The Cynic’s Guide To A Minnesota State Fair Visit
Going to the Minnesota State Fair is a tradition thousands of Minnesotans enjoy every year. Personally, I make a habit of going once every couple years. There's just something about trying the new foods, the festive atmosphere, the booths, and the people watching (and my inner farm boy appreciates the livestock barns and farm machinery) that draw me in. At the same time, there are just some things about the fair everyone loves to hate or that your inner cynic really loves (but you'd never admit).
Hopefully you really like the people you're going to the fair with. You're going to spend a half hour passive-aggressively dealing with the tension of being so close, yet so far away from the fair. If you're the driver, may the odds ever be in your favor, as getting into the correct lane to get to the parking spot/lot you want is like fighting your way through a distopian world. Just remind yourself, there's a deep fried Twinkie waiting for you after you successfully lose your car in the sea of vehicles surrounding the fairgrounds.
Wading Through The Crowds
One thing that is nearly inescapable about going to the Great Minnesota Get Together is fighting your way through the horde of people that always seem to be going the opposite direction you are. No matter where you are going or how much you try to outwit the masses, there's just no escaping it. Prepare to get intimate with 10 sweaty strangers all at once. They do call it the Great Minnesota Get Together for a reason, right?
Witnessing The Meadow Muffin Shuffle
As someone that grew up around farm animals, I quickly learned to always keep an eye to the ground if you aren't wearing your "s--tkickers" (i.e. barn boots). Walking through the livestock barns and watching people realize they just stepped in a poo pile is something I can't help but chuckle at. The overwhelming response from most is a look of of shock and disgust, followed by a dragging of the soiled foot on the ground to scrape off the excess "surprise". That's usually followed by everyone else checking their footing. It's OK to laugh. Really.
Peeing In A Trough
This one's for the fellas out there. After keeping yourself hydrated while walking around, nature is going to call. When it does, hopefully you aren't afraid to do your thing in front of a dozen other people without any barrier. Ladies, I know waiting in line for the bathroom is always a big complaint at crowded events, so I guess guys should just 'man up' and enjoy the shorter wait times. Shoutout to the old Metrodome bathrooms that featured this same innovative flushing metal bath tub technology.
Sweating, Even On A Cool Day
For whatever reason, even on cool and cloudy days, everyone breaks a sweat. I did on a cloudy 70 degree day. Chock it up as a workout to earn another deep fried something on a stick!
Waiting In Line
Everything has a line. It seems like there are lines to get in lines. While it might take you 20 minutes to get a bucket of cookies, that's OK. It gives you a great chance to people watch (which, let's be real, the people watching is rich at the fair) or eat/drink something from the previous booth you were at. Think of it as a convenient way to pace yourself between food items.
Putting Your Money Where Your Mouth Is
One of the biggest draws for the fair each year is the abnormal food. Sure, the classic corn dogs and cheese curds are awesome, but almost everyone feels obligated to try at least one new thing. Some of the abnormal foods are huge hits and develop cult followings. Others have you wondering why you just spent $10. Trying new foods is sort of like gambling, only worse. You might 'win' and enjoy a new food. On the other hand, you might lose and have to deal with the consequences twice. Beside the sizable portion of cash you just forked over, hopefully you don't also lose your lunch after discovering you really don't like something.