Tuesday, August 14, 2012

The State Fair Skeleton

Pearl Jam is blaring from the bread truck, while Klecko cruises down Snelling Avenue.

It's a week night, and although the sun is shining, one can sense Capitol City is tired.

We are amidst the dog days of summer, and although most of us are now thrilled to encounter the alternative weather that is preparing to stick us in igloos for 1/2 the year......

The energy is gone.

It's been a tough summer in the Twin Cities.

Most hotels, restaurants and food concepts have written this quarter off as a loss.

Our temps have been record high, it was hot, and people didn't eat or go out as much.

Everybody in the show, including myself is ready to welcome....chapter next.

So now I pull up to the intersection of Snelling & Selby.

On the South-East corner is a bar-restaurant call O'Garas. 

Saint Paul is filled with Irish joints, but O'Gara's is iconic.

In fact, above the bar is a series of rooms, I don't know if it's office space or apartment units, but I do know this is the space where Charles M. Schultz began penning his world famous Peanuts comic strip.

The street light stays red for an obscene amount of time. It always does at this intersection.

Klecko smirks remembering Snoopy, and then he proceeds to slink and mumble under his breath.......

"Don't call me daughter
Not fit to......
The picture
It will remind me."

Being true to the 90's.....I kinda mumbled more than sang, but as I did this, to my left, in a small Nisson is woman driver, a boy around 5ish who I'm guessing is her son, and somebody in the back seat that I can't quite make out.

The first thing I notice is that the 5 year old boy is surveying my left arm that is loosely hung from the drivers side window.

You can just tell this kid is taking mental notes of each tattoo inked up and down my arm, and from the look on his face.......

you can tell the kid kinda worships me.

Consequentially, the mom is looking over in our direction too, but she isn't looking at the Last American Baker, she's looking at the thrill in her sons eyes, and a look of panic, or worse yet...terror has seized control of her face.

My guess is while I was chanting Eddie Vetter lyrics, she copped a quick look at Klecko's guns (which consequentially are only 1 inch less in diameter than Scarlett O'Hara's waist) and realizing that these flesh temples have become a source of inspiration to her beloved son.....she's freaked out.

The light is still red.

Now the surreal body in the back seat straightens up.

I'm betting this was the daughter of the woman driving. This kid had a cast on her right arm, and her fingers that protruded though the opening were all purple-puffy and swollen.

Klecko's stomach turned.

I've never liked medical stuff.

To even think about blood,bones and organs...you know, stuff inside the body, well....I'm border-line phobic about it.

But with that said, I've always liked skeletons.

Skeletons are the bodies platform to opportunity. 

As I continued down Snelling, I passed the State Fair grounds, took a deep breath and crossed myself.

10 days until the Great Minnesota Get Together starts.

Many of my demo kitchen guests are contacting me, I'm still staffing our product booth, and I'm trying to keep things afloat during my absence.

I think it's safe to say, even-though I know all will end well, I still am overwhelmed.

But then I start thinking about body stuff, and how I never stop to think about, or be grateful for my big Pollack bones, and then I get clever and begin to paint a Jesus like parable to myself.

I know it sounds corny, but in some ways, I think one of the coolest perks I've ever experienced in life has been being able to witness what takes place behind the scenes of America's biggest State Fair.

Over a month before the extravaganza kicks off there is a whole army, literally a city of people amist the grounds getting everything built out, and in perfect running order.

Sure, bodies are bodies, and workers are workers.....but the people servicing the Minnesota State Fair do this with a sense of pride and urgency.

They won't settle for anything less than perfect.

My demo kitchen is in the Creative Activities building.

It is but a grain of sand on the ocean we call State Fair, but none the less, my little corner of the universe has an impressive volunteer staff that will work countless hours for weeks prior to opening day.

These people set up my building, take in the zillion baked and food entries, then they judge them, tag them and then place ribbons on the winners and then place these masterpieces strategically in display cases that would fill an entire Wal Mart store.

The space is huge, and it is just one building out of a 1000.

I won't even venture to guess how many peeps it takes to keep my building afloat, but I'm guessing 75ish.

And that's not even counting the Admin Women who camp out just across the street from my building.

Fickett, Gid and Rah are akin to Keebler Elves and pretty much live inside of this space year round.

Sure, they have a list of minions who assist them, but 365 days a year these beautiful-beautiful woman set there focus onto details that will assure a life time of tradition and memories.

But the second the Fair kicks off, it could be EZ for people to get caught up in the energy, and forget the collective commitment.......the skeleton that had to be in place before an entire State could celebrate another year together.

Every time you go to a Fair, a stadium event, the opera, a Little League game......you can be certain there has been an army of volunteers that put in a full day before you even stepped onto the field.

OK......the rant is officially over, almost.........

Fick-Gid.....Rah.......Love you guys, thanks for all you do.


  1. Replies
    1. Can't wait to hear your encouraging voice and visit your demo kitchen on my break - to sit among your adoring fans and learn another delicious recipe - you are the best and the State Fair wouldn't be the same without your sense of pride and urgency too!