Wednesday, April 23, 2014

Just what IS a State Fair?

An English -- as in from England -- friend of mine is considering going to the Minnesota State Fair. We won't go into the why for now. Today we are focusing on the what. You see, she's not sure what a "state fair" is. Where do we begin, my friends?

My mind immediately goes to the old Rodgers and Hammerstein movie, State Fair, because,well, I am nerdy about old-school musicals. 

But what else do I think about? Well, corn dogs. Deep fried everything. Airbrushed t-shirts. Charlotte's Web. Zuckerman's Famous Pig. 

The last time I went to the Kentucky State Fair, I held a baby alligator, saw a hundred hemorrhoids on goats, and feasted my eyes on quilts, watercolors, and apple pies. And pigs. And cattle. And watched the World Championship Horse Show. 

Then, of course, there are the rides. They aren't even that great, but they are sprinkled with opportunities to win goldfish, teddy bears, and toys that aren't worth the dollar you spent to play the game. State Fairs have definitely grown beyond their original intentions -- livestock judging from all over the country farms.

As David says, my English friend, think about Brighton Beach, throw in a Cotswalds Village Pie-Baking/Quilting Contest, and multiply it by AMERICA. 

So I ask you: how can we describe the magic that is The State Fair to a proper Englishwoman? One who surely likes proper Early Grey and calls her cookies "biscuits."

In the spirit of both the State Fair and of brevity, I propose a haiku contest. Post (or send me) your best 17-syllable description of a State Fair.

Here's my best effort:

Funnel cakes, rednecks,
pigs, pumpkins, fried food,
bad concerts and sun.

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