I Survived the Great Minnesota Get Together 2011
That’s right ladies and gents, boys and girls, cats and kittens, I FINALLY made it to the Minnesota State Fair!!! I moved here to Minnesota, the place that has captured my heart at the end of September 2005. So I missed the state fair that year, so I have a legitimate excuse for not having gone that year, however in the years since then what was my excuse?
I was a morbidly obese shut in for lack of any sugar-coating it. I have previously referred to myself as a hermit, however that is the wrong term. I kept myself shut off from the world only physically, I would still engage with others online and through video games. Those damn games. Anyway, I would hear things about the food at the fair and how GOOD some of those things sounded. I would also see the photos and video of the crowds. It was always so hot, which meant I would be sweaty and uncomfortable, and all the walking… No thanks.
So here we are it is 2011 and after having so many people look at me like a 4-headed monkey-goat-chicken with glasses and spiked hair for having said I have not ever been to the state fair Friday I embarked on an adventure!
I had only two things I
wanted needed to see before the big reason I was headed to the fair. Sheep and Art. Yes, I am indeed a strange girl. If you have been to the 2 5k’s or seen me out and about in my shorts or a dress this summer you have possibly seen my Rainbow Babaa tattoo. It is a small rainbow-colored sheep on my lower right leg. I have had it for years, it means a lot to me, it gives me super powers. Moving on, I have developed a fondness for sheep over the years, I think it probably spawned when I was a kid, with a shirt spouting ewe not fat ewe just fluffy! I also used to be very involved in the art world. I used to draw and sculpt, I wasn’t fantastic at it, but I enjoyed it. I enjoy seeing the work of others, and this year after 6 previous attempts a friend of mine had his sculpture accepted into the art exhibit.
So once at the fair a loop thru the Dairy building to see the “Butter Sculptures” was a must for any “State Fair Virgin”. I wasn’t super impressed I had seen them at the farm show before. In Pennsylvania they use about 1000lbs of butter for the sculpture but it was cool none the less. Then it was time for the Miracle of Birth Center, where… a Miracle was happening! A calf was being born! I being the classy chick I am have seen this before too, not super interested in cow-spawn. Cows make me want dinner. I like them raw, so warmed up already makes them extra tasty! There we little yellow ducks! They reminded me of Ming-Ming from the Wonderpets as they tried to flap their winds hard and move around! It was adorable! (Yes I have watched that show shut up!)
I was SO excited to turn left from the duckies and see the legs of a tiny little lamb! The day before at the fair a set of twinsies were born! I could have easily plopped down and spent the day watching the little tiny sheep wander around the pen. They look so adorable!!
I had to resist the urge to grab the sheep and run away with it. I think that would easily get me banned from the fair for life. I did linger around watching a few other sheep for a while. The labored breathing of a few of the other sheep told me they would likely be birthing soon as well.
I kept moving on and found some cute little piglets to squeal over! Yes I did actually squeal, they were so cute and tiny! Visions of Charlotts Webb danced in my head as I looked at the tiny pigs. It was explained to me that the blue bar in the photo to the right is there to keep Momma Pig from rolling onto the wee-ones. She can lay down and the piglets have a place that is safe for them to wander around and not be crushed. This also allows the piglets to gain access on the other side to be able to feed when she does lay down. This little piggy clearly decided it was lunch time! They were so tiny but so wiggly and active!
From there you know I had to head to the Sheep barn… did you know there is a whole barn for just the sheep? (in a sing-song voice) ~LOVE IT!~ I wandered around looking at all the sheep, admiring all the coloring and shapes and sizes of sheep. I love them all. There was however one very large sheep, that I think was a small pony as it was wearing its judging coat. It was much taller and wider than the rest.
There are lots of radio stations at the fair. Among the ones I regularly listen to is MyTalk107.1 which is a talk radio station based here in the twin cities. I managed to catch the end of Lori and Julia’s live broadcast from the fair before they had to go back into their RV for the rest of Project Down and Dirty. (they were raising money for charity by staying in an RV for the first 52 hours of the fair!) Every Friday they end their show with a sing along. This weeks show ended with I Will Survive, and Jason, Alexis, Ian, Margery, Colleen, & Reuvers all came out of the RV and were dancing and singing along! It was great fun!
After hanging out at the radio station booth it was time to go to the Fine Arts Building! As I mentioned earlier a friend of mine had some artwork accepted to the fair this year! This marks the second friend of mine that is awesome-sauce and has the guts to put thier talent out on display! (Way to go Jenn & James! I am so proud to know both of you). I didn’t just make a bee line for my fave artist at the fair either. I took the time to wander around and look at everything. There were paintings of sheep, a sculpture made from return address labels, some metal work, some cool tornado photography and other amazing things.
Hunger was starting to strike. One of my strategies for the state fair was to eat something before I went. I had a bowl of green beans with some homemade tomato sauce earlier in the day which had kept me pretty satisfied for the day. I had one of those infamous Blue Ribbon Bargain Books, I flipped thru it looking for any ideas for dinner. Dino’s Gyros looked safe. I remember Jen, a PriorFatGirl had a trip to Dino’s, and I have their nutrition information on my computer, since I actually really enjoy their food. So I had a gyro at the fair. I didn’t eat all of it. I left 1/3 to 1/2 of the pita behind. I felt full, I had been drinking water all day. Awesome! The food building had been avoided.
I know there has been a lot of State Fair anxiety expressed among my friends this week regarding the food at the fair. Some people choose to just avoid the fair, and that is perfectly acceptable. Others have adapted the 3 bite rule, or share the food method. Whatever works for you I say go for it. I will say for the record I left the Fair again without my Funnel cake! In fact I think I only SAW one funnel cake the whole time I was at the fair!
While I was at the fair I got an unexpected text! Turns out Samien was at the fair too!!! It was an awesome surprise! Now comes the real test of the fair… finding someone. I continued my trek around the fair, knowing we were both heading to the Leinie Lodge for a good Time (hehe, see what I did there?)
A quick lap through the International Bazar was made, just to look around. Lots of stuff to buy, and my wallet stayed in my bag. I don’t need more of anything right now, but there was tons to look at. Then I headed up to the bandshell. For a brief moment I wondered how many calories I had burned for the day, not so that I could eat more, but because I had not really spent much time sitting still. I thought about how I had been walking for hours and how far I had come.
The place was PACKED! Apparently Morris Day and the Time should have been booked into a bigger venue! Everybody loves the time! Samien texted about how crazy it was, and I didn’t worry too much figuring I would wander around a while, since there were no seats. Up the Isle I went, to the end and heard my name!
Look at that! We found each other!!! The great Minnesota get together brought us together! We chatted through the pre-concert awkward music. Seal’s Kiss From a Rose… really? Wrong crowd, at least I felt it was wrong. It was awesome to meet finally! After what seemed like hours of asking “What Time is It?”… its was TIME!!!!!
They were AWE-SOME! They played their big hits like Cool, The Bird, The Walk, Ice Cream Castles, and of course Jungle Love. I couldn’t really see the stage, as people were STANDING on the benches. (how rude!) But I shook my fanny through the entire show! It was awesome!!
That was the end of my night at the state fair. I left without any cheese curds, or funnel cake. No mini doughnuts crossed my lips, no soda in my veins. My step count according to my BodyMedia Fit was over 11,000 steps for the time spent at the fair. There were things that perhaps posed a temptation to me, but not a single thing there was worth blowing all my hard work on. However, I went into the fair with the availability of nearly my entire days worth of calories at my disposal. So if I were to eat something that wasn’t the best choice it would not be the end of the world. One decision does not define me. Whether it be a successful choice that I would make again or one that I would dare never repeat. These are life’s lessons.
So my impression of the fair? I can’t wait to go again! I had SO MUCH FUN! There is so much more I want to see and so much more I want to do! I didn’t get to explore all of the buildings. I did see the DNR, but I didn’t get to see the Eco building. I may want to photograph the midway, I definitely need to spend some more time there. It was very cool to watch the people. I couldn’t ask for a better day to have gone. So much to see and do. I even signed up for info on next years Milk Run!
So do you have a Fair story? Any tips or tricks to help you stay on track around all that deep-fried food? Did you go to your state fair? How did you do? Do you call it a cheat day and just write it all off? Do you stay on track? I even took some food with me into the fair if I felt like I had to have something like popcorn! Be Prepared, its not just a motto its a lifestyle!