The MN State Fair is full of positive memories for me. Upon the mention of it, I am filled with fond memories. Some of these memories are with my mother and father, some with 4-H friends, some with other extended family memories, and some of the most vivid are with my Grandma Norma.
My grandmother was 70 years old when I was born, so I only every knew her with a senior citizen discount. When I walked the fair with her, it was a slower pace, but we still managed to see everything. She knew where great freebies could be found, as well as where we could be entertained with our feet up for a bit. While some preteens could be frustrated at the slow gait, I eagerly joined Grandma at the fair. She knew the fair. Having been raised on a farm, and having raised her own children on a farm, she was the soul of the fair. While the hype these days is about food on a stick, she was the farmer’s wife supporting and learning about agriculture. She loved the ideas and creativity of the projects and booths. She picked up fans at political booths to keep cool, yardsticks at another tent to act as a walking stick, State Fair annual pins at the Administration Building, and directions for a new plant or project to try at home. She didn’t have the internet or Google, so she locked away these ideas and collected the resources. Her kind is near gone. Her steel trap mind, her ability to explain how someone is distantly related, or list the three previous owners of any farm are some of the super powers I witnessed her possess. I remember people watching with her on a bench, cooling off in the shade, sipping on a Daily Building malt. This is how summer should close. This is a grand finale.
So it is only fitting, that I walk the same streets and buildings with my grandma’s memory while pushing a stroller with my children. It’s a tradition. A family occasion that could easily go to the wayside due to the ages of my children, or weather, or schedule. But it is with conviction and love that I brave the crowds to walk among old memories and create new ones. That and my cheese curd cravings.