Monday, September 3, 2012

Minnesota State Fair Adventures

I've not been to the fair for years. Having grown up in farm country, I liked fairs for the agricultural reason they began. This state fair is regarded by most urban dwellers as a big eating opportunity. But my older daughter wanted to go, and with her disabilities she can't go alone, so I used my new somewhat  "retired" state to take her on Friday.

We took a free, courtesy bus from her neighborhood. This sure beats dealing with the traffic and having to pay big bucks to park when one gets there.

My daughter said what she wanted to do most was see horses, so we headed in that direction. We were too early to enter the coliseum where the horses were being judged, so we went across the street to see the sheep and goats.

This baby goat took my eye. Look at the size of the ears on this breed!

Somewhere in the morning we also visited the cow barn. I grew up on a dairy farm and remembered the process of milking. I was astonished to find out it is now possible to milk cows with robots.
There is a huge informatics program behind this -- keeping track of both milk production as well as what each individual cow eats. It amazes me we can do this with cows, but yet we still have health professionals unwilling to give up their paper records for the management of health concerns.

We watched some horse judging and then went over the crop building. One of the interesting exhibits was the bee-keeping area. Here are two things made from bees wax.

Looks like eggs, but made entirely of bees wax.

And how about Bee-ch Vollyball.

In this area were also exhibits of foods made using honey for the sweetener. I took a picture of a pie just to have a picture of what pie really is when I teach English. The Hidden Pictures books often have slice of pie as one thing for the kids to find, but when there isn't pie in the culture, this is somewhat a mystery.

So here's pie:

I've never seen it in Central Europe, although in Hungary there is a sweet with a name that translates to apple pie but it looks nothing like this.

On the other hand what we call cheesecake may not be recognized by anyone from Poland as sernik.

One of the Minnesota traditions is selecting a young woman to be Princess Kay from the Milky Way. This woman must come from a dairy farm and then serves as an ambassador for the milk industry. The tradition includes sculpting her in butter. This year all the candidates got their head sculpted.

 Minnesota farmers are trying hard to diversity their crops into new areas. I found purple corn from a grower in Lamberton.
And a company nearby is using this corn to make purple chips.

We wandered back to the coliseum for the High School Rodeo. I've never been to a rodeo and enjoyed all it except for the man who was selected to be MC. Apparently announcing at rodeos is his specialty, but he was from South Carolina and there definitely was a cultural mismatch. He thought it was all right to pepper his commentary with jokes about union workers and women.
Above is one of the competitions.

After the rodeo we walked back to the Creative Arts building. One thing that caught my eye was this religious head dress.

How many hours must this have taken? It is an incredible piece of work.

Found these fun shoes.

Next to this is the Education Building. Here I found work from high school students. I liked this dragon made from plastic picnic materials.

After this we wandered back to the parking lot and got lucky. We waited less than 5 minutes for a bus back to the neighborhood where I had left my car.

Hope you enjoyed this little tour through the Minnesota State Fair.

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