Fair time!


This is the week of the Stevens County Fair, right here in bucolic Morris, Minnesota. It starts on Wednesday, 9 August and runs through Sunday the 13th, so you all still have time to start heading out this way. It’s your classic rural fair: there will be accordions, deep-fried anything on a stick, pig-judging, carnies, a demolition derby, country-western music, lawn mower races, 4H kids, and tractors, snowmobiles, and ice houses for sale. You have not lived until you have experience a midwestern county fair.

(Oh, and don’t eat the food if you want to continue living. It’s like jabbing your aorta with a turkey baster clogged full of pure cholesterol.)

I think we’re planning on having our weekly Drinking Liberally session at the beer garden at the fair, so there’s another reason for coming on Thursday evening.

I’m going to be there just about every day. I volunteered to man booths at various hours for UMM, our local humane society, and the Stevens County DFL. Come on down—the fair is free, parking is free, it is the thing to do in August.


  1. Xanthir says

    (Oh, and don’t eat the food if you want to continue living. It’s like jabbing your aorta with a turkey baster clogged full of pure cholesterol.)

    Bah, PZ, you pansy. You should have been raised in Texas. We eat nothing but cholesterol here.

    This would probably be why Houston is America’s fattest city.

  2. says

    I love the fair – I usually go 2-3 times while ours (Do the Puyallup! is going on, just to make sure I get a good sampling of the horses, cows, llamas, goats, chickens!, rabbits, crafts…

    …and scones, and of course the buffalo burgers. But hey, I’ve been taking my omega-3s, and my blood lipids look just fine, thank you very much!

  3. Kagehi says

    I remember fairs.. Where sort of fun, though, where I was, never free. Then LA, who owns the land water rights and thus the property use decided that charging 50% what the same “LA” land would rent for, decided to up the costs for venders, entry fees, building use, etc. That year 90% of the stuff that used to “fill” the four exhibit buildings had been reduced to what could have fit in two buildings, the number of rides was cut in half, the number of game booths where about 60% normal, the number of food venders.. Well, lets say they used to have them lining two avenues “and” the food building, last time I went they couldn’t even get the entire food building filled.., most of the entertainment was gone. Then they moved it to midsummer (90-100 degree weather and no shade), instead of fall, where “occationally” you might get rained on or need a coat, but you could at least stand walking through the grounds, so even the people so bored that they went anyway started to wonder why they bothered…

    Needless to say, unless something has changed, it still probably sucks and would probably cost less to drive to the LA area and visit Disney Land or Magic Mountain.

    But, I definitely have some fond memories of the “original” fair, before it got completely screwed up.

  4. says

    Dammit, that sounds really nice. There’s a lot of really quaint and interesting stuff that I wanted to do when I was in the states, and eating weird stuff that came on sticks at a county fair was remarkably high on the list. And you have drinking too! If only I wasn’t (a) X thousand miles away; and (b) rather poor, I would be there in a flash.

  5. Opiwan says

    Damn PZ, any small-town festival will do for Cholesterolpalooza. The one in my hometown is famous for ribeye steak sandwiches, fried dough and funnel cakes, and handmade deep fried potato-onion pierogies… a veritable PA Dutch bonanza! Oh, and there’s polka bands, too. Shweet!

  6. says

    I love country fairs. They are pretty much the same no matter the country except for a few differences. I got to go to one in Vermont. They had Fried Dough…which has to be the most untastyest sounding thing ever, but totally impressed me. So did the Demolition Derby and the stall pretending that Australians actually drink Fosters. Newsflash- we don’t.
    Have fun and eat your bodyweight in Fairy Floss for me.

  7. D. Rifkind says

    …there will be accordions, deep-fried anything on a stick, pig-judging…

    I can’t tell you how disappointed I am to realize that I misread that, and that there will not in fact be pig-juggling.

  8. Stogoe says

    Iowa’s fair is a lot like the one you describe, PZ, except it’s for the whole state, lasts ten days, and everyone in the state is legally required to go and laugh at all the mullets and oversexualized 13 year olds.

    *They’re not legally required to go, but they might as well be…

  9. says

    The way it’s supposed to work is you have the county fairs, and then the best from the county fairs go to the state fair . . . but here in Dallas County, all we get is a month of the Texas State Fair (sing with the movie: “Our state fair is a great state fair! It’s the best state fair in the state!”) Here they have buttered and larded deep-fried cholesterol, rolled in ice cream and sugar.

    And growing up, we had the Utah State Fair in Salt Lake City, with a good rodeo.

    But my favorites are two county fairs: The Cassia County fair in Burley, Idaho, where my father used to have a booth showing Hot Point appliances, and I got to blow up 10,000 balloons with a big tank of helium, where the French fries were potatoes in the ground less than a week ago and experimentation was always a good thing; and the Dutchess County Fair in Rhinebeck, New York, which has about as much in the way of animals as most state fairs, plus great pottery and other crafts. It’s worth the trip — forget Broadway for once, and go to the Dutchess County fair.

    Oooooh. And the sheep dogs at the Texas State fair. You gotta see them!

  10. Bob O'H says

    …4H kids…

    4H? Isn’t that a grade of pencil? You might want to have the lead levels in your water checked.


  11. Dr. Steve says

    Come one come all to the Big E. AKA the Eastern States Exposition – a once-a-year 6-state fair (ME, NH, VT, MA, CT, RI) held near springfield MA.

    Vermont cheese melted onto Maine baked potatoes served by priggish Connecticut skanks.

    Or Rhode Island style clam chower (clear broth, if you don’t know) with a side of maple sugar candy that you eat while listening to D-list bands like Boz Skaggs.

  12. says

    Growing up in Edmonton, We had “Klondike Days” which was a lot like a state fair on steroids. Still had the midway and the agricultural/youth club shows, but also encompassed the horse race track, temporary casinos, live bands, and an annual trade expo.

    Kinda spoiled me on the real thing when we visited one in upstate New York years later.

  13. says

    At the South Carolina state fair, there were Oreos.

    Battered and deep-fried Oreos.

    On a stick.

    Snickers bars also got the same treatment. I think I became unhealthier merely by seeing them.

  14. Cris says

    Minnesota, Minnesota, We are south of Manitoba
    we are east of North Dakota, we’ve got something really rare
    It’s fulfilling, entertaining, it’s true culture you’ll be gaining,
    Accept no imitations, it’s the fair!

    Saw a friend from Wisconsin and he said “Yah hey,
    you gotta see the crop art it’ll blow you away”
    “Yah sure you bet, boy they don’t know when to quit
    I’m goin’ to see the butterheads you wanna come with?”

    At the fair there’s not lack of food, you simply take your pick,
    You can find almost anything sittin’ on a stick.
    Pronto pups, mini-doughnuts, and an ice cold beer
    I gotta get my cheese curds I’ve been waiting all year.

    After all the food I’ve eaten now I only have a hunch
    I’ll go out on the midway and I’ll probably lose my lunch.
    The Tilt-A-Wheel is one thing but I just cannot conceal
    My heart’ll stop right at the top of the double ferris wheel

    Ann Reed

  15. says

    This reminds me of the last time I went to the Central Washington State Fair in Yakima. It turned out to be tedious because I discovered that the people I went with were only interested in seeing how much cholesterol they could ingest in two hours (they actually had a mental list of all the different kinds of junk they just HAD to eat); I never did get to see the quilts.

    Then, just to top things off, I managed to completely stop all conversation dead by telling the professional eaters I was with that I didn’t want to eat anything at a certain booth because I don’t support Christian organizations.

    Loooonnnnggggg silence.

  16. says

    PZ, Morris is BIG TIME. The Washington County Fair (Oregon) is just 4 days (Thurs-Sun). And while the fair is free, parking costs.

    All the usual: greasy eats, assorted domesticated animals and prizes for baked goods and place settings. The most entertaining thing this year was the fact that the Pro-Choice booth was situated right next to the Republican Party booth.