Here we are once again. It’s still warm, but it’s getting dark a little earlier. I have observed (and tried to ignore) a few red and orange leaves creeping into the trees on my daily walks. The store shelves are stocked with back to school supplies that, when I pass by, still give me a twinge of the anxiousness I felt as a kid heading back to school. And in the last couple weeks, I can think of two occasions when I have felt that crisp vibe in the air. Summer is on its way out, and fall is soon taking its place.

Truthfully, I am always a little sad every year at this time because I unfailingly feel like summer only just began, and I realize I didn’t do nearly enough of the fun summer things I envisioned I would. So at the end of August, I get determined to squeeze every last drop of summer out of each day. And in my opinion, there is no better way to do that than spending lots of time at the great Minnesota get together!

The state fair is known to create a divide between Minnesotans: those who love it and those who hate it. I think we know where I stand; I can be placed on the “see how many times I can go this year” level. There is even some kind of miraculous shift with things I normally don’t like at all…crowds, lines, loud stuff, calories…oh, I’m at the state fair? This stuff is great!

But alas, there is one thing that is no good anywhere. COVID. I find myself wondering how our long standing tradition will be affected this year. We missed having the fair all together last year in hopes that things would be back in full force this year. But will they? As a lover of all things state fair, I am not convinced we will have the experience we were counting on. There are concerts, but will they be filled with the energy of a sold out stand? There is food, but will menus be limited in order to lessen lines? There are vendors, but will they have reduced inventory for sale to prevent crowding?

While there is a lot of uncertainty when it comes to my favorite summertime wrap up event, there is one thing I know for sure: it is the state fair…where even the less than ideal things are great! And if this year looks different than what I am used to, it will still be the best end of season tradition ever! I will still go, and I will embrace it, and I will soak up every ounce of what’s left of summer; I will appreciate it, enjoy it, and make the best out of it. I will focus on all of the good things that we are able to do, and be thankful that the state fair is back this year to help us say farewell warm, sunny days, and hello crisp, cool mornings.

Sarah Curtis, MA
Intervention Manager
Lakes Center for Youth and Families