Minnesota County Fairs: Kids, Cows, Carnies, and Chow
Minnesota Historical Society, 2009 - Photography - 114 pages
Ninety-five county fairs are held throughout Minnesota every year, and Susan Lambert Miller has attended nearly every one of them. Though she took a few summers to complete her quest, it's still a lot of ground to cover. Camera in hand, Miller often visited multiple fairs in a weekend - sometimes more than one a day. And just a taste of what she found at these Minnesota get-togethers - those kids, cows, carnies, and chow - appears here in delightful, dazzling photographs.
The heart of a Minnesota county fair beats in the 4-H buildings, with their displays of bumper crops or beautiful animals or creative activities. A young girl cuddles a cow in the dairy barn. An earnest boy carefully guides a horse twice his height into the judging ring. Ar ow of dancers awaits the moment their choreographed performance begins.
Fairs bring neighbors together, to play bingo in a tent, to applaud a bluegrass performance, to explore the frights and delights of the midway. Food plays a significant role, whether hawked from a booth or artfully arranged for competition. Carnies beckon for games and prizes. The loudspeaker blares with announcements of livestock judging or the next "main event."
These summer festivals offer a feast for the senses, with countless ways to take it all in. Miller's photographs display a feast of sorts as well, a view of Minnesota's quintessential spirit through the camera lens, introduced by Shannon Olson's meditation on our fairgoer selves. Step right up: see rooster bingo, smell sizzling pork chops on a super-sized grill, hear the horns of a wild bumper car ride. In Minnesota County Pairs, summer fun is always at its peak.
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