You know we're getting close to Fair time here in the land of 10,000 lakes.
For those of you who are unfamiliar with the Minnesota State Fair, it is arguably the most attended of State Fairs in the Untied States.
However, Texas will make an identital claim, I'm not going to fight over it, I'm down with the Lone Star state, but some of my fellow Minnesotan's are a little chapped because in the midst of the Texas Fair Grounds is the stadium were the Longhorns play college football, and it has been passed onto me that they count their football fanbase into their totals.
Either way, the Minnesota version is wonderful, more often than not people drive in from Iowa, Wisconsin, and the Dakota's to partake of these festivities.
This will be my 8th or 9th year where I will host a 48 culinary shows.
Each year we have a different theme, and each of my guest's will have to plug a recipe into said theme and the 2 of us will banter with our audience.
Over the years we've had mayors, food writers, people who supply NFL teams with food, people who feed the army, and chefs & bakers from every corner of the state.
As I get older, I find myself talking to people like an old man who loiters outside a hardware store......
"Yeah, I remember the Fair of 04, that was the year that the woman with blue hair passed out during my cookie demo. And while the medics were doing their best to revive her....some news station dude actually stepped over her slumped body to try to sneak an interview with my B-level co host.
And then there was the Fair of 07, sweet Jesus of Warsaw, not only did it rain throughout the entire Fair, but the water heater burst and the demo kitchen was flooded. That turned a 13 hour day, into a 19 hour crawl.
But if I had to pick which Fair sticks out in my mind....w/o a doubt it had to be the 09 Fair. From the very first second of the very first day I should have known things were going to be crazy.
Right in front of the main entry gate, 2 cars collided and one flipped upsidedown, while the other leaned against it and appeared to be doing a handstand on its grill.
It looked like something from a sculpture garden that was built with a 1.2 million dollar grant.
This was also the summer where those ultra-ultra low rider jeans were in vogue. I'll bet 25% of the women under 25 were wearing them. The back belt line sunk so low that 4 to 5 inches of butt crack protruded over the belt loop.
It was more than unnerving, it really was offputting. I get it, people are trying to express themselves, and a forward person shouldn't be ashamed to stare at God's creation, but c'mon.....butt cracks have there own set of rules, there never has, nor never will be a time when the general populace adopts a philosophy where "butt crack acceptance" becomes the norm.
If this wasn't enough to give us Midwestern Fairgoers something to discuss all winter, what occured on the last day of the Fair would for certain.
Some cowboy guy entered his bull into one of those farmyard beaty contest and his bull won first place. I forget the bulls name, but it was big and black, and looked like one of the demons from hell in the Dante's Inferno book.
Dude, was feeling all slick, cuz he was bringing this beast to its trailor with a blue ribbon in his hand. I don't know how cowboys think, or what they think about, but I imagine that in addition to a sence of pride, after the adrenaline rush dissipated it would be normal to consider breeding this stud out for some hard coin.
I don't know, but as the cowboy accompanied the bull across the Fair grounds, the leash thing slipped out of his hands and the horned creature was on the loose.
The cowboy's heart sunk to his spurs because after the instant relization that his prize was switching from a jog to a sprint, he noticed that this multi ton animal was headed directly towards a baby carrige.
The mother of the baby carrige was like 10 feet away, I can't remember if she was washing her hands, throwing away a diaper, I guess it doesn't matter, but her back was turned to this oncoming train wreck.
From all accounts, people who witnessed this said at that exact moment, everything just kinda turned slow motion, for one split-split-split second, they all shared an abject helplessness.
W/O time or ability to share conversation, the crowd were in telepathic agreement that the babys fate was within seconds of being snuffed out by this heavy breathing steam roller.
Then on a dime, as if gaurdian angels deflected the course like a goalie steers away a weak shot, the unthinkable happened, the bull stopped in its tracks.
The cowboy barked out instructions to the crowd to remain still, while the bull surveyed further target options.
Then almost turning 180 degrees, the bull twisted around, hit 0-40 quicker than a Corvette and lowered its head and buried the crown of his skull flush into a fire hydrant.
One second - two seconds - thr......
The bull didn't even make it to 3, it fell over dead.
While the cattle corpse lay on the pavement, security and media rushed in quickly in hopes of presenting a new Fair angle to the millions of viewers who follow our states premiere event on television.
NEWS REPORTER -
"Hey cowboy guy, are you pissed off that your award winning bull is dead?"
"If you were here and seen how that babies life was spared, all I can do is apoligize to the crowd, and ecspecially the babies parents for this unfortunate accident. All that matters tonight is that-that baby is going home safe."
Cowboys are cool.
Remember kids, exactly one week from this moment, I will be putting the final touches on the Saint Agnes Demo Kitchen.....I look forward to seeing you there.