Lileks: West End Market needs a Corn Dog Fountain

  • Article by: JAMES LILEKS , Star Tribune
  • Updated: August 23, 2014 - 3:41 PM

Anyone really miss Heritage Village? The old-timey attraction that looked like they bought it from a Brazilian slum that went out of business? It’s been replaced by the West End Market, and a recent tour reminded you what we lost.

The train car had great Fair memorabilia, including an old chair from the Midway in which someone pretended to be electrocuted. Bring the kids! See Voltara, able to withstand the power of a blinking light bulb, while someone in the back burns some hair he pulled off a brush.

There was the blacksmith’s shop, where a fellow hammered red-hot metal in a cramped un-air-conditioned space in 90-degree humid weather, and just standing in the room you learned something about the Olden Times: You are, indeed, 98 percent water, or were before you entered this place.

The museum that had all the Old Stuff was just a dusty jumble (In fact, Dusty Jumble, of Osseo, was one of the founders) and there was just so much of it. Everything needed to be cleaned out and reorganized, and that’s what they did. I wish the new History Center had more things than pictures, though. It’s clean and fun, but almost feels like a museum dedicated to a previous museum that was lost in a fire.

The new shops don’t look like you could knock them down with a well-swung turkey leg, but it needs a fountain. There’s a big empty spot in the middle that looks as if there should be a sign: Warning! Mimes at 2, 4 and 6. Perfect spot for a big fountain that mists the strollers on a blaring hot day. Better yet, a statue of a Corn Dog, splashed by streams colored red, yellow, and green. You could probably get Gedney to sponsor the relish-colored water.

It might not fit the new mood; it would be a bit schlocky, whimsical, commercial, and dedicated to questionable nutritional choices. In other words: perfect for the Fair.

jlileks@startribune.com • 612-673-7858

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