Aug 19, 2011

Random thoughts from the 2011 Illinois State Fair

I made my annual pilgrimage to the Illinois State Fair last weekend, which is always entertaining if only for the people-watching factor.  The fair is sure to bring out elements of society you just have to wonder where they hide during the rest of the year. 

Anyway, here are a few observations from this year’s fair from a commoner’s eyes:

1.      A stroller and two bratty kids should not be used to protect your trashy ass from oncoming traffic, just so you can cross the street in front of the fairgrounds entrance against the light.

2.      Speaking of etiquette, if you have a fat roll, you probably should avoid wearing the belly shirt.

3.      Few performances at the beer tents are more fun than Elvis Himselvis.  But by the time he gets into that third set, he does start looking pretty tired.

4.      Speaking of Elvis, we’re all looking forward to the new suit … especially “Little E.”

5.      The Illinois State Fair proclaims to be the birthplace of the ribeye sandwich, and I can’t think of a better place to eat one.

6.      I had never seen the Coors Lite tent more crowded than during the Michael Jackson impersonator’s show.  But, and I know I’m in the minority opinion here, a few songs is all you need to “get it” and move on. 

7.      Ethnic Village is always one of my favorite places to eat, drink and listen to music.  Where else can you get Greek flaming cheese, Indian curry, Cuban nachos and an Abita Strawberry Harvest beer to wash it down?

8.      The Illinois Wine Experience at the Twilight Ballroom was a great way to sample local wines at an affordable price.  Plus, they had several more wineries represented here than at this summer’s wine tasting in downtown Springfield.  But my one gripe (I know, I always have one about these wine-related events) was the absence of bathrooms.  Did I just miss them somehow?  I had to go all the way to the Coliseum, and that building’s bathrooms are no bargain (better than a porta-potty though).

9.      It’s good to know you can still find a stand that sells $1 corn dogs and $ ice cream sandwiches (look for the Prairie Farms truck next to where people are milking cows outside the cattle barns).

10.  Want a good gyro?  Go to the Illinois Lamb Association’s booth under the Commodities Pavilion.  Makes sense, doesn’t it?

I’d have more observations if I’d only remembered to take my camera.  But maybe it’s a good thing I didn’t.  Then this blog would be dominated by odd-looking people sighted at various beer tents. 
I also missed out on several of my traditional stops … Conservation World, the Exposition Building (where what I like to call live infomercials are always taking place) and the Dairy Building to see the butter cow are a few.  I also wish I had satisfied my food cravings for Culler’s French fries and 17th Street Bar & Grill barbecue.  And sadly, I won’t be making it out to the fair any more this year (more on that in a future blog).  But there’s always next year.

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