Sunday, September 16, 2018

State Fair vs. The Mall of America

In a tumultuous month we at my house have managed to do two quintessentially Minnesotan things; we have gone to the State Fair, and we have gone to the Mall of America.

One might think that The State Fair is the more Minnesotan of the two. And one might wonder which I prefer. One might wonder a lot of things, many of them better than the subject of this post. But one is not wondering them now. And nothing anyone wonders has a clear answer even if I always think it does. Often people say to me: "I wonder...?"

And I come up with a really good answer. And everyone always says, with a fair deal of skepticism:

"Hmm. Well that's interesting..." Like I haven't just explained everything.

Which one would maybe think would make me wonder...

I don't prefer either The State Fair or The Mall of America. I like them both equally, though a little differently.

The State Fair is like a fifties dream of Minnesota; all white and porky, full of butter heads, civility, baby pigs, seed art, live music, and oversized pumpkins. 

You should go, seriously, or you will never understand us.

The Mall is exactly as Minnesota is on the days where it has money in its pockets. It is younger and more multi-cultural. It is a dream too. It is the dream that capitalism works, which everyone knows now that it doesn't, but it sure looks like it does in the Mall of America, er, sort of.

You don't need to go to that one if you don't want. That's the blood in the water.

I know there is a good chance you wanted one of these attractions to clobber the other one, but I cannot help you there. All I can say to a prospective visitor is bring money, and also, you'd better know what they hell you are doing or they will eat you alive.

Which sounds pretty serious, but just means "You won't particularly enjoy yourself."


  1. I went to Mall of America once, probably 18 years ago or more. I remember the roller coaster and the sporting goods store with playable courts inside. It was a bit intimidating, but I had great guides to move me through. It was not like the mall where I grew up, where I learned to ice skate and had Orange Julius.

    I suppose the fair in MN is more of a localized flavor representative, as you say, than our local fair, which I attended when the kids were little. I never liked it at all. You drop $100 paying for the kids to throw darts at balloons. Of course there are the displays and such, so there are many levels of appreciation, only one of which I enjoyed: The B52s concert! And for free! The kids were like, "look at mom and dad dancing," and equally embarrassed and thrilled.

    But I have not been in many years, and pretty much nothing will bring me back. Unless Melanie Safka plays.

    1. Ah, curiously enough the B52s played our state fair this year! One of my co-workers went to it. It was not free though!

      I'm glad you favor the MoA, but you may be making the wrong comparison with your local fair. The Minnesota one would be like Disneyland compared to the one you went to being more like a run of the mill amusement park, or, since we're at it, like comparing the Mall of America to Topanga Plaza. Drop by some late August and we can pop over to see some pigs be born or some butter heads be carved.


If you were wondering, yes, you should comment. Not only does it remind me that I must write in intelligible English because someone is actually reading what I write, but it is also a pleasure for me since I am interested in anything you have to say.

I respond to pretty much every comment. It's like a free personalized blog post!

One last detail: If you are commenting on a post more than two weeks old I have to go in and approve it. It's sort of a spam protection device. Also, rarely, a comment will go to spam on its own. Give either of those a day or two and your comment will show up on the blog.