Friday, August 27, 2010

The great Minnesota get-together

The end of summer brings the start of the Minnesota State Fair.

Though I confess I haven't been to many state fairs, I have heard Minnesota's beats them all.

My husband and I went today, the second day of the ten-day event. We have our routine: he goes to the horse barns and Machinery Hill. I go straight to the Creative Activities Building.

A minimum of two hours elapses before we meet up again to eat our way through the rest of the fair together. So much food, so little time. Pronto Pups, Sweet Martha's cookies, cheese curds, Tom Thumb donuts, roasted corn on the cob. Not the place to find foods of the healthy variety, I'm afraid. But, hey, it's only once a year.

The Creative Activities Building emcompasses creative arts of all kinds from all over the state. The talent represented in one building is overwhelming. Busy hands worked all year on fiber arts: exquisite quilts, knit pieces, crochet, Hardanger, counted cross stitch, fillet crochet, weaving.

Then there is bead work, porcelain painting, wood work, scrapbooking, post card collecting. And baked goods: cookies, cakes, pies, breads. Canned goods: pickles, preserves, jams.

The items displayed command respect and admiration for the skills represented in the beautiful displays from artists all over the state.

Almost every year, I enter a counted cross stitch piece in the competition, mainly to just see it displayed and inspire others, as the handwork I see there inspires me.

This year, I entered three pieces: The Storyteller, a small Aztec design, and a Victorian tea room with "Welcome" stitched across it. Very simple pieces, none seeming worthy of a winning a ribbon.

Imagine my surprise to see a pink third premium ribbon hanging from the Welcome piece. I stitched this piece while spending a month in Tucson, Arizona, last winter. I have won two other third premium ribbons in past years, but for pieces much more difficult than this one.

In any case, it is exciting to be rewarded and recognized for your work.

As we were leaving, the daily parade was underway.

We're told the fair had a record-breaking crowd yesterday on opening day, and I believe, judging from the crowds, they had to come close today.

So another year passes for the Minnesota State Fair. The great Minnesota get-together.