Just returned from opening day of the statefair and remembered this thing I wrote last year that was meant to be published somehwere but, for whatever reason, never did. It’s sort of more bitter and angry than it should be, probably because I was working at the statefair. No, that’s definitely why. I hated working there. I hated being there, working. Anyrate, the statefair really isn’t so bad. It’s loud and hot and obnoxious, but it’s also a pretty good time. But, yeah, I thought it was as good a time as any to post this, even if it’s a year late. Hindsight and distance has made me much more forgiving as well.
So go to the statefair, even if you think you hate it. Because, really, it’s not that bad, and you might even have a great time. Eating deepfried everything with the fatties.
Almost 2,000,000 in attendance this year, the Minnesota Statefair has been around almost as long as Minnesota’s been an american state. I know most, maybe even all, states have a statefair, but, from what I understand, ours is one of the best. A statement that should probably be qualified in some way that explains how statefairs are never really that cool. But people come from neighboring states to see what all the hullabaloo is about and I suppose I don’t blame them. It’s obnoxiously expensive and full of disgusting people and the best unhealthy food you’ll likely ever see. Everything is deepfried. Deepfried candybars on a stick made of deepfried spaghetti. Deepfried icecream in a deepfried pie covered in deepfried hotfudge. The worst thing in the world but it tastes like a dream you never meant to have. It’s like a zoo that allows you into the monkey pit to throw feces around with the locals.
Everyone has gone, no matter how above it all they may seem. If you’re from Minnesota, you’ve been to the statefair. Probably more than ten times, depending on age. Probably pretty recently, too. And as much as I say I hate the statefair, it seems that future me never remembers until I get to the gates and that horrible feeling of dread drops into my bowels and I know I’ve made another horrible decision.
I worked there this year, which is a first for me. Most people begin working at the fair when they’re in middle school, but I somehow found myself there at the ripe age of twenty four as a rookie. The French Fry stand is where I found myself ten of the twelve days, sitting around playing Pokemon Ruby for the first time, which is a story for another time, because, for once, this isn’t really about me, but about some of the strangest things I noticed there.
** lonelydrunk people ride the midnight bus
And I found myself amongst them. Because of my financial and vehicular insufficiencies, I found myself busing it back and forth. Initially I tried bringing a book for the ride but the first night taught me this was stupid. The bus is full of drunk people. And not the level of drunkenness that make strangers into friends in a charming sort of way. But that obnoxious precipice where their emotions are teetering, blown by a wind they can’t comprehend, landing moment into a nebulous void of anger or sadness or libidinous awkwardness. Luckily for me, I look like I’m sixteen so most people left me alone.
** everyone is drunk–everyone
Honestly. Every single person at the fair is drunk. Whether they be twelve or seventy, whether they be an employee or just a random girl on the giantslide: that person is drunk. Seriously.
** the creeps come out at night
What constitutes rape, legally, was common knowledge at the French Fry stand. Why, I wondered aloud. And it’s because the fair is populated by adolescent girls and extremely drunk adult men. For most of the day, this isn’t such a problem, but at night it becomes increasingly uncomfortable to watch a midlife crisis happen ten feet from you and right in front of the JV volleyball teamer just trying to give the guy a bucket of french fries. There’s a sort of casual misogyny happening at the fair that’s hard to understand, and it’s not just the random creeps who stumble drunkenly towards those flickering neon light. It was even with the guys I worked with, openly discussing how much they want to shove their turgid members into the poor girl standing just five feet from me, wearing the same uniform as both of us.
** everything is loud and expensive and no one recycles
Loud as in hurtsyourears decibels. The price is getting absurd, too. Before you even enter the gates, you’ve already spent twenty dollars. Everything to eat is at least five dollars but probably closer to eight. For a family of four to go there, it’s not really that unreasonable to spend upwards of three or five hundred dollars. Seriously. Eventually, I think, they’ll come to an impasse. People are making less and less money while prices are going higher and higher, so the tipping point must be near where people just say No and stop going. I hope for that day. But, consumerism being what it is, it’ll probably be too far off. No one recycles as in there is trash everywhere and everything is trash because no one can be bothered to hold onto their plastic bottle long enough to find the bin probably within eyesight. I mean, I understand, I suppose. Everyone being so utterly incomprehensibly drunk on expensive light beer usually means that general civility and decency sort of just gets left behind, in soberer hands. Assuming you can find any.
** they should rename it honkeyfest
Minnesota, admittedly, is not the most ethnically diverse state, but you’d think everyone was an ugly fat saxon.
** everyone is fat
Did I mention this yet? I should probably mention it several more times. All the fatties come out to eat their summer diet into oblivion.
** country music
When did everyone start loving country music so much? I feel as if I slept through it. The statefair has a concert every day and most of these were for country music stars, which means I couldn’t name who was performing. But, I suppose, on the plus side, a lot of country fans tend to be attractive ladies. Of course, by the end of the concert, they’re even drunker and sloppier and more obnoxious on the bus, but I don’t think it’s legal to wear a cowboy hat sober so it’s best to overcompensate.
And that, I suppose, is what I learnt from the Minnesota Statefair this year. It’s quite a bit different being on the other end of the experience, working and being there all day and watching the humans trudge around.
I doubt I’ll return.
But probably will. Maybe even next year.