A Day At the Fair

It’s that time of year again–the end of summer, time for the Minnesota State Fair. This web site owes a lot to the Fair. In August 2002 Hugh Hewitt came to Minnesota and broadcast live from the Fair for a couple of days. Power Line was brand new then and pretty much unknown, but an early fan went to see Hugh’s live broadcast and gave Hugh a piece of paper with the URL for our site on it. A few days later we got an email from Hugh; he’d checked out the site and liked it.
Coincidentally, Minnesota played a major role in that fall’s off-year election, with the Wellstone-Coleman race, the plane crash, the funeral, and so on–not to mention Tim Pawlenty’s election as Governor. Hugh figured out that we had an inside track on what was happening here and started linking to us and featuring us on his radio show. That, more than anything else, was what launched our site and got us known around the country.
This is also the seventh year that the Northern Alliance has broadcast live from the Fair. It’s become a fun tradition and a welcome break from the underground bunker near downtown Eagan, Minnesota from which we normally do our shows. We’ve learned over the years that we can’t do the usual serious political talk when we’re performing live in front of a lot of fair-goers, so now we focus on fair-related guests and competitions and just sneak in politics around the edges. Especially in odd-numbered years, like this one.
Today was a gorgeous, sunny day with a high of around 65 degrees, freakishly cool for this time of year but perfect for walking around the fairgrounds. I made a little video of our day at the fair. In the opening shots you can see the Patriot’s booth, followed by the view from the balcony where we broadcast and a shot of my radio partner Brian Ward of Fraters Libertas. Our chief guest today was Dr. Mike Something from the World of Wonders show at the Midway. (It used to be called a freak show, but, of course, no longer.) We originally had booked a guy who lifts weights with his ears, but the St. Paul police department ran identity checks on the Midway people and several of them, including the ear guy, had to beat it out of town in a hurry. So the Midway sent over their barker, Dr. Mike, who also pounds a nail into his head with a hammer. Sort of: it looked to me like he shoved it up his nose, not quite the same thing.
We had a Patriot fashion show during the second hour, using models from an agency. Well, perhaps not: you may recognize one of them as the Atomizer, who somewhat to our surprise was still upright at noon after spending the morning in the beer garden. The models displayed t-shirts and other items that are for sale at the Patriot’s booth.
The rest of the very brief video shows the Fair as we saw it after the show was over at 1 o’clock. If you’ve been to something like the Minnesota State Fair, it will look familiar; if you haven’t–and I’m not sure there is anything quite like the Minnesota State Fair–you may be impressed by the sea of humanity that takes over the fairgrounds for two weeks at the end of every summer.


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