Sweaty people, greasy food on a stick, and sunburns . . . that doesn’t necessarily sound like a wonderful time, yet thousands of people go out of their way to experience all of this yearly. I am proud to say I am among that crowd.
Going to the state fair has been a summer ritual for as long as I can remember. Growing up in Illinois I attended the Illinois State Fair in Springfield and still remember the Tom Thumb donuts, the year I bought my horse blanket, and the many concerts I attended. Now we continue the tradition with our daughter at the Minnesota State Fair.
At the age of two she has now attended her first state fair and from the looks of it she had a blast. That experience is what keeps all the people coming back year after year and makes Minnesota the state fair with the highest average daily attendance. Going with a two year old in tow makes the experience very different, but took me back to those days of my own childhood.
This year’s visit included a stop at the dog stunt show, wandering the barns much more than normal, and even a ride on some flying elephants. But it was all more magical than the last few years. Her yell of joy on the big slide made a ride I haven’t been on in years a great experience. Her excitement petting the cows and horses in the barns made me view the animals I’ve seen hundreds of time a little more special. Watching her jumps of happiness as Pedro the horse nuzzled her hand made me thankful that generations of families still pass on the skills of farming.
What would a trip to the fair be without a little (or a lot) food. New options included walleye mac’n’cheese, bacon ice cream, and pretzel coated fried cheese curds. We didn’t make it to any of these options, but Olivia got to try items that were new to her. We found out she likes gyros, lemon shake ups, and Martha’s cookies.
The next time you get to go to the state fair take a kid with you and you will see it with fresh eyes full of excitement and wonder. I’m thinking we might have to put a state fair tour on our list for a future road trip!