For the last however many years I ride my bike from my Prospect Park Neighborhood to Como Avenue, then park my bike in a bike corral next to an entrance near Snelling Avenue. A bike corral volunteer hands me a two-part numbered tag that I put on my bike, then I buy my State Fair ticket and head for the Fine Arts Building. The art is truly democratic – ranging from the generic farm field sunset view to the “Why isn’t this art work in MIA?”
I walk by the now greatly diminished Machinery Hill, past bright red farm equipment. When I grew up in Brainerd, my parents and our neighbors all grew up on farms in Crow Wing County, and a highlight of their summer was motoring down to “the cities” to worship at Machinery Hill’s machines of might. Pointing to a brand new green John Deere tractor, one of them would mention, ”We sure as hell didn’t have anything like that on the farm!”
I head for the Wine Building. I pay ten bucks for a cardboard cutout in the shape of the State of Minnesota that has four holes for 2 ounce plastic cups of Minnesota wines. Offered choices are all white, all red and a mix of the two that includes a rosé. After finishing my sampling cups. I buy a 6 ounce cup of the wine I like the best.
Back through the gate, I take my bike and hand a volunteer my tag, then blow my breath near him and ask, “Am I under point zero eight?”
Riding back home, another State Fair is under my belt. A few days later , I’ll read a New York Times article about a newsworthy event that happened at the Minnesota State Fair in Minneapolis.