How KSTP ruined the fair & other tales from The Great Minnesota Get Together

For no money!

Six-year-old Cade’s absolute favorite thing about the Minnesota State Fair is KSTP-TV‘s Tornado Alley display. Whenever anyone brings up the Fair he talks incessantly about it. Since he found out we were going to the Fair he has asked, nearly every time I’ve seen him, if I will take him to the Tornado.

After ID-braceletting all five kidlings, we made our way into the Fair heading in the direction of Juanita’s Fajitas so Stink could get his traditional breakfast burrito and making a pit stop so Sister #4 could get her traditional breakfast Pronto Pup.

Once these stops were made, we meandered towards our favorite grassy knoll located between the Grandstand and KSTP. All the while Cade was asking everyone if they remembered that one time Max fell in the Tornado and broke his butt. If they remembered that one time he was afraid of the Tornado. If they remembered how that one time the Tornado was not so scary at all. How the Tornado was really cool. How the Tornado wasn’t a real tornado but a pretend one. How the Tornado was kind of like the one in the Wizard of Oz, but it didn’t suck up your house.

As soon as the grown-ups were settled, I gathered up the Kidlings for what was going to be the first of many trips to the Tornado. As we rounded the corner and I spied a big open area in the KSTP building I knew we were in for a disappointment. Cade ran into the building, looked up at the flat-screen TVs suspended from the ceiling that were showing news reports of Hurricane Gustav, and shouted “This is NOT the Tornado I remember.”

I tried to explain that it wasn’t the Tornado at all and that they got rid of it.

“Why?” He shook his head at me.
“I don’t know.” I said.
“But it was the best!”
“I know,” I said. “Channel Five sucks.”

It was at that point that Nolan ran up with a deflated beach ball in his hand. “They gave me this for NO MONEY!”
“Right on,” I said.
“It’s not as a good as the Tornado,” Cade said.

And it wasn’t. Cade spent the rest of the Fair intermittently conning everyone in our family to go on a mourning pilgrimage to see where the Tornado used to be. It was so sad.

It was kind of a dud Fair year for us. Sister #2 was on call and had to deal with, well, whatever it is she deals with as a social worker at Abbott. It was 90 degrees and windy as hell too. Which wouldn’t have been too bad, but since we went to the Fair on the last day all the grass was gone leaving instead just dusty patches of where grass used to be. So whenever the wind gusted up it blew tons of dusts and dead grass and all that stuff clung to our sweaty bodies. It was a real treat!

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  1. shokkou 02.Sep.08 at 4:06 pm

    I know just how Cade felt. My state fair used to have this cool hollowed out redwood tree converted into a house trailer. Every year i liked to pay fifty cents to go in and pretend it was my house. It had carved out benches and cubby holes and shelves and everything. It was the best house ever. Then a few years ago it just stopped coming. I still miss it.

    But tell! What were the popular fried stuff on a stick this year? Anything new? My state fair isn’t until next month and i’m still undecided on whether or not to attend. Without my tree house it pretty much comes down to the food fashions.

  2. Holtz 03.Sep.08 at 12:29 pm

    shokkou- The big thing this year was chocolate covered bacon. I work at the fair and that’s all I heard people talking about.

  3. Jodi 03.Sep.08 at 1:07 pm

    I did not have chocolate covered bacon, I heard it was gross. I did, however, have bacon on a stick. It was good because really how can you fuck up bacon on a stick?

  4. shokkou 03.Sep.08 at 2:38 pm

    Bacon cannot be fucked up, no how. I like bacon and jelly sandwiches so i’d probably like chocolate covered bacon. MN is SO much more creative than NC when it comes to delicious State Fair Food.


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