returned to the Fairgrounds. This is the year my favorite State Fair Park-n-Ride dog Elvis turned 13, and he's still showing up to great us as we stumble out of the buses and head for home.
This is the year that while the 100th birthday of Ye Old Mill (did they call it Ye Young Mill in 1915?) nudged us to celebrate longevity and tradition, the Black Lives Matter protest reminded us that we are flawed. In Minnesota we rattle along, honoring the best of our past and progressing toward better. That's what the State Fair is all about.
Only eight days left. Time to batten down the Ibuprofen.