Friday night, as I mentioned, Lauren and I went to the Great Minnesota Get-Together. For those of you South Dakotans who have only experienced the South Dakota State Fair, it’s much, much different. At least ten times bigger with way more attractions. Unless you love looking at farm equipment, the SD State Fair is a snooze fest. This is the fifth time I’ve been to the MN State Fair. In 2003, I went with a mismatched crowd from Valleyfair and had an amazing time. It was my first post-21 experience and Travis bought me over $100 in overpriced beer to celebrate.
We went to a free Charlie Daniels Band concert rather intoxicated. Charlie went to slow things down with a hymnal, and Travis and I hooted and hollered over the hushed crowd. Some man in front of us turned around and asked “You guys want me to punch you in the face now or after the show?” I replied, “Well, after the show I guess. That would hurt to sit here with a punched face.”
In 2005, I took a day off at Valleyfair to take… ugh… Igor and Amanda to the fair. Worst. Day. Ever. Those two bitched and complained about everything all day. Igor complained about it being too hot and too expensive (which it was), and Amanda complained about Igor having to be there with us. Note that I haven’t spoken to either of them in two years.
In 2006, Liz asked me to go to the fair with her so we could see her high school friend in the rodeo. I’ve never seen anyone so excited! Liz flipped out when the big old bull hopped through a ring of fire. Watching her react was far more entertaining than the rodeo itself. Here she is long after the rodeo had ended, still trying to get a closer look at the horses.
Last year, I went back to the fair on a date with a girl named Jamie. Things were going so-so until we ran across a booth that was airing the Twins game and I saw Scott Baker had a perfect game going to the ninth. When the Royals broke up his bid for history with a walk and single, my night was ruined. Absolutely ruined. Jamie wanted to continue going on rides and stuff, but I couldn’t manage.
That night, while watching the game for all of ten minutes, I saw Lauren for the first time and didn’t even know it! Lauren had been at that game and was shown on TV applauding Baker after his perfect game was broken up. We discovered this a few months ago when Fox Sports replayed that game. I never saw Jamie again and three short months later, I finally met that cutie from TV!
And so in 2008, it seems only fitting that Lauren and I take in a night at the State Fair, which we did on Friday. Lauren went earlier in the day to meet up with Jaime Berglund-Huseby, who works at the DFL booth. I went to the fair directly after work, managing my way on the metro bus system. On my ride there, I was sitting next to a group of underage hippie kids who were clearly drunk. One larger fellow sat next to me and rubbed my back. “You my boy!” he shouted, gin flowing from his breath. He grabbed and shook me a little. “This guy’s good shit! You da man!” I couldn’t help but think that this was Jason’s long-lost half-brother or something. He was with lots of girls. “Jolly, stop touching that man,” they said. Apparently his name is Jolly because he starts drinking and has a fun time touching people.
At the fair, Lauren had her cheese curds and I tried a footlong walleye sandwich. We walked through a few booths, checked out some of the exhibits, and finished the night with a terrifying ride on the slow-moving gondolas that take you 20 feet off the ground, from one side of the fair to the other. I just couldn’t stop talking to Lauren about how I couldn’t believe those little cars could support us! And how painful it would be if our car snapped off the cable and we landed on people below, shattering our necks.
On the way home, the bus dropped us off downtown. Rather than waiting for a connecting bus, I declared it a good idea to walk home two miles. Downtown Minneapolis was well-protected with a barrage of cops here for the Republican National Convention, but the further we got out of downtown and closer we got to that gray area between downtown and uptown, the uglier it got. We hurried down the sidewalk to avoid a gang fight that was quickly escalating, only to come across what appeared to be a dead woman on the sidewalk. She certainly wasn’t breathing or moving… I thought about calling the cops, but there were other people in the area and I figured someone had already done so. I hope so!
Well, we made it home safely anyway, and with lots of exercise.
Now South Dakota State Fair memories, there’s a whole different article. Back in the day it was “Can we go to the fair? Can we go to the fair?” “No!” The fair was in Huron, which for us was the closest anything even remotely exciting came. We wound up going about every year. I once tripped Gov. Bill Janklow on the Midway. Later in high school, I worked at the fair campgrounds for two summers with Bob Syring. I could go into more detail about how Brandon befriended a bunch of criminals, but that really is another entire post in itself.