And it was amazing. But I sort of felt like somehow, I was cheating on you. For that I am sorry.
But I am NOT sorry I went. It was such a magical experience. I had gotten off of my shift a little early (slow day), so I walked on down to the Minnesota Public Radio booth at the fair. There, I discovered that the PHC show for later that evening still had tickets available!
Before the show, I decided to buy my annual State Fair milk shake (made from dairy provided by MN's own dairy farmers, of course). I happened to have plenty of time to kill, and I had not yet purchased a shake. I was both surprised and excited to learn that the dairy barn had expanded their menu: they now offer strawberry-rhubarb milk shakes! It just so happens that strawberry and rhubarb combine to form one of my favorite taste treats. What luck!
I strolled along the fair, enjoying the smaller crowds and a little time to myself. It was such a nice change of pace from dishing footlongs and counting dirty change.
Eventually, I made it to the Grandstand, which is a hot-house of consumerism by day, and a stage by night. Although I have been to the State Fair almost every year of my life, I had never been to a show. There's a first time for everything. I bought my ticket, finished my milk shake, and perused the merchandise tables. (Also, I bought a beer which was a good choice.)
I found my seat a little early and enjoyed watching the sun set over the beautiful skyline of Minneapolis.
Finally, the show started and out came Keillor (who is so much taller in real life...than on the radio? Duh, Alauna). Anyway! The show was awesome. I was very surprised to find that during a large portion of the show, he stood with his back to the audience. Instead of talking to us, he talked to his guests and his band. I actually thought it was wonderfully refreshing. Imagine, a host who values his guests and back-up!
I also sat next to some characters. I was the youngest one in my section by at least 30, and probably closer to 35, years. The man to my right was hard of hearing and frequently leaned over to ask, "What did he say?" Since I love old men, it was very cute. The man on my left was a little younger, but he had been to the show five times before. He brought a pair of binochs (wise move) and kept handing them to me throughout the show. It was really lovely.
Mindy Smith was on the show, singing "Come to Jesus" and an assortment of others. The Catsup Advisory Board was featured, and Guy Noir. During intermission, Garrison walked up and down the aisles, while the audience had a sing-along. We sang "America the Beautiful," "Unchained Melody," and a folksy bluegrass song that I didn't know, but a man behind me did and sang it with MUCH gusto. It was fabulous.
Then, of course, it was time for The News from Lake Wobegon, and for just a few minutes the world was as golden as the beer I held in my hand.