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Wednesday, September 1, 2010

The Minnesota State Fair - Part 4, Ethnic Studies

The Creative Activities building had the usual assortment of tasty looking breads, pies and cakes.

And quilts, of course. And any quilt exhibit needs an Ole and Lena model. Sven was unavailable for comment.

This year, the baking section had an Ethnic Foods exhibit. No jalapenos or spring rolls in sight here. Just good Scandinavian breads. Follow the arrow to the Lefse!

And I really couldn't decide whether to file Ole and Lena's Hotdish on a Stick under Ethnic Studies or Fair Food on a Stick.

So I put it in both places.

The Minnesota State Fair - Part 3, The Food

There is always a food you will enjoy at the Fair.

Some folks go right to the Pronto Pup stand. (since 1947!)

While others hold out until they hit the French Fries.

Some foods are distinctly Minnesotan, like this Spam Burger (Hormel foods is located in Austin, Minnesota, site of the Spam Museum - well worth a stop if you are in the vicinity)

And everyone knows, Minnesota is all about hotdish!

The fair is always introducing new foods on a stick. I've had the real thing so I passed on this opportunity. (Tough as shoe leather when I had it in Cairo.)

And for desert? How about some mini-doughnuts?

The Minnesota State Fair - Part 2, The Bad News

I've only lived in Minnesota for a bit over 40 years, so I'm still regarded as a "newcomer." But I embraced the Fair from the beginning. But I have to admit that sometimes the slow pace of infrastructure improvements surprises me. A lot of money is made at the fair. Eleven dollars to get in the gate so that you can buy a small sized malt for four dollars and a half? Somebody is making some money.

So you might think they would spend a little on the basics. We always use the Park and Ride option, parking at the lot right off I-94 and Snelling about a mile from the fairgrounds. This is a nice gravel lot but it always has puddles after a summer rain. Not that the operators don't try to deal with the issue. This year there were improvements. Three planks in parallel across the water instead of the two placed there in previous years.

Once we were inside, we noticed that some of the exhibit buildings were operating in the dark.

The knife vendor in this picture was sitting instead of slicing. He told me "I don't work in the dark for anyone. Not with sharp knives!"

It turns out that this was not a recession-based cost-cutting move by fair management. A semi driver hit a power pole on Como Avenue, knocking a power line down. It landed on Spencer Johnson's lap in a shocking surprise to him!

It's always interesting to take a look at the houses that are located near the fairgrounds. Obviously, life has handed these folks some lemons and a few literally make lemonade. Others just rent out the front yard for parking.