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Monday, September 5, 2011

48 UP - 48 DOWN - Klecko's Golden Star Winner Revealed


I've never given birth to a child, but I have heard women discuss postpartum blues.

I think that's what I get each year on the last night of the Fair.

After selling out the last remnants of Blueberry / Lemon breakfast breads, Klecko grows an impish smirk knowing that there will be no bread orphans in the Creative Activities Annex tonight.

With this knowledge, the Fairs premiere baker will slide off the grounds w/o any well wishing or emotional good byes.

Instead Klecko goes to the bus stop, stands while everybody else is sitting, and slowly rocks himself left to right.The swaying is more than's hypnotic.

It's Labor Day, and the buses are running on the holiday schedule, so I decided to buckle down and prepare for an extended wait.

While doing this, I decided to decompress by multi tasking in my head.

The left side of my mind decided to run a postmortem on my event roster. I felt like the time was appropriate to determine which acts were great, and who (if anybody) might need to be bumped off of next years docket.

As mentioned earlier, I wouldn't need to put a lot of thought into which of the 48 shows would receive this years annual (KGS - Award), or Klecko's Golden Star.....

That was pretty much sewn up during show #2 of 48 by Lee Svitak Dean with her German Spaetzle presentation, so on behalf of the Saint Agnes Demo Kitchen, congratulations Lee.

The right side of my brain was thinking simultaneously, however it had the unfortunate task of preparing my fragile psyche for what I knew would lie ahead tomorrow........

Clean up at the Fair.

If you chose a number that signified how much I love the first day of the Fair, Christmas morning or rollerskating with chimps.....

The number for my hatred of Fair clean up day would be double that.

You see, as I sit and throw these words out into cyber space,over 90% of the vendors are just starting to pack their gear.

These people are nomads, they're Gypsies, and if I am not mistaken....I think their next Fair pit stop is in Seattle.

These pirates will work throughout the night to ensure that by the time I go back tomorrow in the late morning.......the only evidence of their existence will be presented by pallet jack skids or the whispering of their ghosts.

O-M-G it is disheartening.

After all those weeks of sensory overload,I have to walk alone into an off white silence. Into a warehouse space that will serve as a magnet for fractured cardboard bundles, and dust bunnies piles the size of a crippled terrier.

These thousand friends that I have been privileged to celebrate my State with....well as of this moment, they are no longer a continuous thread of energy, now our collective joy will be placed into envelopes of memories.

Just thinking about this makes me suffer from a disease called depression!

The 84 MTC pulls up now, and as usual, Klecko moves towards the back of the bus.

There has never been assigned seating, but for some reason unknown to me, the minorities and thugs gravitate towards the back, while the upper middle class white people do their best to nab the seat directly behind the driver at the front of the bus.

I don't know what they're thinking....I mean if some type of melee broke out, what do the yuppies think? Are they expecting that our driver is going to act as a 4th grade teacher and present an authority strong enough to suppress an outbreak of violence? really cracks me up. I have sat in the "Thug" seats for a decade and not only have I never been tampered with, but I haven't even seen anything as strong as a heated verbal altercation.

As the bus launches and begins moving Klecko closer to home, I called Sue McGleno to tell her to make me a Caesar salad with broiled chicken, then she caught me up on her recent trip to the mall, and read a list of things she declared as mandatory purchases.... but then the bus came to halt at the next stop.

We were on the south end of the Fair grounds and then as the families began to file into our bus, a small red headed girl with pig tails came rushing down the aisle as her father fumbled for the appropriate coinage to place in the meter.

The kid had freckles and was the spiting image of that girl you see on the Wendy's french fry carton.

You should of seen him recoil in fear when he noticed that his daughter was in the back of the bus and in the midst of this rag-tag looking mob.

Out of the dozen of us sitting back there, I'd be willing to say that I might have looked the most socially acceptable.

It's not very often I get to wear that crown.

Now the dad is in a quandary,because just like Christs 12 disciples, this pile of thugs (myself included) just sat in silence to see how Pippy Longstockings dad was going to handle this.

If he ignores the kid, well the bus consensus would be that he was negligent to let his daughter run a muck with us 3rd tier members of society, but if dude tells his kid to run back to the front of the bus, he's basically eluding that he thinks we are a threat to a 6 year old kid.

What would he do?

Before the father chose to decide, the daughter struck up a conversation with a black guy, I'm guessing 24ish, who had Old English font tattooed on his neck, and a fitted Phillie's baseball cap that still had the size 7 1/2 sticker on the hats bill.

Tattoo Neck was gracious to the kid,and while he answered questions as to whether or not getting his tat hurt, he kept raising his eyes to the father as if to see if he was going to man up and collect his offspring.

Some of the other guys in the back of the bus joined in the conversation now.

The kid was sitting on that row of seats over the wheel well. The seats that face side to side, instead of straight ahead, and while she talked, the kid kicked her legs back and forth.

But her dad plopped his a** 3 or 4 rows in front of her and tried to play off like his kid was a child of independence, but fear is a funny thing.

It has a smell like nothing else, although none of us discussed the situation, we all knew that the father was acting spineless and doing his best to cover his shame.

During the next 7 or 8 blocks it occurred to me, that for whatever reason it seemed like all the people who have nobody else in the world come to the Fair on it's last day.

Its like every Eleanor Rigby on the planet wants to gang thump you on the one day that they know your resistance is at it's lowest.

While sending my bread salesperson on break, a guy in a cat T-shirt walked up to my stand and started talking about all the strays he had rescued from downtown Saint Paul.

Sure the guy also had a cat necklace, and sure the guy had a cat backpack covered with cat buttons.

I could deal with that, but the part that simply ends up pushing you over the edge is that these people will poke-prod and sniff your products while they preach to you, whatever is the gospel of their life, but with that said, they a single loaf.

I dealt with dozens of scenarios like that today.

But now the bus pulled up to University Avenue, and the other 11 thugs got off. I was the only one that stayed on.

The dad of our little red head had survived.....or rather his daughter survived the 14 minutes where she was not closely attended to by her father while sitting amongst the brood of hooligans.

But dad was sitting in that chair that is on the right hand side of the bus,in that row of seats that rests by the stairwell and lets passengers off the middle of the bus.

So now Neck Tattoo is walking down that stairwell to get off, and for just one split second, his eyes were flush with the nervous father.

Would there be any interaction?

The little girl had already sent her newest friend off with a hearty good bye.

Just when I thought the dad was going to cower in his shame and remain silent....the timid mouse roared.......

"Thank you very much. Thank you for being nice to my daughter sir."

Then Neck Tattoo shot back a puzzled look, he wasn't trying to be a jerk, he was just befuddled by that comment so he replied.......

"Why wouldn't I be baby? That kid is all good."

So now that the "Metro Crowd" had left our presence, the little red headed kid ran back to her fathers side and ran off 28 sentences w/o so much as taking a breath.

Her Pops didn't even seem to be listening....

I think he was celebrating survival....although it may have come at the heaviest of prices.

Their drama might not of ended there, who knows...maybe this is where their future story would begin, but to be honest.....dudes cowardice actions were bringing me down.

So for the remainder of the bus ride I did my best to recall the dozens of new recipes I had learned, and in my heart I placed a brick of gratitude to each and every person who helped make this years show such a success.

To each and every one of you that put together a demo(s).....I thank you from the bottom of my heart.

And to those of you who tuned into our "At the Euro Table" theme...........

I am really in your debt for the kindness you showed us.

I know I've said this in the past, and I don't want this mantra to lose it's potency, but..........

I really do love most of you.

Who knows?????

Maybe we will all be lucky enough to do it again one day.


  1. Wow, life's never boring at the Klecko's :o)
    I congratulate you on another successful year at the Fair. Wish I had known about the European theme this year (was living in the Netherlands moving to the US). Ever had "stroopwafels"? So good! Maybe I'll be more lucky next year and we can work together on something :o)

  2. Hanaa, it was great meeting you at the Fair. I spent 2 hours in the Amsterdam airport with American dollars and Russian rubles in my pocket.
    To eat I had to convert cash with the loan sharks and ended up paying something like $25 for a personal pan pizza.
    I hope to work with you on an upcoming project for sure.
    Thanks for reading!

  3. Thanks to you for hosting such a great show. and you're right; Lee rocked. Danny Klecko is good for the Minnesota State Fair!

  4. They have very sophisticated loan sharks everywhere in the Netherlands when it comes to converting US dollars: crappy rate, a starting commission fee of 3 euros and then a commission percentage fee on top of that. But I agree, they seem to be even better at it at the airport :o) I think hubby paid $12 for a burger at Burger King at that airport.
    Hope you're all rested up by now! :o)

    Btw, at the Fair you mentioned something about involving the Turkish community. I was curious as to how you envision that collaboration. That will (hopefully) give me an idea as to what you're "looking for" in a project. If it's a "secret" and you can't discuss it yet, I understand. If not, please feel free to email me about it at HanaasKitchen [at] live [dot] com. Thank you!

  5. Wow! I'm honored. Klecko's Gold Star! Thanks for the opportunity. It was great fun.

  6. Hanaa, Klecko has no secrets...we will talk.

    Ms Svitak Dean....well deserved, you crushed it!