When I was a kid, I loved going to the Fair with my Dad. We’d go on the big yellow slide, order a foot long hotdog with all the fixins, take in a few rides in the Midway, and the sun always seemed to be shining. Much later, the Fair wasn’t as appealing. It was all about eating cotton candy, French fries, all you can drink milk and anything deep fried on a stick. The Midway rides weren’t like the real ones at Valleyfair and they didn’t seem all that safe. I thought, “What’s the point of all this?” Why do thousands of people come to this place for a week at the end of summer every single year?”
For the past five years, I’ve looked forward to the MN State Fair and I go at least twice in that week at the end of summer to take photos. I’ve found that this is the best place, even better than all the block parties, to take photos. Here there are all walks of life; young and old, extremely obese to rail thin, disabled, and the most diverse group of people gathered in one place. I really think it’s a good sample of what our city and surrounding communities are all about.
I can see all the different stages of life in people walking by. The young couples enjoy each others’ company, young families balance toddlers on their hips, pushing strollers with the second child, middle-aged sons and daughters wait patiently for their elderly parents, teenage girls giggle with braces on their teeth, short tops and short shorts, and cautiously eye the young boys as they pass.
Before the last stint in the Midway, I make my way toward the big yellow French fries stand. I don’t eat the deep fried pancake breakfast on a stick, but I do indulge in French fries and beer. As the sun reaches the golden hour, I’m in the Midway capturing people on my lens coming toward me; they are completely in the moment and oblivious to being photographed. The rides shine in bright colors as people line up to board the swiveling cars. I’m capturing these active scenes at the end of summer where everyone meets before the school year starts, the next business quarter and the cooler weather marks the first day of Fall.