the great minnesota get-together

Growing up I don't really remember if we ever went to the State Fair (aka the Great Minnesota Get-Together) - but now that I live only about 30 minutes from it, I think it's a must-do every year. The people watching is amazing, the company is excellent, and it's one time of year when it's perfectly acceptable to have everything you eat all day to be deep fried and/or on a stick. What's not to like?

Maybe the crowds - but the glass-half-full in me says: more people watching! I have the glass-half-full approach for the first 4 or so hours. Then glass-totally-empty kicks in and I hate pretty much everyone that I'm not there with. (I exaggerate just a bit.)

Fortunately (for the glass-half-full me) I was only able to go to the fair for about 3 hours this year. However, unfortunately (for the I-want-to-eat-deep-fried-everything-because-it's-the-state-fair me) I was only able to be at the fair for about three hours this year. The company was definitely the best part of the day, so thanks to the Hanson's, Storlie's, and Gavin's for letting me hang out with them again over the weekend.

Meeting up with them worked out swimmingly because the shuttle I was on dropped off by the Haunted House, across the street from the Horticulture building - and they were right behind it. I'm glad I didn't have to try to find them in the mess.

One of the first things we came across after I got there was - you saw it - the Spring Grove Soda Pop stand!!! If you haven't had it, or don't know why I'm excited, you're missing out totally. Spring Grove is one small town over from where I grew up and it was always a treat to get Spring Grove pop. I had strawberry, because it's the best. It's even better over ice cream - but they didn't have any.

Then we hit up the animal buildings. First, the miracle of birth center which is always fun. I think I mentioned in last year's post that the animal barns are probably more fun for someone who didn't grow up on a farm... but how can you resist this face?

After the miracle of birth center, we walked through the coliseum to see what was going on. They were showing cows. Then Kyle, Reagan, Harlee, Joan, and I walked through the cow barn and talked about our favorites. The others went cowboy/girl belt shopping.

Then, of course, the pig barns. Harlee petted a pig (don't worry, we know that pig). And we saw the largest pig in Minnesota (we do NOT know that pig.)

We ended the time at the animals there and went to the heritage area - and had some deep fried mushrooms.

While the girls went to pick up their aforementioned belts, I went to the deep fried pickle stand (I'll have two, please.) Don't worry, I shared with the group. Love. I can't believe the kids don't like these. Oh, well. More for us. I agree with Kyle, though, that the stand needs to be bigger - it's always SUPER busy.

Harlee and Carson were having a good time, I think. Aren't they awesome? I think so, too.

Time for a beer. The crowds are starting to get to me. (Grainbelt Nordeast - a nice local brew.)

Unfortunately, I had to leave shortly after that. :(  But I did pick up some deep fried cookie dough on the way out. Turns out I like cold cookie dough more than deep fried. Also, I like my cookie dough in balls smaller than a golf ball dipped in funnel cake batter. Disappointed, but glad I tried it so I wasn't left wondering what could have been!

Sadly, that was the extent of my food at the fair this time due to the time limitations (happily for my heart.) The state fair is full of mixed feelings. However, if you want to see what a real champ can do at the fair, check out last year's post. Last year, I was a champ. And irresponsible, fulfilled champ.

Sometime after the cow barn and before the pig barn, this is what happened to Reagan -- and it lasted at least until I left. She must have still been tired from last night's turkey.

Laura and I decided that it would be awesome to make strollers for adults and have a stand at the fair. People could rent one and have someone walk them around for an hour or two if they needed a nap during the middle of their time there. How awesome would that be if you could "sleep and rally!" at the fair?

I also liked my friend Janine's idea that she posted on facebook - she said that after all of that walking, she could have used an ibuprofen on a stick. Or even better, deep fried ibuprofen on a stick. I like where your head is, Janine... I like where your head is.

My only regret is not getting the cheese curds (mmm......) Maybe I'll have to go back.

Did you go to "the fair" this year? What was your favorite part?

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