Minnesota State Fair poem: The Fair is a Living Thing

State fair crowd
A crowd of people lined up to enter the Minnesota State Fair on opening day.
MPR Photo/Ochen Kaylan

The Fair is a Living Thing

By Leslie Ball

Just past six a.m.

Light starting to leak into the sky.

They predict rain.

We don't care.

Today is day one of our beloved State Fair.

People already streaming onto the grounds.

Three teenage boys cross in front of us, each wearing a feed cap, Each leading a newly shorn lamb.

We hike past the old Machinery Hill

To our favorite breakfast counter

We talk about what we need to do first.

Cattle Barn, space tower, or spin art?

We talk about why we love the fair. The fair is a living thing.

For these few days, we stop being isolated from each other.

We stop being frantic little gerbils in our own daily wheels.

Car. Cubicle. Car. Computer.

The fair is a living thing,

Feet of flesh, hooves, claws, fins, feathers, Bristles and fur, tap dancers and fiddlers, Hank Williams and Joey Ramone.

The fair is a living thing

That breaths and crows and squeals,

Waiting all year long for us to return,

Waiting to take us in,

To feed our bellies and our souls,

To welcome us home.