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My first visit to the Minnesota State Fair was on opening day and I went with my friend MaryAnn.

Right away I got a deep fried Twinkie.  I can’t even tell you what a delectable treat it was.  Then we walked the length of the fairgrounds so MaryAnn could get some deep fried pickles.  She shared one with me and once again my taste buds rejoiced in the gifts I granted them.  Also on the food list was the most juicy turkey sandwich you can imagine.  Then MaryAnn treated us to an after dinner libation while we sat on a bench and watched (and commented on) the people strolling by.

I have to tell you though, we did something I never imagined we’d do.  While cruising the midway we saw a brand new attraction.  A fun house.  You may think, “what’s so great about a fun house?”  This thing was like nothing I’ve seen at the fair, ever.  It wasn’t a scary haunted house.  It wasn’t a walk through a darkened semi trailer.  It was a fun house!

It’s called New York New York. I suppose that’s a play on the Vegas casino or something. The Minnesota State Fair hasn’t seen the likes of this in ages.

There were tricky stairs, back-and-forth-moving paths, hangy tubes to navigate through, spinny tubes to squeeze through and rolly paths.  MaryAnn led the way and got to experience all of the challenges before me.

MaryAnn, you should be able to navigate the plank-and-rope bridge – just like on Gilligan’s Isle.

There were those up-and-down platforms, like in the final scene of Grease where Sandy and Danny fell in love for good at the graduation scene.   MaryAnn wanted to sing the song You’re the One That I Want with me, but I had to draw the line somewhere.

I didn’t want to dance or sing in this fun house. MaryAnn was very disappointed.

The grand finale of this fun house was the tubular, spiral slide.  There was the option of taking some stairs down three flights, but MaryAnn and I both agreed we’d take the slide.  I went first this time…

Screaming before I even went down. What’s with the curly goat-tongue thing I’m doing?

Two old ladies at the Minnesota State Fair, acting like they were teenagers again.  How much fun can life get?

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Today is the first day of the 2013 Minnesota State Fair. If you are from Minnesota and didn’t know that you’re either living in a cave or you don’t care about the fair at all.  If you live in a cave you probably won’t benefit from this post anyway, so carry on with that cave stuff you do.  If you fall into the latter category, not caring about the fair at all, well I just pity you because obviously you don’t get it. 

You may say you don’t like the crowds. It’s true, there are lots of people at the fair. How can all of these people love the fair and you don’t? There’s got to be something wrong with you.

This is an optical illusion. There is actually space between all of these people. Walking with, through, and even against the mob is quite possible.

Maybe you don’t want to see the midway because you don’t like going on rides.  What’s with that?!  You don’t have to ride the rides to take in the excitement.  The lights alone will give you a thrill.

Whee!

Are you afraid you won’t get a healthy, balanced meal at the fair? So what! You eat healthy fifty weeks out of the year; I think a little indulgence at the fair won’t hurt you. Besides, if you live in Minnesota you need to start packing on that winter fat for those sub-zero days. Yes, they’re coming, and will be here before you know it. Here, have something on a stick.

Always Pronto Pups. Not corn dogs. Not Poncho Dogs. Pronto Pups.

Well, if you still don’t want to come to the fair I won’t force you, but you’ll be missing out on the highlight of the summer. I’m going and I’m going to have a ball. It’s Minnesota summer’s last hurrah and I wouldn’t miss it for the world.

 

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Guess what?  Today is the last day of the Minnesota State Fair.  The art, crafts, food, and animals have  been judged.  The performers have performed, the rides have given thrills and everything-on-a-stick has been eaten.  After today the fairgrounds buildings will be closed and the thousands of people that crowded the streets will have vanished back to their lives outside those sacred three hundred square acres.

Images of the fair will linger in my mind for weeks to come.  Who could forget canoeing raccoons?

And what could be more nostalgic than an old-fashioned side-show? “They’re all alive on the inside!” The headless woman, the human blockhead who hammers nails into his head, the woman who, before your very eyes, turns into an 800-pound gorilla!  The best  part of the side-show is the ballyhoo outside the tent, giving us a free taste of what we can see inside.

The people watching at the fair is phenomenal too.   Sometimes you see people you knew from years ago.  Sometimes you see people who look just like Rod Stewart.  Hey, maybe that really is Rod Stewart!

And speaking of music, the state fair is the best place to go if you want to hear some old-time cowboy music and to watch the ghouls dance.

The Cactus Blossoms

Freddy, Scary Clown, Elvis and Michael Jackson dancing at the Haunted House. The Burger King is dancing with the monsters and the dead, as he is about the scariest creature there is.

What would the Minnesota State Fair be without putt-putt farm equipment and pirates?

Captain Jack Sparrow

September brings the beginning of autumn, the beginning of a new school year, and for my nephew Fojo, the beginning of adulthood. (Happy Birthday Fojo!) The sun will set on the Minnesota State Fair today, bringing to us a new season and 365 days to anticipate next year’s fair.

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I’m distracted.

Why?  Because in two days it begins.

Yep, in two days the Great Minnesota Get Together begins.  Twelve days of livestock, food, games of skill, food, people watching, food, haunted houses, food, spinny rides, food, and of course food.  I’ll be spending a few days at the Minnesota State Fair indulging in all it has to offer.  My first visit will be Friday, and I’ll be armed with my camera, packin’ on the winter fat, and reveling in all the chills, sights, sounds, smells, and tastes the fair can dish out.

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