Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Fair ye well, now

My, my, my. Where did my long weekend go? I am beginning to wonder if perhaps I'm experiencing brief but repeated alien abductions or some such thing, because really, there are frequently large chunks of time these days that I simply can't account for. It started with the ten-minute time warps I seem to hit between my kitchen and my car nearly every damned day as I leave. (Does this happen to anyone else? You're ready to go; you're heading out the door; and then suddenly you're ten minutes late and really can't explain why?) But now the missing chunks of time are getting longer and more frequent. I have no idea what I did all day Saturday, for example. I mean, I mowed my lawn, sure. And I probably knitted a little. But was that all? It seems the case. And before you suggest that I'm blacking out into alcohol-induced comas, I will stop you right there and say I had three Cosmopolitans this weekend, and I'm not such a lightweight as to forget all that happened thereafter. So. Mystery Case Files - Minneapolis. Who wants to take this one?

The missing blocks of time and potential alien abductions probably also have something to do with why I'm entirely unable to believe summer is really already behind us. I'm not even a summer girl, to be honest. I love fall; really I do. But the past week or so, I've been noticing little unexpected flashes of bright color in the midst of otherwise green trees and foliage, and it's catching me off guard like it did the townspeople in the middle scenes of Pleasantville... You know--the part where color starts showing up on cheeks and on apple trees, and everyone sees it as something to be feared rather than a sign of beautiful things to come? I'm trying to adjust my attitude and remember how pretty everything will be in a few weeks; for some reason I'm just reluctant to pack away the capris and tank tops just yet.

I did send summer off with some fine activities over the weekend, however. It started on Friday with the trip to the Fair (the official end of summer in these parts). Saturday some friends and I got in one more night of drinks on an outdoor patio, which was lovely even despite the evening chill that sets in after sunset these days. And finally, yesterday I added another 24 miles to my bike mileage for the year (which basically doubled my grand total for the summer; that's how much I have not used my bike the past four months). I think my attempt to squeeze a bit of summer in at the last minute worked, because this morning, when I stepped out my door and smelled the distinct scent of fall in the air, it actually made me smile. I smiled again when I saw the cute little plaid-skirted private school girl on the corner where she hasn't been for months. There were two plaid skirt girls today, though, and a mom beside them as well. Little sister must be old enough for school this year. Time marches on for all of us, I suppose.

I could continue rambling with no discernible point, but instead I thought you might like an update on how I... er, faired at the Fair. I presented five plans the other day, after all, and perhaps some of you are wondering just how they panned out. Incidentally, I do realize this is a rather belated update on this topic, but uploading photos is painful on dial-up, so I had to wait until today to abuse corporate resources instead.

So then. Anyway. Here are the things I did not do on Friday, despite any plans or intentions to the contrary:

  • Attend the Prairie Home Companion taping. We ended up skipping this for reasons that aren't interesting or important enough to bother detailing. I'm sure Garrison was as awkwardly charming but off-key as usual, but I can't vouch for it in any way.

  • Eat a cheese curd. That's right; not even one. If you live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, you know just how wrong this is, and really I have no good excuse. If you don't live in Wisconsin or Minnesota, you probably have no idea what I'm talking about, but you'll just have to take my word for it that battered and deep-fried cheese is a heavenly treat that is not to be ignored.

  • Eat a corn dog. I decided to act like a Minnesotan this year and finally try a Pronto-Pup instead. It is a banquet on a stick, after all. How can you go wrong with a tag line like that?

    A banquet on a stick

  • Pony up money to see the freak show. (Sorry. Traveling sideshow.) My friends did, however, humor me as I took pictures of the Garbage Pail Kids-like banners hanging proudly in front of the World of Wonders tent.

    World of Wonders

    Unique Monique

    We may not have paid $4.50 to see the real Unique Monique (even the MC seemed dubious about her authenticity; he kept describing her as a woman "who appears not to have a head"--I can only assume law suits and false advertising claims have taken the fun out of his job a bit), but Poobah the fire-eating Pygmy King served up a fine free preview show outside.


  • See the butter head. Frankly, if you've seen one teenage girl carved from butter you've seen them all, I say, so really no great loss there, I think.

  • Try the Hotdish on a Stick. This actually wasn't on my list at all; I just wanted to share the picture. Rumor has it this came with a side of cream of mushroom soup for dipping, which is a nice touch I find hilariously appropriate.

    They'll put anything on a stick to make a buck.

All of that said, here's a list of things I did do at the fair, photodocumented for your enjoyment.

  • Try my first deep-fried candy bar. This photo does not do it justice, but I assure you it was a treat I can whole-heartedly recommend. Yum.

    Deep-fried Milky Way. Mmmmmm.

  • Look at tiny pigs.


  • And tiny ducks.

    Little ducks

  • Get my finger mistaken for a carrot.

    Mmm. Finger carrots.

    (OK, so it didn't really happen like that, but I did say, "Come here; I have a carrot for you!" in order to get Angry Horse to turn and look at me for this shot. He was not amused.)

  • See a calf being born. No, I did not take a picture. You're welcome.

  • Let my inner farmer out for a bit.

    My, what a big tractor you have.

    Just kidding. I have no inner farmer.

  • Stand in line for approximately 75 minutes for a fresh-popped bag from Ye Olde Kettle Korn Purveyors. Oddly, it was actually worth it, I think. Do not underestimate the power of kettle corn.

    Ye olde kettle korn shoppe

  • Ride the giant slide. Again, I have no photo for this, but can I pretend it was enough activity to count as post-binging exercise for the night? Yeah, I thought not. Back to the gym I go. That bridesmaid dress I have to wear this weekend isn't made of lycra, after all...


Guinness_Girl said...

Whee! Pictures! And fried candy bars! And crazy state fair-like things! (Okay, not fair-like, they were actually fair-things.) Man, that looks fun. Perchance Wilman and I should move to Minnesota!

Maliavale said...

Oh. My. God. See, if you had told us what a cheese curd WAS the other day, I would have insisted you do so. And, now, after your description, and knowing that you did not partake, well ... I am not sure I can continue reading your blog.

However, the freaking adorable picture of the pig swayed me. I'll be back.

stefanie said...

GG--Perchance you should! Or at least come visit! I don't know where to get a deep-fried Milky Way outside of summer festival time, but I do know of a bar/restaurant with Fair-worthy cheese curds year-round. (They also have tikki drinks in cups shaped like Easter Island heads. Don't you want to come visit now??) ;-)

Malia--It occurred to me only after posting my Friday list that cheese curds are a really local thing (even my friend from Ohio doesn't get it). I assure you, they are tasty, and I'm so sorry I disappointed you by not buying any this year. Glad I could win you back with the tiny pig photo, though. He was terribly cute.

Guinness_Girl said...

Dude. You had me at "tikki drinks".

Darren McLikeshimself said...

Wow, that looks like so much fun!

I was kind of freaked out this morning when I saw so many kids wandering around my neighborhood (I moved into my new apartment in May). Then I had an "Oh-h-h-, right..." moment.

Poppy Cede said...

That explains why our fair had no side show/freak show this year -- you stole it!!!!!!!! :)

nabbalicious said...

Aww, pigs! I love little pigs. If I can't ever own a monkey, I think I'd like to have a Wilbur of my very own.

And I've never had a deep-fried candy bar, but it's long been a dream of mine.

-R- said...

Stefanie, what is this bar with cheese curds that you speak of? I must know!

I am disappointed that you did not try the hot dish on a stick. But I love the pictures!

stefanie said...

GG--Seriously. You come here; I will take you there. Sounds like R wants to join us, too. How can you say no??

Darren--Funny how quickly we forget about things like that, huh? I have the same reaction every June when I leave the office over lunch. "Where did all these kids come from?," I wonder. "Shouldn't they be in school?" And then, "Oh-h-h. Right."

Poppy--Um, sorry? I guess they can't be everywhere, and they figured Minnesotans are more receptive to the freakery?

Nabb--Those are both fine goals, I say. Particularly the candy bar one. Seriously, so tasty.

R--It's Psycho Suzy's in Northeast. The hipsters have sort of taken over; it used to be this undiscovered, low-key gem, but it's still a good, not-generally-too-crowded spot on weeknights, anyway. And the kitsch appeal is high--everything from the aforementioned tikki drinks to a carpeted floor printed to look like hardwood to a trailer-class beer list that's got some really clever copywriting. You should check it out sometime.