Saturday, August 2, 2008

Grimm County Fair 2008

I've got a soft spot in my heart for the Grimm County Fair. Each year, visitors to Loonfoot Falls immerse themselves in a cultural tradition that spans more than a century. Then, at the end of the day, some discover that it's not a good idea to park next to a "NO PARKING" sign.

The county fair is a place for healthy competition: Judges hand out blue ribbons for jams and preserves, quilts, and digital art, like "Kenningward," one of this year's Honorable Mentions; People see who's best at handling a team of draft horses, raising llamas, or driving in a demolition derby.

"Kenningward," Honorable Mention, Grimm County Fair Digital Art 2008

It's an educational experience, too. This year, the Grimm County Reptile and Amphibian Restoration Effort (RARE) booth let fairgoers get up close and personal with salamanders, lizards, and grass snakes. RARE's spokesperson, Mindy Kleinsdorp, explained that her assemblage of things that wriggle, slither, and hiss should "show people how important it is to keep our woods and wetlands safe for wildlife."

She made me give back a grass snake that had found its way into my pocket.

It sounds corny, but the Grimm County Fair is a family event. Between a demolition derby, art show, farm implement displays and the midway, there's something for just about everyone.

Minnesota's summer heat, together with the spinning, whirling, bouncing rides on the midway, make a person really appreciate the varieties of fresh-squeezed lemonade. And, of course, standards like corn dogs, cheese curds, and Otto's unforgettable Deep Fried Chocolate Pork Rinds.

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