Day 10 of my 13th fair season. 154 consecutive days of state fair attendance. The last time I missed a day of the Great Minnesota Get-Together, Bill Clinton was president, 9/11 hadn't happened yet and our biggest collective fear was this upcoming Y2K thing. I was single and living alone and trying to burn up some vacation time by going to the fair every day with my brand new Kodak 2.1 mexapixel camera and posting the results on something called a "blog". It was a fun way to amuse myself. And then it just took on a life of its own.
Now I find myself married (thanks to the fair) with two famously stubborn basset hounds. And a great life that's certainly more balanced than it was those many years ago. And one that still needs a little more rebalancing.
Open all the doors and let you out into the world
Two nights ago I spent a perfect evening with my sweetie listening to the Jayhawks and Semisonic, followed by fireworks and a big blue moon dazzling in the sky.
This is what going to the fair should be about. This kind of moment.
And so, with that revelation, I made the decision and yesterday was my last visit for the year. The streak ends at 154 days... I'm skipping town to spend a little time with my beautiful wife and hounds and to sip wine and nosh on s'mores by the shore of Lake Superior. We found a little cabin that was available and allowed dogs, and that was it. Booked it. Gave away my remaining tickets and just spent my last day wandering around with my Mom.
Time for you to go out to the places you will be from
So next year, having broken my streak, I can just start with a blank slate and do the fair any ol' which way I want to. No blueprint or allotted days. And no streak to continue. And I haven't really decided what to do about the blog or the pictures, but time will tell.
Every new beginning comes from some other beginning's end
Hoist up a cold one if you're heading to the fair. I'll be with you in spirit. It's a little weird getting up early, packing the car, and driving away from my house so close the fair. And heading up north where it's quiet and cool while a hundred thousand people parade through my neighborhood. But we'll be home in a day and as soon as the trucks and equipment clear out, we'll head back to the fairgrounds to take our walks amid deserted streets, and Sammy and Maddy will find discarded scraps of pork chop bones and french fries and Elizabeth will be relieved that the sky glider is no longer gliding. And then we'll walk back out through the entrance gates, down Midway Parkway to our little house, waiting for the leaves to fall and then the snow. And then an even longer wait until next August, when something new will happen.
New fair activity yesterday -- we bought a 100 lb. granite bird bath. Believe me, that's a lot heavier than the giant stuffed gorillas or penguins we've seen you other yahoos toting around. Fortunately, the good thing about living a few blocks from the fair is that you can just borrow a cart and have it toted home in a few minutes. And our backyard birds seemed to enjoy the new bath on such a hot day.
Some of the pictures turned out a little wonky today. The biggest dilemma I face when I leave each day is deciding which camera lens I'm going to use (I'm too lazy to swap out lenses on the go). My favorite is a Canon 24-105 mm f4 L IS lens with a polarizing filter because it's very flexible for all types of outdoor shooting. It's biggest downside is that it's not very fast, so indoor and/or action photos suffer in quality. I knew that trying to take pictures of a rodeo were not going to turn out in focus, but I gave it a try anyway. And guess what? I actually like the results. Blurry, yes, but it really captures the action element to it. So, I'm keeping those pictures. A happy little accident...
Tonight I'll leave the big cameras at home so I can just go over and enjoy the MN Music-On-A-Stick show.
The past couple of days were the fair equivalent of the 7th-inning stretch. I went over for a little bit last night to get some night photos, and now that I've got my schedule arranged for the rest of the weekend I should be back in full fair mode. Fortunately, Elizabeth is free as well so we're going to start things off with breakfast this morning and then start working through our bucket list.
Pictures will be later. It's gonna be a hot one today, we we're planning for an early start...
Slowing things down a bit today. Had fun yesterday with my nephews & niece, but today I need to eat vegetables, clean the house, spend some quality time at the dog park with my hound, and then prepare for the last weekend. Maybe I'll just go over for a bit tonight to take some evening pictures.
It's going to be a family day today. My twin nephews and niece are coming over the afternoon to do some "fun" stuff at the fair (rides, food, games)... His parents can take them to the educational stuff tomorrow. And then at some point I'll probably run into my Dad who's on his yearly pilgrimage to pick up pencils and tote bags.
So, time to get started. Here's some pictures from yesterday...