Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Minnesota State Fair, Counting the days!

I am not a Minnesota State Fair fair-goer. After all, I was probably 16 before I even knew the Midway existed. My father took us to the fair every summer when I was growing up. It was not an annual summer tradition we looked forward to. He would pile all 6 of us into to the family station wagon at 6:00 am. My mother never joined us for these adventures. It took an exhausting amount of time to find the right parking spot, something not too far and not to expensive. We headed to Machinery Hill. Until I was much older this is what I thought the fair was, Machinery Hill. My father, who did in fact have farm property he was responsible for in Iowa and North Dakota surveyed the combines, the tractors, the silos, acting like he might make a purchase. Maybe he did, I don't really know. We would grow impatient and eventually he would take us to get a foot long hot dog which we thought was simply fantastic.  By 10 am we were back home, having never seen the dairy building,  the home economics building, a single animal, the giant slide, the haunted house, or any other part of the Minnesota State Fair. I didn't know local t.v. stations broadcasted from the fair, I didn't know there was a Midway, cheese curds snow cones, lemonade, fried donuts or anything on a stick for that matter. 

Tina takes her nephew Chase to the fair every year, going on 8 years or so now. They have a tradition that he looks forward to that involves a coin jar that sit on our dresser. All year long we toss coins into the jar. Every time Chase visits he checks the jar, noting how full it has become. When opening day at the fair arrives he and Tina take the coin jar to the bank and have the coins counted and exchanged for bills. This is their fair fund, the money they can spend that day at the fair. Chase doesn't know, but on occasion I go to the bank and get $20 worth of coins to dump in the jar, just so he can see the level of coins grow bigger in the jar. I am not sure what he likes more, turning in the coins or actually spending the day at the fair. I never go, I am not a fair-goer. They spend ample time at the giant slide, they eat their way through the day, and go on some crazy water ride at the very end of the day. They come home spent, with just enough energy to tell me exactly how much money was in the jar and describe the expression on the bank tellers face when he or she asks what they are up to with all that change. Chase describes every minute of the day in remarkable detail. They have a ball.

I am going to go to the fair this year and I am counting the days until the opening day, hoping to turn those bad memories of Machinery Hill into new memories. I have two stops to make during my highly anticipated day at the fair. The yellow and red french fry booths, well they serve gluten free french fries. I am going to eat so many french fries that I will probably get sick. I'll bring my own ketchup, just to be sure and make a day of it, eating fries in between my visits to the bee booth in the agricultural building, yes apparently there is an agricultural building at the fair. I imagine it might be near Machinery Hill. The Minnesota Hobby Beekeepers Association hosts an area in the building where bee lovers can see inside a bee hive, learn about the honey bee, watch honey extraction and even see what one can do with the wax. I can't wait. I can't wait for the fries or the bees and if all goes well, I expect to become a fair-goer. Who knows, 12 days of the great american summer event,  I just might go more than once to make up for lost time.


Trish said...

Hi! I googled "gluten free MN state fair food" and your blog came up. :-) Do you know of a list of gluten free foods, or vendors at the State Fair? This will be my first year doing gluten free at the fair. I will miss eating cheese curds!

sweetpea said...

Hi Trish, I have seen a list in previous years but the 2009 list is not out yet. Check
which is the Minnesota Northland Celiac support group website. Go to the calendar of events and scroll down to MN State Fair and click on the link, eventually they will have a list. They will also have a booth at the fair with a list you can pick up. I have not been to the fair since being diagnosed myself and will surely miss the cheese curds!!!!!

Roxy said...

hi Trish - I'm a celiac also. I love the State Fair - the fries are excellent! So is the corn on the cob - just butter and salt after it has been roasted! We are going Friday - my celiac dad, mom, celiac daughter (she is 3 and thinks the Fair is all about the slide and animals)and my hubby. OH one of the beer stops has Redbridge if you would like a nice cold beer. I hope the Fair is really fun for you!

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