It’s state un-fair time again
Aug. 25, 2014
by Ivan Raconteur

The annual start of The Great Minnesota Get Together is a cause for rejoicing for many residents of the Gopher State, but it puts me in a more irritable mood than usual.

It’s not that I have anything against the state fair. On the rare occasions that I have attended the event, I have found it mildly entertaining.

I’m not sure why people find the concept of “everything on a stick” so fascinating, but there is definitely plenty to eat, and I have never left the event hungry.

There is a hint of adventure in any activity that demands one start the day early in the morning with a foot-long hot dog with all the trimmings (a tradition to which an old pal introduced me many years ago).

I don’t think I could cope with that kind of breakfast every day, but it seems fine every decade or so, which is about how often I make it to the fair.

A small dose of the fair goes a long way, as far as I am concerned.

The state fair also provides ample opportunity for people-watching, an activity that I enjoy. It’s a bit like going to the zoo, and observing the animals from inside their enclosures.

At least I suspect that’s what it is like. I have never entered an animal enclosure at a zoo, and I recommend that others avoid it as well.

The reason the state fair makes me a bit owly has nothing to do with the fair itself. My irritation stems from what the state fair represents, vis-à-vis the calendar.

In the newspaper business, our schedules are largely driven by events.

Every year, the cycle seems to accelerate.

It seems like we go from covering graduations to community festivals to new teacher profiles in the blink of an eye.

The start of the state fair is an inescapable sign that summer is coming to an end.

It reminds me of all the things I wanted to accomplish over the summer, but didn’t, and that makes me surly.

The start of the fair reminds me of the trips I haven’t taken, and the projects I haven’t finished.

Fair season reminds me I haven’t spent nearly enough time on the golf course or at the beach.

Obviously, these shortcomings have nothing to do with the state fair, but the fair is the thing that reminds me of the passing of time and instills a sense of urgency.

It’s not the fair’s fault I haven’t managed to do all the summer things, but it seems un-fair that summer flew by so fast.

I suppose that’s why, in my mind, the end of August always seems to be un-fair time, rather than fair time.

Winter seems to linger forever, like a toothache; but summer passes much too quickly, like an evening with a good friend.

The really unfair part is that it is getting faster every year.

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