Thursday, August 28, 2014

Minnesota State Fair 2014

It's late August in Minnesota, and that means it's time for the State Fair. Some food, some art, some crops, and a bit of random fairness.

First the food. The best thing I had was the blue cheese corn fritters with chimichurri sauce. Accompanied by a blue basil lemonade:

Just a little sweet and pretty spicy (from the sauce), with a crunchy outside. Mmmmm. They can be found at the new Blue Barn restaurant in the West End Marketplace, which has replaced Heritage Square.

The Blue Barn is the best-looking new building, too, though the new Fair history museum was also very nice.

When I get to the top of the slide, then I turn and I go for a ride:

This year we made our way to the south-end streets for the first time in a few years. We were rewarded by getting the chance to see one of the butter sculptures in process:

The two women (princess subject at left and butter sculptor at right) are inside a rotating glass case that's kept at refrigerator-temperatures.

We also stopped at the Miracle of Birth barn. I think it may be the first time I've been there since they rebuilt it into the huge palace it has become. The last time I visited its predecessor, it was basically a petting zoo for children.

Now it's a small arena for watching cows and pigs give birth. This calf, two days old, was born at the Fair. We saw another calf being born. They come out front-feet-first, then head, followed by the rest of the body and back legs.

It made me think about how novel it was for me, even though I grew up near farms, and how normal it is for all of the young 4Hers working in the building. Different worlds.

One of my favorite parts of the Fair is the Eco Experience building. The state's Pollution Control Agency does a tremendous job of visualizing data for the public. Two standouts from this year:

30 seconds-worth of paper that goes into landfills (instead of recycling) in the state every day.

The amount of clean water used in Minnesota by a family of four -- 320 gallons.

For the past few years, we've been perusing the student art in the Education building, critiquing which kindergarten art could possibly be the work of a child (with no help of a parent) and things like that. This year, I found myself enamored of the group projects, especially this colorful town made by a third-grade class at Hilltop Elementary School:

Close-ups of a couple show a rainbow roof:

And a multi-level house with stairs up the side and an open-air attic:

I also loved this set of mugs by North Saint Paul senior Julia Tanzer:

Then it was on to the crop art. The Doctor Who Tardis in dyed seeds was probably the best for detail:

It looked like cross-stitching. And check out the frame, which is also made from seeds.

Perennial winner Laura Melnick teamed up with Steve Sack (I assume the same Steve Sack who's the editorial cartoonist for the Star Tribune) to create this incredibly detailed Carmen Mooranda cow.

I'm always a sucker for a Scream homage, and I particularly liked the use of orange in this one, along with the use of the Stone Arch Bridge, St. Anthony Falls, and downtown Minneapolis in the background.

My favorite 3D entry by Maria Holmen.

Jill Moe made a nice parcheesi board from undyed seeds.

Among the youth entries, this tiger by Enrique Anthony had the most graphic punch and personality.

Education "reform" got some attention in the crop art and nearby scarecrow displays:

Maria Asp visualized the nature of testing compared to learning.

Leif Jurgensen created a nightmarish scarecrow holding a Scantron sheet and wearing a name tag that reads:

1. Standardized tests…

A. DAMAGE students
B. PUNISH teachers
C. DESTROY schools
D. PROFIT corporations
E. All of the above

CROWS aren't the only ones who should be SCARED.

Maria Asp (who also created the crop art above) made a student into a scarecrow.

Then it was on to the regular art show. I felt a bit overwhelmed by this point, and while I appreciated  many of the paintings, none of them spoke to me enough to be recorded for my personal posterity. Instead, I wanted to remember these:

"Prairie Skyscraper" photo by George Heinrich.

This hat, "She Was Restless for Adventure," was created by Jean Hawton, who is one of the show's jurors. Looking at it here in my bad photos doesn't come close to doing it justice because much of its beauty is in the details. Be sure to notice the snake encircling the brim...

...and the leaves embroidered on the other side.

"Formidable Toad" by Glenn McKillips is carved in Bedford limestone.

I love hooked rugs, and the one titled "The Man Who Sleeps Inside My Father" by Mary Logue was a beautiful example that inspires me to think about taking up the art.

I'm not sure why, but this glass skateboard deck really appeals to me. It's by Fredric Vilina.

And one final picture -- the best T-shirt I saw of the day:

My past Fair posts:


Mary Logue said...

Thanks for showing my hooked rug of my father. It's easy to learn how to hook. I could teach you in a few minutes--then it just takes a couple years to get good at it. Like so many things. Thanks again, Mary

Daughter Number Three said...

Thank you for making such a beautiful piece, and for stopping by to comment!