I'd heard a lot about the tradition of the State Fair this summer as the photojournalism intern at MPR News.
And on the fair's fifth day, I had my first assignment there.
I was feeling overwhelmed within six minutes of arriving at the fairgrounds. There was the fear of getting lost in crowds, not being able to find the perfect food on a stick, or, even worse — not finding parking.
Once I made into the fairgrounds, the first things I saw were people sitting on the sidewalks eating ice cream, corn dogs, fried foods and something called "beer on a stick."
To my left was the Dairy Building, to my right a haunted house. I'm not a dairy drinker (unless it's milkshakes), but I hate getting scared by clowns, so I headed to the left.
I grew up in Miami and spent my college years in downtown Chicago, so I assumed I would see cows getting milked in a dairy building.
Instead, I saw something I'd heard about, but hadn't believed could be real: a butter princess. The sculptures made me smile as I began my expedition to figure out the fair.
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After that first day, I called my editor. "I love the fair! I want to come every day!" She laughed, but I've been here almost every day since.
The State Fair was nothing like I expected, and it was more than I imagined. The food, the people, the amount of smells together on one 320-acre piece of land was blissful (if you don't count the wasp sting on my neck). I never wanted to leave. The barn animals, cookies in buckets so full the lid can't close, the amount of craziness pilied into 12 days left this out-of-towner's mind boggled.
Hopefully, these images give you a glimpse of my experience. Everything is everywhere, and you can find anything you want. To say I would happily come back to the State Fair every year would be ... more than fair.