Ohhh the Great Minnesota Get Together. Without a doubt the only place that crowds, the smell of a farm, greasy foods, and far too many calories can join together and make a great experience. Don’t get me wrong, I love the fair. I love the people watching, the food, the little animals, the free stuff, and the fact that you can stay entertained for hours just browsing and munching.
But even I have to admit, it’s a little quirky. I’m working at it this year, everyday, in one of the education buildings. My job is pretty easy and I can go grab food whenever I like, which is both wonderful and concerning for my waistline. Having worked just one shift in the same place all day, I’ve already drawn some conclusions about our quirky state fair (from the angle of someone who has to survive 11 more days working there):
1) Parents really believe tie dye shirts will keep them from losing their kids. It might help, if every third family didn’t have that same idea…
2) People are awkward about taking free stuff. They either purposefully don’t make eye contact, saunter by casually and act like their stealing it. Or else they take the straight forward approach, ask if it’s free, grab, and walk away. Most of the people who take the time to ask about a booth…won’t even take the free stuff.
3) Moms use infants and toddlers as ways to get even more free stuff. “Well can Johnny have a free backpack to?” indicating her two month old, in a nap coma, who won’t be able to even put a backpack on for another two years…yeah. Yeah I guess he can.
4) People think you know everything, about everything. You’re working at one single booth at a state fair that sees over 1.5 million people in twelve days…but the general public is sure you must know how everything and anything involving the fair works (no, the answer is we don’t).
5) Polite children make your day. Literally. The highlight of my long shift was simply the little kids who said thank you when they took the things you gave them. Polite adults are nice, but that’s expected. Polite children are awesome. Everyone should teach their kids manners.
6) You’re going to eat the food. Even if you bring your own snacks or sandwiches in an attempt to pace yourself and exercise a little self control over the entirety of the fair…the second one of your co-workers comes in with a bucket of Sweet Martha’s cookies: you’re doomed.
7) Wild-rice burritos aren’t that good. Food stands try to make a lot of the foods “Minnesoootan” by adding wild-rice instead of regular rice and throwing lutefisk into stuff that shouldn’t have it. It just doesn’t work sometimes…
8) Nobody goes to the fair alone, besides people that have to work there (aka me). So don’t assume that it’s a good place to spread your wings and do something for yourself. It’s awkward to eat and browse the fair solo. Trust me on this.
9) Don’t park there. End of story. Bus in from anywhere else. Don’t try to drive to the Minnesota State Fair and park.
10) Best people watching in the world. Hands down. You might think I’m over-exaggerating, but I’m not. Everyone else thinks so too.