Reporting From the Minnesota State Fair

Today we did our second show from the Minnesota State Fair. I took two of my daughters along and toured the Fairgrounds a bit when the show was over.

We’ve learned that we can’t do our regular studio show when we’re broadcasting live from the Fair, with an audience. Serious political talk gets boring in that environment. So the show is mostly Fair-related, with politics worked in around the edges. Today we interviewed Princess Kay of the Milky Way, a spokesperson for Minnesota’s dairy industry. Here she is, with co-host Brian Ward (click all photos to enlarge):

We had a butter sculpture contest. Each contestant was given a pound of butter and had to carve it into a likeness of Al Franken in 15 minutes. I was skeptical, but the results were remarkably good. Here are the butter sculptors at work:

This was the winning entry in the Representational Art category. The sculptor’s ability to capture Franken’s hair in butter was impressive:

We also had our traditional Scotch egg eating contest. The contest almost had to be scrubbed because the girl from the Scotch egg booth didn’t show up on time. But we were able to do it in our last segment, which was a great way to end our year at the Fair. Also, it was the most exciting Scotch egg eating contest yet. Chad’s younger brother, J.B. Doubtless, crammed the last of his egg into his mouth and raised his arms in premature triumph:

You can see that Brian, calling the contest from the Patriot Plaza, was momentarily taken in. But then we realized that J.B. was still chewing. We exhorted the other competitors to keep eating–a Scotch egg, by the way, is a hard-boiled egg encased in spiced sausage, then coated with some kind of batter and deep-fried. It would take me around three days to eat one–because the contest wasn’t over until J.B. swallowed the last of his egg. Which he couldn’t quite do, and the guy to his right nipped him in a photo finish.

Those who have never attended the Minnesota State Fair would have a hard time imagining its magnitude. This shot of one tiny part of the Fairgrounds gives some idea of the throngs of people who attend:

The Fair is largely about food, especially food on a stick:

There are also attractions like this one; we had the proprietor on our show a year or two ago, accompanied by several large snakes:

Minnesota is still an agricultural state, and the traditional purposes of the State Fair endure. Today my daughters watched a cow show in one of the animal barns. This is one of the larger and older buildings at the Fair:

Part of the agriculture/horticulture building is devoted to Minnesota’s wineries. Today they were selling wine ice cream in several flavors. I’m not sure it’s going to catch on.

Any time people are running an election campaign that just says “Vote Yes,” it means they aren’t anxious to tell you what you are voting for, and you should vote No:

In this case, “Yes” means a constitutional amendment to increase taxes. Even in odd-numbered years, the state’s principal politicians have booths at the Fair. In election years, the candidates are often to be found there. Sure enough, just a few steps beyond Vote Yes was Al Franken’s booth. We passed by just as he was in the act of kissing a baby!

I considered sticking around to show Al his likeness carved in butter, but thought better of it.

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