Saturday, August 26, 2006

The Great Minnesota Get-Together!

A few days ago, Erin and I decided to go spend the afternoon at the Great Minnesota Get-Together, also known as The Minnesota State Fair! We had been talking about going for a few weeks, we clipped the schedule out of the newspaper, we had our parking spot all picked out, we knew exactly what our itinerary was, we knew what food we were going to eat, what food we were going to avoid, I even put my "fat-pants" on in preparation for all the eating that was about to occur.

That morning we woke up to rain showers which eventually turned into hail and heavy thunderstorms (and unfortunately twenty people were injured and one person killed in tornadoes in a town about 45 miles to our south). It wasn't looking like a great day for the fair! However, we had been talking about it for so long and looking forward to going so when it stopped raining in the afternoon we decided we were still going to go!

We parked exactly where we wanted to, well, when I say exactly, I mean on the street we wanted to park on, still about 8 blocks from the fair (but it was free)! We bought our tickets (which by the way, did I mention that it was thrifty Thursday, hey, I'm an airline pilot, I have to hold up our image of being thrifty....aka cheap) anyway, into the fair we went!

We started out by visiting some booths, both of our alma maters, the State Senate booth where Erin used to work, various other buildings with a bunch of crap that nobody wants to look at except the person who put it all there. We stopped at our first food booth, ate some corn on the cob and then we moved on to the AM 1500 KSTP cabin where they were broadcasting one of my favorite talk shows.

Now I know, it sounds funny that I listen to an AM talk show but what can I say, I'm becoming an old man (I am 27 already) and I get sick of hearing the same songs over and over again. My favorite radio show is called Garage Logic and aires from 2:00 PM - 5:30 PM on AM 1500 KSTP (a little plug for Joe, Rookie, and Angie). We walked up to the booth and it was like a dream come true! There they were in all their glory, Joe was outside on the porch doing an interview with some guy who was putting swords down his throat, Rookie was in the cabin keeping all the sound bytes and everything else going, and Angie was running around making sure everyone knew what was going to happen next! I've always had a thing for radio and I love to see all the action unfold before my eyes!

We watched them broadcast for about 30 minutes and then a torrential downpour started! All of the "garage logicians" were hovering under their umbrellas and trying to stay dry when Joe said, "Hey, why don't you guys stay dry and come up here on the porch." At first I thought he was kidding but then he motioned for everyone to come up "on stage" with him and before I knew it we were just feet away from the stars of the show! We stayed up there for about 10 minutes while they did the news and everyone up there made their radio debut at the end of the weather after they read the records for the day when we all said, "More proof of global warming!"

I wanted to stay all afternoon but Erin wanted to keep moving because there was a lot of fair left to see! We stopped by some of the animal barns and saw horses, cows, sheep, pigs, etc. but I think the most interesting animal to watch at the fair, is the fair-go-er! There are so many interesting people walking around! You get to see Minnesota's good, bad, and ugly! From mullets to people walking around in frog costumes, you'll always see something new at the fair!

Last on our itinerary was a K-9 demonstration by the St Paul Police Department that I've always loved to watch. We started making our way over to the Pet Center where the demo was to take place but stopped in a different building along the way. We were looking around when all of a sudden, the building became jammed full of people! We looked outside to see black skies and heavy rain! It's amazing to see how quickly the streets at the fair can empty when it starts to rain.

This wasn't good, the show starts in 20 minutes and we were stuck inside at the Norwegian Festival with at least a 10 minute walk to the Pet Center! As desperately as I wanted to just make a run for it, we would have been drier had we jumped in one of the hot tubs we had seen earlier. Eventually the rain slowed down and we hustled our way up to the K-9 demo. Erin's umbrella broke in the wind and we were walking through ankle deep water but eventually we arrived, albeit 10 minutes late, and we got to see the last half of the K-9 demo. Afterwards we talked to one of the officers and learned more about the dogs and even bought a few shirts to help support the St Paul Police K-9 Foundation.

It was now time to leave the fair and of course, now the sun started to come out, but we had our "fair" share of fun and were ready to go home! We bought some (well okay, a pail) of cookies for the road and off we went! It was a fun-filled day am I'm glad we went but I'm kind of glad it's only once a year! Unfortunately the State Fair means the end of summer and the start of a new season but next year will come around soon enough and we'll be back for more! Until then, blue skies and tail-winds!