I realize that I’m a little bit behind the curve here with a post about the Minnesota State Fair, the annual get-together for for us Minn-e-soooo-tans. It ended last week, and since I’m on the other side of the planet from Minnesota, I saw no reason to comment on the event. My friend in Shanghai, however, has written a column for That’s Shanghai about the Fair, called The Midwest Way. An excerpt:
Still, there is one Minnesotan tradition that shares much with China:
the Minnesota State Fair. Like China, Minnesota’s agricultural history
has shaped much of our personality and practices, and the Minnesota
State Fair is our harvest celebration. Think of it as the Mid-Autumn
Festival for the beige-food crowd, or spending a day on the Nanjing
pedestrian street, but with more livestock. In any case, the State
Fair can provide revelations of the same sort that Confucian masters
experienced when observing life in China’s countryside. In short, it
can show The Way. So in humble homage to the Analects, I here present
10 Life Lessons Learned at the Minnesota State Fair:…….
You really need to read the whole thing.
As for this Minnesotan, she hates the State Fair. Of course, it’s important to remember that even though I am of Scandinavian descent and have relatives in Minnesota, I am a transplant, not a native. The last time I went to the fair was about 10 years ago. I had a panic attack. It was the crowds. (Yes I, who live in CHINA, OF ALL PLACES, don’t like crowds.) But it wasn’t just the crowds. It was the crowds of over-sized and under-clad bodies. I still get clammy thinking about it. I just turned to my sister and said "we have to leave." I have never been back. I think the panic attack happened in the exhibition hall underneath the grandstand. Where else?