Land of 10,000 Pages: MSP Reading Time- “State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get Together”

Hey, new name for an old segment! In conjunction with my BookLikes book blog, Reading Rainstorm, I’ll continue to host some Minnesota themed book discussion here under the name Land of 10,000 Pages. Plenty of time to read books in the winter, so here is a taste of the summer!

Last year, I recall sharing a list from the City Pages, Maggie LaMaack’s 50 Things to Do in Before You Die; a year later, I have not yet had the chance to attempt some of the tops of my list. WIth closer proximity, I’m hoping to do something about that this year, once the weather gets warmer. Among the entries was “try something on a stick at the Great Minnesota Get Together.” It has probably been a good ten years since I’ve ventured into the odd little rural campus in the middle of the Midway-Hamline neighborhood and looked around, despite going through that area all the time.

The last week, I found myself packing up books gleaned from many library book sales (see here), deliberating on whether I should hold on to them or pass the along at the next one, or even try to milk a few bucks out of Half Price Books. The temperature in my apartment has been a bit less than temperate in recent weeks and, as I bundled up with an extra sweater and hoodie, rubbing my numb hands together to return the feeling to them, I paused to flip through a book to be weeded; State Fair: The Great Minnesota Get Together, a coffee table book by photographer Susan Miller. A withdrawn library book I’d picked up at a booksale a few years ago, it’d been sitting on my shelf picking up dust before I picked it up and read through in the dead of the Minnesota winter.

The vibrant photos of all of those Minnesota State Fair standards; farm animals, unhealthy food on sticks, all you can drink milk (a childhood favorite), carnival rides, crowds. A quick, easy read, it really did bring a bit of the feeling of late summer into my freezing apartment and did a good job capturing the essence of the fair. It’s good to get a little taste of summer as the wind chills dip into the double digits below zero one again and we can transport ourselves to a warmer season.

In spite of a few stories collected from fair goers by Lorna Landvik in the forward, the photos are included with minimal explanation or description, with some juxtaposing images such as “favorite fare” (corn on the cob) and “fair favorite” (the Fair’s “Space Tower). These are fun, but on the other hand don’t offer much insight. Still, I enjoyed it, and it sparked my desire to, once late August rolls around, return to see how things have changed. now that I am clearing off my shelves, it will be available once again to hang out on yours!


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