The new stadium for the U of M Golden Gophers
MN State Fair Park and Ride, 8/21/08
Usually, I go to the Fair and just sort of wander around. Sometimes in a specific pattern, sometimes with someone who has a destination in mind. This time, I wanted to hit all the political booths I could find. When I'm not looking, they appear as if magic. When I am, they're all over the place. (I nearly titled this entry "Trolling for Republicans", but I eventually found them.)
The picture, above, is not part of the Fair, but affects the parking. This is the stadium that the college football team will play in instead of the Metrodome. The Twins are building their own stadium, and only the Vikings will be left as major tenants for the dome. I'm happy for the U, but still think the money could have been spent wiser elsewhere. Sports are important to colleges, I guess.
I arrived at the Fair about 10am, on schedule.
Once inside the Fairgrounds, I headed towards the nearest political booth: Al Franken's. There I talked with a nice lady writing a book on overpopulation. They wanted to make sure that any comments were from the volunteers, and didn't necessarily represent the candidate. That's fine; that's expected.
Okay, one interview under my belt, it's time to get some breakfast. No dearth of eateries at the Fair, but I wanted to try something new. I looked for the International Bazaar... and couldn't find it. I go every year, it has to be around here someplace. Aha! It was redesigned. Inside and out.
International Bazaar, new facade
MN State Fair, 8/21/08
Inside, no longer was it a series of comparatively cramped alleys hawking international food and ware. It was now a fairly airy series of plazas hawking international food and ware. The stage was redesigned, and it felt like there were fewer booths, though everything was cleaner. Probably cost more to rent per square foot, too.
I had a prosciutto wrapped asparagus, which was an okay overpriced snack. Then wandered down to a place I hadn't seen before selling "Island Noodles: Soba Noodles, Aloha & Maholo". A huge amount of food, by Fair standards, for a medium price. Basic noodles with Stuff. (Sorry, don't remember what.) Deee-lish. That held me for a while.
I wandered over to the DFL booth. No one there was going to the DNC, but someone took my card. Frankly, I didn't really want to talk to two Democrats in a row, so I was just as happy to make connections and move on. Still, no Republicans in sight. I passed by Union Hall, which looked new. Talked to three guys from the Sheetmetal Workers Union. Since they had Obama buttons on, I wasn't surprised by their positions, but I was pleasantly pleased that they were going green. Indeed, the Labor building is "the first Green building in the Fairgrounds".
Not too far down the lane was the Independence Party, with two guys willing to talk.
I asked at an Information Booth and found the McCain booth, and did an interview with two of the people there.
Finally finding the GOP barn, I lucked out. Not only was a candidate there, but it was the candidate running for Congress in my district, and she was a delegate to the RNC! Barb Davis-White was warm, bubbly, loquacious, and... well, you'll have to hear the interview. I'm very glad I met her and gave her ample space to say her piece. I don't think Keith Ellison is worried.
I talked to someone from www.yesformn.org, and environmental issue which will be on the Minnesota ballot. Very knowledgeable.
No one from the Norm Coleman booth wanted to talk, since they are "only here as volunteers". Fair enough, though I would be happy with their opinions so qualified. As it turned out, making my way back to the DFL pavilion, they were "not qualified to answer press questions".
(BTW: Yes, I took notes.)
The Obama booth had a smart looking guy who was willing to talk (as a volunteer).
Then a surprise, at least to me: Jack Ulrich, running for US Senate with the Independence Party (they've had their convention, but the primary is coming up). Jesse Ventura isn't running, so others are stepping up. It was a nice interview.
Wooden Map, Fine Arts Bldg
MN State Fair, 8/21/08
Last year, my friend Dan entered a Wooden Map of Minnesota in the Fine Arts Bldg. This year, he brought in a map of the US. A woman and her son were oohing and aahing at the map, so I got Donna in the picture.
I gave her my last card. I'd been at the Fair almost four hours, virtually all of it on my feet. Time to go home.
The DFL pavilion intimated that Franken would be at his booth around 3. I could have stuck around another hour, but decided the odds were against it. Besides, I really needed to sit down in a cool place. As in: Home.
Still, it was worth going by the Franken booth just to see, and that took me back to my original route near the International Bazaar. I finally had the Australian Shrimp Poppers that caught my eye earlier. Tasty, though not nearly as filling as the noodles had been.
Back to the bus, to the Park and Ride, to the car, to the highway, to home, download soundfiles and name them, download pictures and name them, write up report for LJ. Downtime at last! No wait, I still have to make the podcast... Oh well, that's a Tomorrow project.
Sorry for the lengthy report, but I'm too drained to split it up.