Lileks: What's not to hate about the State Fair?

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 17, 2012 - 7:52 PM
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Three-year-old Bennie Lee of St. Paul worked hard at eating a cob of corn while at the Minnesota State Fair for her family Sunday, September 4, 2011.

Photo: Renee Jones Schneider, Star Tribune

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Fair haters: This is for you.

Come close. Have a seat. I know this is a difficult time. The State Fair draws nigh and you grit your teeth, expecting 10 days of media ballyhoo about the greatest thing ever, and YOU. CAN'T. STAND. IT.

You have reasons. Yes you do. When it's hot, the fair is a humid parade of sweaty somnambulists staggering around in a grease fog. If it's cold, it's that vindictive early-fall cold that can't wait to kill your begonias. Then it rains, and people put on trash bags and walk around like they all got dressed at the landfill.

It smells. If you wanted to inhale the perfume of farm animals and soiled hay while you ate, you'd make dinner reservations at a slaughterhouse waiting room. Sometimes large, dumb animals walking down the street let loose with enormous, redolent fundament utterances, and you get enough of that on Internet forums.

Oh, the grandstand attractions! A guy selling a mop! Great! 'Cause every time you go to Target for one there's a sign that says "ALL OUT OF MOPS FOREVER, GO TO THE FAIR." They sell electric pianos under the grandstand, too. They'll even hook it up on wheels so you can pull it around the grounds for the rest of the day.

The food? You don't want to hear about it, because every year there's a story about a new compacted novelty wad -- alligator, ostrich, camel, pigeon, warthog -- and you know it tastes like chicken and besides, everyone just has a snouts-and-lips meat-tube covered with corn meal and thinks that's a treat.

You want to shout: It's the same thing every year! Walk around with a bag from 'CCO and a yardstick, gobble down carb nodules, stare at inert snorting boars sporting watermelon testes, wonder what makes these prize-winning apples different from the ones at the grocery store, look at rides run by guys who stare into the distance as if thinking "Dang, we sure had a lot of screws left over when we put 'er together this time." Oh, and watch TV people make TV.

You have no time for it and you wish it didn't seem as if all Minnesotans must love it and true Minnesotans can't wait to go.

I understand. Really. One more thing:

What's wrong with you?

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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