Here is a clip of Ann Reed singing her song, “The Fair.”
I have said this before, but I genuinely and sincerely love the Fair.
That’s the key.
When I was in my twenties I went to the State Fair once or twice. I did not like it. A big part of that was my own fault. I was at a point in my emotional growth as a person where I did not recognize and accept sincere enjoyment. I spent my time at the Fair being cool, ironic, and detached. I judged the hell out of everyone who was having fun, marking them down in my head as simple and unsophisticated, as naive dupes of marketing and Americana.
Dear everyone: I was an *idiot* in my twenties. I am sorry.
I purely love the Minnesota State Fair.
I love the vegetables and the animals, the nervous teenagers with their prize agricultural products. I love the niche-specific sales of dog treats and food. I love the handicrafts building, the knitted TARDISes and the hand-carved sailboats.
I love crop art.
I love the political crop art, the sarcastic crop art, the painfully sincere crop art. I love the In Memoriam crop art.
I love the historical agricultural machines. I love the new agricultural machines. I love the Midway and the Kidway, the carnie rides and the huckstering games. I love the honey tasting and the bee educational booth.
I love the Miracle of Life barn. I love the Old Mill Ride. I love the smell of diesel at one end of the Fair and the smell of manure at the other end of the Fair.
But what I love, more than any of this, is how tens of thousands of people, vibrant in their difference, speaking dozens of languages, from all over the state, come together for ten days to celebrate our collective lives together in this place.
I may not have a heck of a lot of national pride, but I have state pride, for sure.
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