Thursday, August 25, 2011

Minnesota State Pharon

There are a number of reasons why I, a Minnesota-born and bred fabulous young woman, should love going to the Minnesota State Fair. Is there a better place in the world to see mullets and inappropriately short/tight/torn/crocheted clothes? I am certain there is not. And food? Word on the street is that I love food. And yet, despite all that glamour, I do not like the State Fair. I hear your cries now: "Blasphemy!" "Anarchy!" "Oh, the horrors!" "But Pharon, there's even FRIED BUTTER this year!" I know, I know you guys! The fried butter ALMOST got me pumped to go this year. But alas, I will do my best to avoid the whole mullet-y mess.

Not from Minnesota? Live under a rock? Okay, well, here's a brief account of what you're missing at the Minnesota State Fair. First of all, it's in St. Paul. Strike One. The traffic to get to the Fair blows. Cars full of screaming kids crawl along the highway, the rogue motorcycle gangs weave recklessly in and out of stopped traffic. It's terrifying. Once you get there, you park. And by "park" I mean "drive around for 45 minutes, pay some random resident $40 to park on his lawn for the day and then walk 6 miles back to the Fairgrounds". When you mercifully enter the gates, the stench of animal waste product punches you smack in the face. With eyes watering from holding down your breakfast, you try and find your way through the shoulder-to-sweaty-shoulder crowds. Helpful Hint: If you go with more than a few other people, one of you will get lost, and you'll have to meet up at the Fried Alligator booth. You'll try some really awesome food - mini donuts, french fries, sweet corn, cheese curds, milkshakes, deep-fried candy bars, Sweet Martha's famous chocolate chip cookies, funnel cakes, etc - and start to feel pretty good about the Fair.

Then you'll decide you're brave enough to go check out the Live Births. "Yay! Nature!" you'll think. Then you'll see a cow squirt out a gooey, disfigured baby, and return all that delicious food into the garbage cans. You might decide to slow things down a bit and check out the Horticulture building. Giant pumpkins, giant works of art created by using only seeds, heads carved out of butter (normal), educational posters. Suddenly, you're ready for a nap. But there's no time! You've got to get to the Midway!

Walking into the Midway is like walking into a homeless man's armpit. It's very smelly, and everything you touch is somehow both sticky and rusty. Are you up to date on your tetanus shots? I sure hope so! Anyway, the Midway is where all the rides and games are. You'll very quickly lose $30 trying to win a plush, dirty, Mickey Mouse. If you're "lucky", you'll win a prize, and have to lug the stupid thing around all day before eventually tossing that into the garbage can as well.

At some point, a very drunk woman in cut-off jean shorts, and a baggy tie-dyed tank top will come up to you, yelling, and ask if you have tried the pork chop on a stick yet. When you say you haven't, she gets very angry at you, and demand you go get it. Now. She'll go back to dancing in the middle of the street to the lovely vocal stylings of a Grateful Dead cover band.

By this point, you're probably ready to call it a day. Your feet hurt, your hands are still sticky despite having washed them like twenty times, and you've just about had it with all the sweating. But you've actually only been there for like an hour, so you'll feel pressured to stay because you paid nearly one month's rent to just park. Why don't you take a load off and sit down?

Where should you sit? Oh, okay, yup. Right there on the curb with everyone else. Don't worry about the gum you'll probably sit on. You're planning on burning the outfit you're wearing anyway.

After regrouping, you'll give eating another shot. The food at the Fair is THE BEST FOOD EVER. That part is true. I just hope you're okay with gaining a few (twenty) pounds, as everything is fried or slathered in butter. Just the way I like it. Anyway, the food is good. You'll drink milk at the milk booth, slide down the giant yellow slide on a piece of burlap, and maybe hang out next to one of the billions of radio shows recording live at the Fair. They engage the crowds, play fun music, and that's just really good. Maybe you'll win a t-shirt or bumper sticker. "Well this just isn't half bad!" you'll think. You're starting to forget about how dirty you are, and that stench of the barn has all but vanished. You think "I actually love this place!"

When you finally call it a day, though, it will take you 75 minutes to find your car because you can't remember where it is. Then it will be blocked in by other cars, and the residents/parking attendants will get very creative on how to move the cars around you. Turn on that a.c. as high as it goes to cool off, and you're off! For 3 blocks. Then you'll hit post-Fair traffic. One hundred hours later, you're home. When you open your wallet, though, you discover you've been robbed! Nope, you haven't, Silly Rabbit. You've just spent $150 on stupid games, food you couldn't keep down, and knick knacks you bought in a food-coma haze. You're poor. You're dirty. But you're full! And by next weekend, you'll have forgotten about all the grimy-ness of the Fair and get all mopey when it's over.

Well, I'm not falling for it this year. I'm keeping my money and waistline in tact this summer. You guys can go and have fun at the Fair. Just don't ask me to come along. I will humbly request, though, that you bring me back some Sweet Martha's cookies, mini donuts, and fried pickles. Oh, and I want to try the fried butter. And if it's not too much trouble, could you also get me a milkshake from the Dairy Barn? Oh, and don't forget the cheese curds! And maybe throw a Pronto Pup in there as well. I think that should do it. Aw man, do I love the Fair again??

Anyway, have a good weekend guys! Try and not get tetanus or food poisoning from the Fair if you go!

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