Friday, September 01, 2006

Minnesota's rural/urban connection

With it being the final weekend of the Minnesota State Fair, I thought I would share a link to a Slate story by one of their interns about the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

While the obviously biased and green writer had his qualms with the fair and blatant disregard for the appearance of those exhibiting livestock, he did hit on a few valid points... only a few, though.

The writer's valid points include his observations that the 4-H kids showing their prize-winning animals are there for that purpose. They avoid, for one reason or another, the bright lights and mindless attractions that dot the 320 acre grounds in Falcon Heights.These kids are grounded. Something that their suburban counterparts who rely on TIVOs and X-Box 360s are not. They come from a simpler part of Minnesota. Some even come from my old stomping grounds and I can relate to how they handle themselves at the fair. They are not in awe of the enormosity of the Twin Cities in general. They are at the fairgrounds for twelve (or more) days and this slice of Americana is their home for that time.

Another observation the intern writer stated was the supposedly large number of obese fair-goers. This one is a bit of a stretch. To wander the congested, pavement covered streets of the fairgrounds requires at least a minimal level of physical fitness. It is definitely not a place for those teetering on the brink of the quarter-ton club and, as a result, I don't recall seeing more than a handful of morbidly obese Minnesotans strolling Dan Patch Avenue or scarfing down deep-fried Twinkies.

The blending, though, of rural and city dwellers is far from a done deal. Each day I drive from the city to my small exurb home and I cross through some of the last undeveloped land on the edges of the Twin Cities. I am reminded of what the Minnesota State Fair is about as I maneuver my way around long lines of gravel trucks as they build ever-sprawling suburbs on what were corn fields only a year prior. I am reminded even more as I pass silage wagons and hay racks only a few miles further down the road.

If the trip Thursday to the State Fair hadn't bankrupted me, I would return again this weekend with a fresh set of legs to peruse the agricultural side of the fair and stand in shock at the prices of the modern farm equipment on the ever-shrinking machinery hill. Machinery that is far advanced but much the same as I drove only five years ago on the family farm down by Iowa. Hell, I'm only a few years removed from the farm. I still have a cerain attachment and understanding of why the Minnesota State Fair exists and continues to prosper.

On that note, enjoy the final long weekend before winter and get out to the fair!


Anonymous said...

I'm a transplanted Minnesotan who makes it back for the fair at least every other year. This was the year!
Some people get it, some people dont.

Beth said...

Brian, can we start a transplanted Minnesotan club on your blog?

You're such a wealth of information on the subject, don't you know.

Beth said...

By the way, I'm serious..wasn't making fun anon...I'm a transplanted Minnesotan too..

Talk about withdrawal! I miss those cheese curds..bad!!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

Hey Beth, I think it's a great idea!
-Julie, formerly known as Anon.

Beth said...

Hey, we have to just convince Brian.....

come on Brian!

Brian said...

What the hell? I could even create a sash personalized for each member. I think I could handle whipping up two customized sashes

Beth said...

Kind of like the Miss America contest?