We all know how much I love the Minnesota State Fair, right? Love, love, love and love. Each year that I visit I excitedly explore the Creative Activities Building and oogle with awe and inspiration at the beautiful handmade creations. And, not surprisingly, the knitting gets 95% of my attention while there.
The first year that I visited after becoming a "real" knitter I said something like "Oh wow, I could never do that." Then another year I said things like "Hey, I've done that pattern on those award-winning mittens! Cool!" And then last year I said, "Seriously? Why haven't I entered yet?"
But by mid-July this year, I still hadn't done anything about entering. I think I was assuming that I must have missed a spring deadline or something and was--oops--going to let yet another year slide by.
Then I saw a tweet from the Minnesota State Fair on Twitter that stopped me in my tracks: "Just a reminder that some of the competition entry deadlines are about a month away!"
I am a great procrastinator. I used to always cram my college papers in at the last minute and it always drove me crazy, so one time I tested it by actually completing a big research paper two weeks ahead of deadline. I got a B on that paper but I always got As on the last-minute ones. It became (painfully) clear that I'm definitely one of those people who produces better work under pressure.
So, (to make a long story short) with one month to go, I decided to just do it this year and I cast-on for a sweater for Jackson, a hat for Amelia (a do-over of this one) and I rediscovered a shawl in my closet that I deemed Fair-worthy (it was unworn and in perfect condition). I submitted three entries in three different categories for my first-time out and got two 2nd place ribbons! The third item didn't place but was still displayed, so all of my items "made it."
Grandstand mini-donuts are divine, deep-fried pickles are a once-a-year treat to get excited about like a kid waiting for Christmas, and the roasted corn on the cob is out of this world. The Giant Slide is a thrill wrapped in a burlap sack that can make the older set laugh like kids. The Midway lights at night are surreal and dreamlike and loud and fun. The sights, the sounds, the smells, and everything about the State Fair is just totally awesome. It truly is the Great Minnesota Get-Together. But there is nothing like practically tiptoeing into the Creative Activities Building on the second day of the Fair, almost not sure if daring to peek at the winner's case is a good idea because you're so nervous about whether or not you were crazy to enter in the first place and having your eyes land on this:
(oh! the disappointment that it was displayed wrong-side out though! thrilled that it won--really, I am!--but it was obviously displayed by a non-knitter...)
and then finding this just a stone's throw away in another display case:
(and the hat was displayed with a first-place prize-winning handmade jacket, so it must have been a "winning" accessory, right? let's not even discuss the mannequins at the State Fair who are overdue for retirement...)
I'm now PART of the State Fair. My name is posted in a building as a #2 winner in two of the 16,000 categories of things that are judged at the State Fair annually. No more watching from the sidelines, I'm in! Dan wants me to submit my canning next year and possibly some baked goods too (I don't know if I gave him State Fair Fever or if he gave it to me, but either way, we've both drunk the Kool-Aid). But true to form from my academic days when an A- was never good enough, all I can think is "Blue. Next year, it's going to be a blue ribbon." :)
Jackson was really excited to see his sweater in the case too. I think he was proud of me and that was more amazing than the ribbon!