August 30, 2007

Minnesota State Fair, 2007

I've been so busy going to the fair I haven't had time to write about it. The weather has been perfect - warm enough to wear shorts, yet a hint of autumn in the air. The evenings are chilly, which makes for good snuggling while watching the fireworks.

The 10-In-1 tent was back again this year.* The freak-show-turned-human-oddities is always worth the five tickets to get in. (What does five tickets cost? Who knows? Taking five tickets off of your sheet of twenty makes the attraction seem less expensive than paying actual money to get in. Same goes for the rides. Would you pay $4 to go on a ride that lasts a minute and a half? Would you pay 4 tickets?) They have a bally** and everything. Poobah eats fire. Melinda swallows swords. Come on in and see more. How could you not?

This year the 10-in-1 had Zamora, the woman who turns into a gorilla right before your very eyes. I was pretty disappointed in this cheap knock-off of Zambora, the gorilla girl of years past. Don't ever confuse the two. The illusion of Zambora utilized dim lights and a hidden projector showing the actual transformation of the girl into a gorilla. The illusion of Zamora simply uses a lot of dry ice smoke and a trap door. Zambora scared the hell out of me. Zamora made me laugh.

This banner is for the original gorilla girl. It doesn't actually say "Zambora," but trust me, that was her name. She was alive on the inside, and the illusion was truly fascinating.

This is the banner for Zamora, the current gorilla girl. It says, "see her change," which you definitely do not. But since when do carnivals honor truth in advertising?

I'm very grateful for my nephews, who are now the only ones I'm able to go on the rides with. I've loved to ride the rides forever, and the spinnier, the higher, and the up-side-downer the ride is, the more I like it. However, this year I found my equilibrium to be a little off, and during the rides I couldn't keep my eyes open without hurling. It was kind of sad, and I hope this inner ear or circulation, or whatever problem is rectified by the time I go on more rides. They were fun, though, even though I couldn't watch while I was riding.

One evening we were fortunate to catch the concert at the Leinenkugel Lodge free stage. Dennis DeYoung. Yes, Dennis Frickin'-DeYoung. For free! It was a great concert, and he played for an hour and a half. Everyone loved it from the kids who have no idea who Styx were, to the middle-agers who grew up with Styx, to the oldsters who don't even like that rock-and-roll music. Fab. Absolutely fab. At the end he had the whole audience standing up and singing Sail Away. Dennis sounded as good as ever.

Come on down to the Minnesota State Fair. You just never know what you'll see.

* 10-In-1: Ten acts under one tent.

** Bally: a small demonstration on the outside of the tent designed to lure you into the tent to see more.

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