A Fair ShakeUp

What the State Fair needs is rides that reflect Minnesota’s true nature.

Ferris Wheel on the Midway at the State Fair
Photo by Caitlin Abrams

It’s State Fair time again, and that means spending time with the tricked-out rides and tricky games of the Mighty Midway. The problem with most Midway attractions, however, is that they don’t have a local connection—a theme that roots them specifically in Minnesota. A few humble suggestions to remedy this situation:

Whack-a-Pothole. Summer is here, and the potholes are growing. Your task is to fill them all before the clock runs out and winter returns. But uh-oh: Every time you fill one, five more appear!

The Minnesota Twins Rollercoaster. Join Joe Mauer and the gang as they climb to the top of the division, then drop all the way to the bottom, where they bang around, bounce up and down, try to pick up speed here and there, and eventually stall near the bottom. Caution: Riders are likely to incur frequent injuries.

Minnesota Legislature Ferris Wheel. Take a seat, pick a bill from the Proposed Legislation Barrel—in areas of education, health care, infrastructure, environment, gun control, and women’s rights—and sit tight, because you’re going to go around and around for years.

Minneapolis City Council Fun House. Enjoy the irony as you try to have fun—but everywhere you turn, a Minneapolis City Council member jumps out and stops you. Want to listen to some music? No way: Wear these earplugs. Want to eat a hot hoagie? No way: Here’s a paper bag for that sandwich. Want to exhale some e-cig vapor? Sorry: You’ve got to hold your breath until you get home. If you want fun, go to St. Paul.

Bumper Cars on Ice. It just snowed six inches and the temperature has dropped to 10 below, so the salt and chemicals aren’t working. Now it’s time to get behind the wheel and try to reach your destination through an alarmingly lifelike replica of I-394 during rush hour. Brace for impact: The guy in front of you has rear-wheel drive, and he’s texting!

Vikings Stadium Shooting Gallery. Participants each pony up $500 pretax dollars for the privilege of shooting at a series of moving targets—future Super Bowls, NCAA Final Four, a professional soccer team—with a gun that fires PR confetti. Winners receive a $15 replica of the new Vikings stadium made of recycled press releases from 1982, when the Metrodome was built.

Beer-a-Whirl. To celebrate Minnesota’s magnificent craft beer boom, board a boat that floats on a river of locally made brew. Different sections are named after famous local breweries—the Great Waters stream, the Surly rapids, the Lift Bridge passage—and, after dropping 100 feet from the ride’s Summit into a pale pool of ale, open your mouth and drink in the refreshing Minnesota-made foam.

Zygi Wilf’s Wild Ride. Put on a fake mustache, climb into Zygi’s limousine, and whiz around the country admiring your real-estate holdings, dodging lawsuits, and running over a scale model of the Minnesota Legislature, through the rubble of the Metrodome, and into your shiny new football stadium—then celebrate by diving into a huge pile of soft, sweet cash. (Ride sponsor: the taxpayers of Minnesota.)

Minnesota Orchestra’s Haunted House. Enter this chamber of horrors at your peril. Inside, you’ll be subjected to a series of never-ending meetings, a boardroom full of self-righteous rich people, an agonizing hell of wailing musicians, the constant threat of a less-than-world-class orchestra, an unbearable concert hall with no music, and everywhere—everywhere—the terrifying specter of Osmo Vänskä. Aggggghhh!