Friday, September 21, 2012

90 lb. Butter Blocks and Everything on a Stick

    I recently went back home to Minnesota for a much needed vacation and visit with family.  I love the Midwest at the end of the Summer and beginning of Fall.  The weather is lovely, -- sunny, mild and warm days, cool nights, and the mosquito population is dying down (a bit). 

Oh, but not this year. 

     The temperature hovered  near 100 most days; it was incredibly humid and I wondered if my blood was particularly sweet because every insect that could bite found me!  This, however, did not stop me from enjoying the best, best, BEST part of Minnesota’s “end of summer” ritual: The Minnesota State Fair, aka, The Great Minnesota Get-Together.
     The MN State Fair is one of the top attended fairs in the country!  And why wouldn’t it be, what with deep fried Twinkies; Dill Pickle lip balm (with spf); bacon on a stick and Garrison Keillor.  It lasts 12 days and averages 150,000 visitors per day.  This year’s attendance total was 1,788,512.  I would not kid you about that number.  (Keep in mind that the population of the entire state is a mere 5.3 million).
     The day my mother and I went was “Read and Ride” day -- present your library card when you buy your Fair ticket, and get a discount!
     This year, my first stop was at the butter sculptures.  MmmHmmm.  Butter. Sculptures.

     Young women compete to be one of the 12 princesses to come to the Fair. Girls must live or work on a dairy farm. Then, in the days just before the Fair starts, the winner is crowned Princess Kay of the Milky Way, and her likeness is carved on opening day at the fair. On the remaining days, the likenesses of the other princesses are carved into 90 pound butter blocks, in a 40 degree room (that rotates so everyone can see) in the Dairy Building.
A Princess Kay contestant
Princess Kay of the Milky Way (notice the tiara!)

Sculptor, Linda Christenson, working on a butter sculpture.

     After the butter sculptures, my favorite place to be is in the barns (yes, I do wish I had a farm).  I *love* all the barns – horses; cows; sheep; chickens; rabbits; llamas; pigs; and the birthing barn -- with the animals who will likely give birth while at the Fair. 
ADORABLE little lambs, born earlier that same day.

One-day old piglets!!

Llama! I want a Llama!

After butter, and animals, there is, of course, FOOD!
Bacon on a stick, from Big Fat Bacon
Summit Beer on a stick!
Tom Thumb Mini Donuts!! Hot! With cinnamon sugar!

The SPAM throne!

The Fairgrounds cover just over 320 acres, so the best way to see everything is the Sky-Glider!


Sky-Glider view.  Wheeee!

And there is a reason they call it "Minnesota Nice," -- the people are amazingly kind!

Lots and lots of great people! You betcha!

The end of a beautiful day!

See you next year!

Looking to make some memories this weekend??
There's a lot going on!

Sandcastle Building 101 class: Saturday, Sept. 22, 10-12 at Ocean Beach (by the Cliff House). FREE!

National Cemetery Walk, Saturday, Sept. 22, 10am, Presidio Cemetery, SF. details:  Cemetery Walk

Eat Real Street Food Festival, Jack London Square, Oakland. Sept. 21-23 Eat Real Food Festival

48th Annual Big Book Sale, Fort Mason, SF. Sept.19-23. ( All books are $1 on Sunday!)  Opens at 10am

2012 Autumn Moon Festival, Chinatown, SF. Sept. 22-23. 11am-6pm. Moon Festival and Street Fair

Taste of Russia Festival, Sept. 23, 11-6.  Holy Virgin Cathedral, 6210 Geary Blvd., SF.
            Taste of Russia

Britney Spears Flash Mob dance class! Hit me baby, one more time! Monday Sept. 24, 8pm.
             Studio Garcia, 19 Heron St., SF (SoMa).


  1. Princess Kay of the Milky Way? For reals? Oh that's just perfect.
    Love the bring-your-library-card, get-a-discount idea. They should have that everywhere, no? Auto mechanic, spa services, Nordstroms....

  2. Bacon on a stick AND beer on a stick? I may have to pay a visit to Minnesota next year!