Another way to see the Minnesota State Fair

2013 MN State Fair

2013 MN State Fair

A few weeks ago, Ellen, wrote about her experience of the Minnesota State Fair.

Jody and I were not loyal fair goers until we had the children. Crystel’s birthday falls on September 4 and the State Fair soon became an activity that we incorporated into her birthday week.  You might expect that a middle-aged person and an 11-year-old girl see the State
Fair differently.  Because it is part of her birthday celebration, Crystel chooses what we see and the order in which we see it.

7-years old with his turkey leg.

7-years old with his turkey leg.

Over the years not much has changed. Aunt Amie continues to accompany us as she has done every year.

Since we often enter the fair from the west side the children’s barn is our first stop. Antonio and I skip it, using this time to get our turkey legs – regardless of the hour.

This year, Crystel stopped in the barn only long enough to snap a picture of a cow for Mama Beth, who grew up on a farm with 50 cows. The kids don’t understand the distinction between growing up on a farm and being born in a barn, so
they usually tell people the latter about their mother. . . and Jody doesn’t
correct them.

Butterfly garden at age 7

Butterfly garden at age 7

Even though Aunt Amie is a vegetarian she doesn’t scrunch up her nose at us devouring our humongous turkey legs.

Taking a right, we walk immediately to the Haunted House. I sometimes think the haunted house is the only reason we come to the fair.

Crystel has gotten big enough that she can no longer ride on Aunt Amie’s back digging her head into her shoulder blades so she can’t see what she doesn’t want to see. Now she’s progressed to walking next to Aunt Amie, though I can’t tell you what exactly happens inside the haunted house.  I am the keeper of bags, purses, and extra clothes who sits outside contentedly people-watching. What happens inside the haunted house stays inside the haunted house.

After ugly comes pretty. The butterfly garden is a must after the haunted house. Crystel’s yearly goal is to see how many butterflies’ she can get on her person.

Butterfly garden at 9-years-old. The hat is to draw more butterflies.

Butterfly garden at 9-years-old. The hat is to draw more butterflies.

This is cotton candy time for me and Antonio.

The Giant Slide is the first time that Aunt Amie and Jody get a breather. I grab a gunny sack and follow the children.

If our timing is right, there might be a dog show to see after the Giant Slide.

Nothing is better than your own bag of cotton candy.

Nothing is better than your own bag of cotton candy.

By now, we have eaten snow cones, corn dogs, deep fried cheese curds, deep fried battered vegetables, sweet corn, and Sweet Martha’s cookies. Time for the Midway and a couple of rides.

We have one last item to do before leaving the fair. That is to get Aunt Amie wet on the log chute. It’s not the State Fair if she goes home dry.

As you see we have not visited one educational building, saw not one piece of fine art, or watched any fair animals being judged. Maybe next year.

2010 State Fair

2010 State Fair

This year, I visited the State Fair like a child.

This entry was posted in Family, Friends, Humor, Raising children and tagged , , by Elizabeth di Grazia. Bookmark the permalink.

About Elizabeth di Grazia

An artist, I follow the nudge inside of me. This nudge led me to write Peace Corps stories, find the front door to the Loft, and to graduate from Hamline’s MFA program. The story that became my thesis for Hamline is woven into my book manuscript: HOUSE OF FIRE: From the Ashes, A Family, a memoir of healing and redemption. It’s a story about family. And a story about love–for my partner Jody and the son and daughter we adopted from Guatemala. Most days, I can be found working as a Human Resource Manager for a foundry in Minneapolis. When I am not at the foundry I may be volunteering as a Police Reserve Officer for Richfield, MN or kicking butt at Kor Am Tae Kwon Do.

2 thoughts on “Another way to see the Minnesota State Fair

  1. Great writing! The story reminds me of Ralph (5 yrs old) who lost us at the Maynardville fair. We eventually found him at the ghost train where he was getting free rides and telling everyone his mommy had lost him and in so doing was being given candy floss and ice creams by every concerned adult. i think he was really enjoying himself.


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