Wednesday, September 12, 2007

Vlog on a Stick

Always one to indulge in local flare and culture, I chose to go to the Minnesota Stories vlog. Beyond the interest in Minnesota life, I also heard there were restaurant reviews on the site. Never being one to decline a suggestion to eat anywhere, I thought this was the vlog for me.

Oddly enough, I chose the video, "Minnesota State Fair on a Stick." I say "oddly enough" because I, myself, hate the State Fair with a passion that only other State Fair haters could understand. But there is just something about it, much like a train wreck, that makes me watch when it's on TV, or listen when someone is talking about it. Does it make me dislike the artery clogging food, the rides, the people, the ridiculousness any less? Never.

So I watched the video, which was basically over five minutes of people holding insert-quirky-food-product on a stick and then eating said quirky-food-product on a stick. As one would imagine, there were things that seemed more tangible to be on a stick: shrimp, fruit, chunks of meat (apparently State Fair goers don't understand that this is more often referred to as a "kabob" rather than "--- on a stick"). Then there were the products that just plain bordered on insanity: spaghetti, pork chops, candy bars, TWINKIES. People were decked out in true State Fair attire as well: plastic bead necklaces that made them look like they just stepped off the plane after a long night of Mardi Gras, paper visors with pig ears on them (I don't even want to know why), and the ever popular concession stand uniform, complete with apron and hairnet.

With my usual cynicism, I rolled my eyes, thinking, "typical." But the longer I watched, which I am shocked to say was the entire video, the more I started to see something about State Fair fans that I hadn't noticed before. It was this ironic awareness of the frivolity the State Fair seemed to have. People had ordered these products for the sheer pointlessness of the product, well aware that what they had just bought held no value of nutrition, taste or bragging rights. They bought it because that's what you just do at the State Fair. For an entire day, let all inhibitions go and wear paper pig ears and eat something that may kill you instantly, just for the hell of it.

Maybe the people that loved the fair loved it for the same reasons that I hated it. It wasn't that the entire time I had been missing out on some secret area of the fair that was actually cool. But rather, it was that these people had come to respect and enjoy the shameless freakishness the State Fair embodies so well.

This video was made by people that probably shared a distaste for the State Fair like I do. But by the end, they saw it too: the sheepish smiles the people gave as they held up their stick and then ate it, the way the final boy kept explaining how it was the most unhealthy food on the planet. They knew this is what the fair was about all along. This video was made for people that love and hate the State Fair. Hopefully the haters can see past the surface of the State Fair to what I saw. It wasn't a location I had missed; it was an entire attitude of giving in to ridiculousness for a day that I never understood. Has this made me want to go to the State Fair? Hell, no. But I do have a new found respect for it and the people that go.

Here's the video if you were so interested:

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