Thursday, January 31, 2013

A Toast to Toasty Toes

I appreciated these socks on a hot August day for their artistic value (these went home with a blue ribbon in 2011), but on a chilly January night these works of textile art transcend appearance and technical expertise and remind me of their function -- to keep one's feet warm! I don't, alas, have the name of the master knitter responsible for these cozy-looking red and white socks, but I hope he or she (or a lucky friend or relative) is sitting at home right now, wool-clad feet up on an ottoman, enjoying toasty warm toes while working on whatever sweaters or socks are headed for the Minnesota State Fair in 2013.

Do you knit? If so, have you ever entered your creations in a State Fair competition? I can knit hats -- very nice hats, thank you very much -- but nothing else. Maybe one of these years it will be time to branch out to socks, and from there onward to sweaters. And of course there's nothing like a jaunt through the Creative Arts building to get inspired!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

New Improvements Coming Your Way in 2013!

There's always work to be done at the Minnesota State Fair. Maintaining existing buildings and landscapes, building new attractions, adding new public art, making tweaks here and there to meet the evolving needs of visitors... all this takes a tremendous amount of time and money. The Minnesota State Fair recently voted on nearly six million dollars of improvements to be made this year, including the following:

  • A new bathroom west of the DNR building
  • New roofs for the Ramberg Senior Center
  • Utility infrastructure improvements
  • A grab bag of "hundreds of painting, maintenance, and landscaping projects throughout the 320-acre State fairgrounds."
It's not glamorous, but it's these types of improvements and maintenance projects that keep the place humming for an INTENSE 12 days each summer. So next time you're there take a moment to look around, check out the landscape, and appreciate the massive amounts of manpower and money that goes into keeping our beloved Fairgrounds looking (and working) so fair.

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Behind the Brick: Taopi Post Office

Have you heard of Taopi? Nope, me neither. Not surprising, I suppose, as Taopi has a population of 58. Until recently, however, they also had their own post office. It was -- as the brick suggests --   Minnesota's smallest post office, and reportedly the second smallest in the country.

Unfortunately you can probably guess how the story goes. Budget cuts across the land have hurt post offices everywhere, and communities across Minnesota and across the nation are, unfortunately, losing their local post offices. Taopi managed to hang on to theirs until November 2011. These days Taopi residents have to head to Le Roy. These days, the memory of Taopi's small post office lives on, both in Taopi as well as in brick form at the Minnesota State Fair.

To purchase a commemorative brick of your own, contact the Minnesota State Fair Foundation.