Why not have the World's Fair here in Minnesota?

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: July 27, 2013 - 5:18 PM

Tucked in an article about the future of the Twin Cities, I spied a line that made me freeze: There’s a push by local folk to get the 2022 World’s Fair.

Oh, why not? By 2022 we won’t have built a new stadium in almost half a decade; people will be restless. A website devoted to the push lists several benefits, including “billions in revenue to build new subways,” which must gladden the heart of anyone tired of our old subways. Also: It “likely would leave Minnesota with an iconic landmark, like the Eiffel Tower.”

Ah hah! I have long pushed for the construction of a 900-foot-tall Pillsbury Doughboy, calling out the hours with his trademark “Tee-heee!” tummy-poke giggle, amplified so it can be heard for miles. Perfect excuse.

We continue: “This event could be transformative for the region, the state and our country.” Someone in Aitkin probably isn’t going to say “life’s never been the same since they opened a biotech pavilion down there in the Cities.” But sure, let’s try.

I’ll even make the pitch: “We envision a fair with broad pedestrian boulevards, lined with statuary made from tree trunks to reflect our logging tradition. Diverse foods from all over the world; a handsome brick facility for musical events; pavilions devoted to art, science, culture and water softeners. An iconic landmark will carry people into the sky as it rises up a thin metal pole; funicular cars will traverse the breadth of the grounds as well. Rides and games of skill.”

Hmmm, the committee would say. What would this cost, and how long to build it?

Why, it will cost nothing, I would say. It’s already built.

Just replace the signs that say MINNESOTA STATE with WORLD’S. People may expect something grander, but give them an hour and they’ll be standing in the middle of the street eating roasted corn, thinking it’s the best fair ever. Because it always is, you know.

I’d be fine with this. I’d even be fine if we didn’t have the 900-foot Doughboy. I mean, that would be a ridiculous thing, a worldwide punchline.

It would have to be a gopher in a straw boater.

 

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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