The first stories about the Minnesota State Fair are always the Best and the Newest, so it’s only fitting to make the last ones about the things you might have found disappointing. I mean, it’s not perfect. I think we can agree that “Metric Appreciation Day” was a misfire, and no one wanted the About a 0.308 Meter Hot Dog.
Worst new food: Grilled Hoof (drizzled with Barn Sauce). Just kidding! There’s no worst food. Although I haven’t had the Deep-Fried Candy Bar, as I am under doctor’s orders not to inject Spackle directly into my heart.
Worst ride with a Fading Claim to the Popular Imagination: Magnum, P.I. For a while it had a picture of Tom Selleck, his glorious mustache deployed for full lady-slaying effect, but you might as well put up a picture of Rutherford B. Hayes (as Mannix!). The art is now just scantily clad vixens and glowering men. It has nothing to do with Magnum, P.I. It’s like waking up in 2031, going to the Midway, and seeing paintings of horses in lederhosen on a ride called Star Trek.
Event in need of rethinking: the daily parade. It starts with Fairchild and Princess Kay, something that might interest future archaeologists. They worshiped a Rodent Man and a Butter Goddess, who appeared in mortal form before the enormous graven image of a Bull. We had no idea the Cult of Baal was so strong in Minnesota. Then it’s Smokey Bear waving the shovel he will use to brain you over the noggin if he sees you flick a butt out the window. Marching bands pounding a melody into submission. Of course there’s Captain Ken’s Beans Fire Engine, reminding you of the unshakable connection between conflagration-suppression infrastructure and flatulence-enabling legumes. At least the blatting tubas don’t follow right away.
New parade addition: Elmo, from Sesame Street. Not a walking-around Elmo, but a puppet on the hand of a guy driving a car. This is almost like a marching band carrying pictures of instruments and humming.
The parade needs a refresh, and it needs to end with Santa again. Even if he’s played by Tom Selleck.