Well, we did it. We survived eleven hours at the Minnesota State Fair.
101,628 people attended yesterday along with us.
I have successfully upheld our (okay, really my) tradition. See, four years ago, I went with my then only toddler and spent nine hours gawking at all the pretty colors and wild people. Or was that wild colors and pretty people? Anyway, it was the first time I’d been at the State Fair in years, and everything was much more amazing when seen through the eyes of a child.
Three years ago, I took the same toddler, now a year older (look! I can do math! I went to college for this!), and spent another nine hours there, this time also three months pregnant with kiddo number two.
Last year and the year before we spent ten hours and nine hours respectively. This year, with no infant in tow, no pregnancy (that I know of), and both children old enough to be sufficiently over-stimulated by the fair, eleven hours seemed insanely appropriate.
There was the high point yesterday: the daily parade at 2pm, complete with marching bands, fire trucks, and a three-story-high black bull statue advertising the beef industry. Two years ago, there was a three-story-high dairy cow for the dairy industry, but I haven’t seen her since then.
There was also the low point (not counting over-stimulated children hitting emotional meltdown) of finding food we could eat. Those of us who keep kosher have a hard time finding dairy or pareve food. Vegetarians have an even harder time (at least we can eat walleye on a stick). Vegetarians with lactose intolerance and vegans probably would fare better (no pun intended) by bringing their own food.
Everywhere we looked, there were hot dogs (pork), ribs (pork), French fries (not always vegetarian), cheese curds, and various deep-fried specialties like deep-fried Snickers bars (at least the Snickers are kosher), deep-fried Oreos (also kosher), deep-fried macaroni and cheese (not kosher), and deep-fried Twinkies on a stick (all the more convenient to walk around while gunking up one’s arteries). One year, the now-defunct Old City Café, St. Paul’s only kosher restaurant, offered gefilte fish on a stick. Tasty, but apparently it didn’t sell well to the rest of the attendees. I wonder if lutefisk on a stick would do better?
We managed to find an acceptable falafel stand for lunch, but it was like hunting for... well... a kosher food stand at the Minnesota State Fair. Truly, there should be more eating opportunities for those who can’t or won’t eat regularly (hideously?) slaughtered and (questionably?) cooked cows and pigs, without relegating us to deep-fried junk food.
All in all, however, it was a fun day. Great for people-watching. Lots of opportunities for kids and adults to overload. An excellent way to procrastinate on the novel-writing front. And, I found out the hard way, also apparently a good way to get sunburned.
So, with Shabbat approaching and my body sore and exhausted, I’m going to go fix dinner and find comfort in the fact that nothing in the house comes on a stick.