There are two sorts of Minnesotans.
Those who know the Great Minnesota Get-Together is the greatest.
And those who just haven’t seen the crop art yet.
This year, like every year, I spent a day at the Minnesota State Fair, live-tweeting everything I saw, patting every animal I passed, and eating foods on sticks.
These are my findings.
9 a.m.: I strolled past the Minneapolis Sculpture Garden’s Spoonbridge — the only utensil large enough to contain all the Sweet Martha’s cookies I aspired to eat — on my way to a nearby State Fair express bus stop.
9:37 a.m.: I arrived at the fair’s shiny new North End complex in a Lyft, because the express bus at that stop doesn’t run that early on weekdays. The forecast was ominous, crowds were sparse and my heart was light as I encountered the first Paul Bunyan statue of the day. The Minnesota State Fair boasts the region’s highest Bunyan-to-human ratio.
9:49 a.m.: Checked in at the Minnesota Pollution Control Agency’s Eco Experience exhibit, where bidding on the 17-foot-tall recycled Paul Bunyan topped $300, thoroughly pricing some of us out of the market.
10 a.m.: Yarn bombers have committed wanton acts of yarnage over by the Creative Activities building.
11 a.m.: I interviewed the American Honey Queen, Hannah Sjostrom, on the Star Tribune stage. She brought several thousand bees to the interview. Our queen talked about the short, sweet lives of honeybees and explained how pollinators make nearly all your favorite foods possible, up to and including pizza. And she shared the secrets of how to properly wear a beard of bees.
Stop spraying poison on dandelions, people. The pizza you save could be your own.
Noon: To the livestock barns!
12:09 p.m.: We meet again, executioner sheep.
12:17 p.m.: Patted some bunnies.
12:22 p.m.: After viewing dozens of chickens with sideburns, chickens with feathery hobbit-feet, and a rooster the approximate size of a kitten, I realized that our poultry scientists were so preoccupied with whether they could, they didn’t stop to ask whether they should.
12:35 p.m.: Patted my way around the Miracle of Birth barn.
12:54 p.m.: Time to recharge at the 500,000-gallon state Department of Natural Resources fish pond. There’s something soothing about looking at Minnesotans looking at fish. There’s a fishcam at the fishpond, for those who can’t make the trek: dnr.state.mn.us/statefair/webcam/fish.html.
1:10-4:30 p.m.: Rain. Someone in Humana’s promotional rain poncho marketing department is a genius.
2 p.m.: Waited in line to see the crop art.
2:25 p.m.: Waited some more. Resisted the urge to sneak to the front of the line and just take pictures over people’s heads. The Agriculture Horticulture Building zipper merge. While I waited, I studied the rows upon rows of prizewinning corn, trying to determine what separates a blue ribbon ear of corn from lesser corncobs.
2:26 p.m.: Crop art! This year’s gallery included giant kittens shooting lasers from their eyes as they rampage across a city skyline. And that’s the masterpiece that came in second place.
3:08 p.m.: Patted some very nice cows.
3:16 p.m.: Patted some very nice pigs.
4 p.m.: Paid homage to the fair’s biggest winners: comically oversized vegetables.
4:16 p.m.: There was a “Do Not Touch” sign on the 971.5-pound prizewinning pumpkin. I felt personally attacked.
5:10 p.m.: Visited the Spam booth to see if they were selling any of that Pumpkin Spice Spam we’ve heard so much about. They were not.
5:29 p.m.: I boarded the bus for the ride home. I clocked 9 miles around the fairgrounds and barely made a dent. Where were the goats? Where was my ride on the Giant Slide?
We have six more days to go at the fair, and a few more minutes of summer weather left. If you’re planning to go, let me know. We can all hit the Giant Slide together.