Nathan's column: Too much fairNot long ago, and on this very page, there was an editorial about the value of the Dakota County Fair.
By: Nathan Hansen, Rosemount Town Pages
Not long ago, and on this very page, there was an editorial about the value of the Dakota County Fair.
The fair celebrates everything that makes Dakota County great, the editorial argued. It brings a widespread community together. There are funnel cakes.
I don’t think that last point was actually in the editorial, but if we’re all honest, there’s really no better reason than funnel cakes to go to a county fair.
OK, maybe mini donuts. But that’s about it.
In theory, that should all apply to the Minnesota State Fair, which will have started its 2012 run by the time these words reach most readers. The State Fair is like a county fair turned up to 11, then turned up about four or five notches more. It’s bigger. It’s longer. There are way more people who have made questionable tattoo choices. So, if a county fair is good, the State Fair should be great, right?
For some people, it is. I have a co-worker who takes vacation each year to work at the fair. There are people in my family who wouldn’t miss it. Who might, in fact, visit multiple times.
I am not one of those people.
I used to go to the fair every year, almost always on family outings. We would pile into the car, find a place to park in my mom’s acceptable parking radius, loosely defined as the seven-county metropolitan area, then walk to the fair. I may be misremembering this, but I swear there were years the walk to the fair itself was a multi-day excursion involving makeshift campsites on the Hamline University campus.
There are things to recommend the fair, I suppose. If you want funnel cake, there’s probably no better place in Minnesota. This year’s new fair food offerings even include a red velvet variety that was almost enough to make me reconsider my long-held anti-fair position.
There are plenty of other new food offerings, because along with livestock and politically motivated seed art (honestly, the first picture that came up when I searched for Minnesota State Fair seed art was a likeness of Dick Cheney that bore the title “The Root of Evil.” Seed artists have opinions, too.) unhealthy food is what defines the State Fair. Depending on your point of view, that is either exhilarating or terrifying.
This year’s offerings include a scone with sausage gravy, spaghetti sticks, which appear to be pasta baked into a breadstick, and something called Ragin’ Ankles, which, honestly, I have no idea. Fairgoers can snack on nachos on a stick, bacon-flavored ice cream and fresh salads.
Wait, what? Good luck with that, pal. About the closest most fairgoers get to healthy eating is stopping at the milk booth for something to go with their cookies.
It’s all a bit much, but that’s the way it is with the State Fair. Some people like everything turned way, way up. I’ll stick with the low-volume county fair, thank you very much.
Now I just need to find somewhere to get a funnel cake.