Monday, August 31, 2015

2015 Minnesota State Fair

Erin and I went on opening day to the Minnesota State Fair this year, which is always on a Thursday.  The weather was pleasant and the crowds were bigger than I expected, with the official count at 110,000 for the day.  So sometimes there were long lines for things like food and rides, but it wasn't too bad.  I took my new Nikon Coolpix S7000 camera along and this year remembered to make sure my camera was fully charged, so I took a lot of pictures and a few movies too.  I'll just start at the beginning and go on to the end of our day photo to photo and let the narrative take care of itself.

We started our day at the Park 'n Ride at Calvary Baptist Church in Roseville, and this is what the line for the shuttle buses to the fair looked like about ten minutes after we got in it.  Glad I made it there just in time, and we only had about a 20 minute wait for the next bus.

We did first stop in the Merchandise Mart near the front entrance, where Erin found and bought a nice little cart with a removable (and washable) bag that was perfect for her to put the backpack in and walk around with. Very lightweight and small enough to handle in a crowd easily.  We were glad we got it later.

Our next stop after coming in the main gate was the Creative Arts Building, where this 17' ketch was on display at the front entrance.  A beautiful boat!

Some prize-winning entries for knitting and quilt-making on display.  There were a lot of those!

Some fun beadwork that can't help but catch the eye.

We then went into where there were vendors selling various craft-related products and came across one where you could make your own dyed silk scarf.  It looked like fun and I encouraged Erin to try it, so she did.  Here she is getting started, as she drops pigment on the surface of a water and starch mix.

 Still adding more paint and creating a pattern.

Then it's time to make swirls in the pigment, which I took a video of to get a better idea of what's going on.

Then the silk scarf was lowered into the water to absorb the paint.

Then after about 15 seconds, it was time to take it out!  Then it was bagged wet to later take it home to dry and then set with an iron on a low-heat setting.  Erin was glad I encouraged her to do it.

Next door to the Creative Arts building is the Education building, which we only stopped in to look at the public school art on exhibit there.  This 'cave art' piece from a Kindergartner made us smile.

Then we went to the Fine Arts building to view the art exhibit there.  We both liked the "Old School Selfie" a lot.

If a tree falls in love in a forest...

By then we were hungry, so we went over to the Hamline Church Dining Hall to have lunch.  I had a cheeseburger while Erin had the chicken dinner, with real mashed potatoes even, and all the coffee you want to drink.   It's the oldest concessionaire at the state fair at 118 years and counting.

Then, it was time to go to the Agricultural Building to see the crop art.  There was a bountiful harvest of seeds to be seen this year to be sure.  We also enjoyed learning about apple trees from the University of Minnesota Extension Service (we need to plant a new one this year) and Erin bought a couple of gardening book from another vendor there as well.  But here's the crop art:

Erin liked this one and thought her Mom would like it too, so I took a picture of it.

Celebrating a St. Paul landmark in seeds, which is certainly appropriate given the subject.

Strange and interesting, this one.

Yes Virginia, there are politics at the State Fair too.  Thankfully, it's more low key.

A nice composition, this one!

And more 'cave art' too.  Be sure to zoom in and read the story of it too, it's cute.

Saving our favorite for last, we laughed a lot when seeing this!  Of course, we are dog people, ya know.

Over in an adjacent hall from the crop art display were some scarecrows too, and here are a couple of them:

A scarecrow scarecrow.  Nicely done!

And here's 'Scary Garcia'.  LOL!

We then went over to the International Bazaar area and strolled by the vendor booths there while I had a beer and some spring rolls, but neither of us found anything there to acquire this year.  Then we started making our way down Judson past Nelson and stopped for a while at the Minnesota Public Radio booth there.

Here's Charlie Parr doing a soundcheck before his live segment on the Current at 4pm.  We both enjoyed it.

After that we decided to make our way over to the new (as of last year) West End of the fair, and on our way we did stop at a few places of interest.

At the alpaca booth, where the signs said "DON'T PET THE ANIMALS".  Like that had any effect.  They did have hand sanitizing liquid available though.

The new West End was very nice, now much more open than before, if a bit more confusing to move around in.  But the new stage was very nice for both performers and audience.

I stopped to hear an old-time country band play for a while and to drink a beer too, of course.

Then Erin and I stopped at the new glass studio booth, which now features a glass-blowing demo area too.

A great setup for glass-blowing and the guy doing the announcing was quite good and funny also.

Putting a decanter in the 'glory-hole' to soften it so it can be worked into the proper shape.

A close-up of the 'glory-hole'.  Given how far away I was from it, I'm impressed with the zoom on my new camera!

We then wandered the West End some more, and Erin got an antler from a taxidermist for Tucker to chew on, we looked at some t-shirts but didn't buy any, and then decided it was time to head for the Pet Barn on the far north end of the fairgrounds (at 320 acres, it's a BIG fair) instead of stopping at the Grandstand, as there was a show at the Pet Barn we wanted to see at 5:45pm.

We were going to take the sky chairs over, but the line there was very long and the chairs weren't moving much, so we decided to walk there instead.  I did get some pop at the R.C. stand on the way to quench my thirst and it didn't take us all that long to get there, so we had time before the 5:45 show to share a big tenderloin sandwich between us.  Then we stopped by a few vendors in the Pet Barn and got a scarf for Missy, a t-shirt for Erin from the Minnesota Humane Society and a few puppy treats to take home too.  Then it was time for the show, featuring Smith the German Shepherd.

Smith and his handler, who was very good at telling how she trained Smith as well as answering many questions from the crowd.

Demonstrating how you can get your dog to allow you to trim their nails.  As we well know ourselves, this is a very useful thing to train your dog to do.

Smith being very calm and collected while working the crowd.  The handler trusted him so much he just walked around on his own too while collecting pets from people.  A very good show, and highly recommended.  It starts at 5:45pm every day of the fair, before the St. Paul Police K-9 demonstration at 7pm, at the Pet Center.

We then walked back south, stopping to look at some cabins and sheds, then we went through the Eco Center, and then wandered over to the Home Improvement shed where Erin and I were both pleased to fine some interesting products and took home a few brochures of.

Then we shared an order of Veggie Fries and sat down in the Farmers Union to enjoy a iced frappe together while listening to a nice duo on the stage there perform.  (There's a lot of small stages spread throughout the state fair, in addition to the larger ones and the Grandstand.)  By then it was getting dark and it was time to go home, but not before catching this:

They don't call it "Minnesota's Great Get-Together" for nothing, you know.

Then we headed back on the shuttle bus to the car and drove home to some soon-to-be relieved puppies.  And fell over ourselves.

1 comment:

  1. Wow. That's sounds really good time. The the canine "stick on a stick" was really fun. Glad the show was a hit.