Tuesday, September 6, 2011

State Fair, Part Three

Yesterday, Labor Day, dawned bright but very chilly. (It’s still chilly this morning.) As I sat down at my computer around seven that morning a small flock of geese, honking loudly, flew by our front window. Could they be flocking up already for their trip south? It was almost as if Mother Nature looked at the calendar and turned off summer and began to tune up fall. The chilly weather won’t last, of course, there are yet more warm days to come. But Monday (and today) was definitely a harbinger.

Tanya, Ann and I went to the State Fair last Friday. I love our Fair, there is a huge variety of things to see and lots of delicious food to eat. Parking is difficult unless you go very early in the morning, and we didn’t. We drove to the parking lot of Dunwoody College in Minneapolis and took a bus that went directly to the fairgrounds in Saint Paul. It cost five dollars each, round trip. Buses come from all over the Twin Cities to a big parking lot marked with banners for each destination. Each one runs about every fifteen minutes all day long. The ride is swift and the buses are air conditioned.

We went first to the sheep and poultry barn for a look at the exotic chickens, the guinea hens, the ducks and geese and turkeys. I don’t know why I love chickens, but I do. Ann and Tanya were very patient with me, even pointing out the beautiful markings and strange feather topknots on some of them.

We came out of the barn, ate a few things (the Australian potatoes were fabulous!), then went off to the Miracle of Birth barn to watch baby chicks hatch and watch some video of a cow having a calf. A very pregnant cow was mildly startled when several veterinary students were allowed to check the progress of her labor, but when they determined she was several hours from giving birth, we moved on to the piglets. Pigs have enormous litters, averaging a dozen at a time. Piglets are adorable - and so are baby goats, which we stopped to pet before leaving.

Then we went to the Arts and Crafts Building to look at the needlework and quilts. We saw a lacey shawl knit of wool so fine it seemed as if it would tear if you looked too hard at it. We sat awhile and watched a woman working a spinning wheel. The way she turned rovings into yarn so smoothly and seemingly effortlessly was amazing. She could even talk to us while she worked – I have tried a drop spindle and I know it’s nowhere as easy as she made it look. We looked at the canned goods, pies and cookies, some already ornamented with blue, red, green, white and yellow ribbons.

Ann was determined to go through the Haunted House so Tanya and I walked her over there and sat on a bench outside listening to the faint screams of the people inside who find it entertaining to be frightened half to death. Ann came out smiling, so I guess she’s one of them.

We ate some more. I especially liked the waffle finger coated with dark chocolate, covered in whipped cream and sprinkled with chopped nuts. On a stick, of course; our fair is famous for serving food on sticks. We went to the Horticulture Building with its displays of the fruits, flowers, and vegetables grown in our state. I bought a set of inexpensive steak knives – I buy a new set every few years. They don’t stay sharp, despite the claims of the hucksters, but neither do the expensive knives.

Outside the Horticulture Building was a stand selling fresh fruit. Not only not on a stick, it wasn't deep fried or covered with chocolate. We ate some more then went to the Bazaar, where crafts from all over the world are sold. I bought a belly bag made in Mexico; I want to wear it golfing to hold extra balls, some tees and my ball markers. And I'll take it grocery shopping, too – it’s annoying to be fumbling with a purse.

We were getting footsore at this point, and so didn’t go up the Midway, and didn’t make it to Heritage Square, where artisans show off their skills in old-fashioned crafts like blacksmithing and dyeing.

We did go to Aunt Martha’s Cookie emporium, bought a plastic bucket full of still-warm chocolate chip cookies and carried it to the Moo Booth, where you can buy a cup of fresh, cold milk for a dollar. We ate cookies and drank milk – you can get as many free refills of milk as you like – to our heart’s content.

Then we went to the coliseum to watch young people on paint horses compete in barrel racing, riding, and other sports. It was great to sit down.

Then, replete, we walked back to the big parking lot, found the banner marked Dunwoody, and started for home.


Carol S said...

What a wonderful way to spend a day! I could smell the barns, hear the screams from the haunted house, and look enviously at the ribbons on the pickle jars. Thanks for sharing.
Entries are due this coming weekend for our Okla. State Fair which starts the 15th. Our mornings are finally cool. We went from the 100's to the 80's in just one day here, Monday.

Betty Hechtman said...

Thanks for sharing your day at the fair. It almost felt like I was there with you. I wish I had been, it sounded great.

I tried spinning at the Knit and Crochet Show in Minneapolis. I loved it! Even though I was nervous about doing it wrong, it was so soothing - like a brain vacation.

Linda O. Johnston said...

Visiting the animals is always the most enjoyable part of attending a fair to me, Monica--poultry, horses, pigs, cows, or whatever! But you already know I'm obsessed with animals.