Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Are You Fired Up for the Fair?

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I love the Minnesota State Fair for a lot of reasons. If I had to pick one TOP reason, though, it would be easy: because it’s weird. Think about it. The Fair has everything! Where else can you watch butter sculpting, drink frozen wine slushy samples (hey, it was worth a try), ogle pumpkins as big as your car, buy wool on a stick, and watch pigs being born, all in the same day? Or, if you’re really fast, even in the same hour? There is ALWAYS something new and unique around the corner or up the street at the fair, and much of it is, well, kind of strange. Or in many cases, perhaps not strange by itself, but mixed in with everything else it becomes part of a great, random, assortment of stuff that would never coexist in any other setting, which of course is part of the appeal.

And that leads me to this place: the DNR’s indoor rifle range. Why spend your money at the Midway booths when you can do some shooting courtesy of the state of Minnesota? No, you won’t win a huge purple stuffed animal, but hey, assuming you’re over the age of six, what are you going to do with that giant bear, anyway? Now maybe a shooting range in itself isn’t weird, but it’s both odd and totally fitting that this one is tucked away inside the DNR building. Maybe it's just me, but I was surprised when I learned this place was here. I didn’t have the patience to stand in line to try it out for myself, but apparently this one lets you pretend to shoot (it’s laser – sorry, no, the DNR isn’t going to really let you shoot real firearms in their large, but not THAT large, historic building) at moving targets before moving on to shooting pretend ducks or quail.

And then you get to virtually pluck and roast the birds for your virtual lunch. Just kidding. If all that hunting has made you hungry, there are plenty of concession stands ready to sell you some turkey or chicken on a stick (I don’t believe pheasants, quail, or duck are available, although the 2013 new foods have not yet been announced…).

As far as the real guns go, please leave yours at home. The Minnesota State Fair bans guns on the premises during the duration of the fair.

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