So, back at the end of the summer, Lesley and I took a trip out to visit my grandparents in Minnesota. Our trip happened to also cross with my parents visiting. My parents grew up in MN, having met in high school – Anoka High School. We lived there when I was a child until about 5th grade when we moved to NJ. I remember it quite well and have some very fond memories of my childhood there. I remember ice fishing, tornados, aunts and uncles and cousins, the snow storms, sledding, A&W Root Beer Floats, dinners at my grandparents’ and great-grandparents’ homes, grannie’s farm still operating with dairy cows and chickens. We didn’t get back to visit often, and I still don’t go as often as I would like to. This trip was a blast. We timed our trip to coincide with the Minnesota State Fair, which is HUGE. I remember it as a kid being one of the coolest things ever. They have a huge fish tank/pond filled with naturally occurring MN fish. I would stare at it until my parents dragged me away. I would go to EVERY booth and collect the brochures and any other stuff they had out. I would take it all home and read every one of them. I knew too much about tractors for a 4th grader! But the biggest draw to the fair has always been the food. Crazy fair food, awesome wholesome food, local food, exotic food, you name it. They have everything you could imagine and then some – hot dogs, corn dogs, roasted corn, turkey legs, pizza, salad, root beer floats, french fries, cheese curds, bacon on a stick, pork chop on a stick, hot dog on a stick, meatball sandwich on a stick (this could go on for while! Many, many things on sticks) patsies, cream puffs, cookies, burritos, scotch eggs and, of course, all things fried. They even have a booth where you can drink all the fresh whole milk you want for a buck! It was my great grandfather’s favorite booth, but it was only a dime back in his day. My mom says he would spend an hour drinking milk! Not sure why, he had 100 head of dairy cows back on the farm! I always try to have a bite or two of everything, but after a few hours I just can’t do it anymore! I would need the whole week to try everything. We only had one day. It is all so good. Is it just the atmosphere or is it really that good? The best thing this past fair for me was the roasted corn. It is very popular. They go thru about 25 acres worth of corn during the week. Another big draw is all the animals. The fair rotates in different groups from 4-H kids to adults – they all bring their animals to be judged. It is a very big deal to win a category. The animals can be auctioned off for $1000′s. All of the animals are on display in the different barns, there are horse barns, fowl barns, swine barns, etc, etc. The day we were there was for 4-H kids. They all stay in the barns with their animals and tend to them all day. To get there, they have had to have won on their local and county levels, so all of these animals are top notch. It looks like it would be a pretty cool thing to do as a kid. But animals are not the only thing judged at the fair…there are arts and crafts like quilting and painting and photography, and also baked goods and canned goods. All the winners are on display and make for a very cool day of checking them all out. Entertainment is also a big hit with 4 or 5 stages and pavilions all set up around the grounds. Most of them are sponsored by regional beer companies like the Leinenkugel Brewery. We happened to sit down at the Leinie Lodge and caught a great show of Cajun music by Geno Delafose. I really enjoyed the show and was motivated to do some video of it, much to everyone else’s displeasure, as I got lost in what I was doing and an hour slipped by before I even knew they were mad! Here is the video, it’s too long and not the best, but kinda fun.It was my first go at shooting video! It was a long day at the fair, but man, was it fun! The day we went happened to be some crazy, hot day, and an attendance record was set. It was crazy crowded.
We also had a visit to the Minneapolis farmers market. This could be one of the best farmers markets in the whole country. It is huge and has so many veggies and meats and cheeses, etc. The prices are super low, like $1 for a bunch of tri colored organic carrots with the greens still attached. It is always great to wander thru there. We were shopping for a veggie platter that we put together for a little family get together we had at my grandmother’s home. It was so great to see everyone – some folks I have not seen in at least 10 years.
What else did we do? Lesley and I took a day trip up to Duluth which we really enjoyed. We played some slots and cards at a casino. Visited with a cousin I had never met, Hi Katie! Drove up to visit my great grandparents’ farm, which was sold many years ago. Had a little visit to the ER, all better now! Visited my Aunt Pat and cousin Bump. Went and saw Kirk’s new offices overlooking the stadium. Drove by my old elementary school. A busy fun time, can’t wait to get back. Well, I’ll wait until after ice out! – pt
Roasted corn bathed in butter, salt and pepper. I had two.
Tiny TIm’s Doughnuts! So good, they are about 2 minutes out of the fryer!
Fried cheese curds.