Thursday, August 25, 2016

And So It Begins ... The Great Minnesota Get Together

Yesterday was both positive and negative so, all in all, a balanced day. Drummerwench was unable to get the car she had thought available to her, so had to cancel lunch at the last minute. It was sad to not be able to catch up this year, but hopefully we'll get together the next time she comes up to the Frozen Northlands. I had a small birthday gift for her which I'll just mail to her instead. Not the end of the world, but a small disappointment.

Sharon is my long-time BFF, but Aearwen has become a
great friend over the years also. I am very fortunate in
my friends. I don't have a lot of them, but each one is
extremely special, talented, and such fun! 

On the other hand, Aearwen and I were finally able to catch up and have a good conversation late yesterday afternoon. Life had gotten in the way for us over the past two weeks, so we had a lot of things to talk and catch up with - but then, we always do. We talk about anything and everything and before we know it, our hour has rushed by. It was wonderful to hear her voice again.

I love the Minnesota State Fair, but I know a lot of people don't
like the crowds and the traffic. For me, it's a great place to spend
a day (or three), people watching, while wandering the grounds or
just sitting on the patio at O-Gara's, listening to bagpipes
and drinking a Guinness. Heaven! 

Today is the first day of the "Great Minnesota Get-Together" aka the Minnesota State Fair. Our state fair has been held annually since 1859, the year after we achieved statehood. Our current fairgrounds were purchased and made our permanent home in 1885. The Fair has been held every year except five: 1861 & 1862 it was not held because of (1) the Civil War and (2) the Dakota Indian conflict; 1893 a scheduling conflict with the World's Columbian Exhibition in Chicago forced calcellation; in 1945 fuel shortages because of World War II meant that many would have been unable to get to the Fair; and, 1946 a Polio epidemic forced cancellation because of public safety. With those exceptions, the Minnesota State Fair has been held for more than 150 years. Last year it pulled in more than 1.7 million attendees over its 11-day run.

Last year's attendance was more than 1.7 million people. Sharon
and I were there three days, DH and Chickie joined us for
one, so we were a quartet. DH and I often go over on first Saturday
by ourselves, but I'm not sure we'll be able to this year. I have the
tickets, but DH may not be up to it after spending the day
building the castle walls. I can always resell the tickets, though. 

I pass the Fairgrounds every day between home and work. Traffic will be higher than normal for the duration of the Fair, so I'll go to work using back roads, although many people will use the Park & Ride options run by Metropolitan Transit. This is a fleet of buses hired from all over the Midwest which are used to ferry excited families and attendees from designated locations throughout the greater Metro area. Since Park & Ride became extensively promoted and scheduled, it's become heavily used and has really helped with traffic congestion. We use it whenever we want to get to the Fair. The place where we catch the bus is within a mile of the house, so it's super convenient.

The Park & Ride signs are up all over the metro area now. Some
places only operate on weekends and Labor Day, others are
open daily from today through the end of the Fair. The buses begin
at 8:00 am and the last bus leaves the Fairgrounds  Transit
Station at Midnight. 

I now have visions of "Almost A Foot-Long" hot dogs, Dairy Building milk shakes, crowds of happy people, and next week's arrival of Sharon whirling in my mental planning. I still have so much to do here at home before she arrives, so I'd better get going. I got some cleaning done yesterday, but now I need to shift into higher gear. Today, Chickie will be out at the State Fair for opening day, so I think I'll treat myself to a nice breakfast because I'll be working the sales floor solo for much of the day. Have a wonderful Thursday - here's to the Great Minnesota Get-Together!

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