Photographs by Charles Hezsely & John Mihelic
It’s the “Great Minnesota Get-Together” – our old-fashioned harvest celebration in the golden days of August. The State Fair is a thousand realities. It’s people – all ages, colors, shapes, ethnicities, all taking the opportunity to wear their least-stylish Saturday morning T-shirts and shorts. It’s food and it’s ritual – sweet corn on the cob, smoked pork chops dribbling grease on your shirt, pronto pups drenched in mustard, cotton candy sticking to your cheek. It’s the stroll through the animal barns, the dog exhibit, the butterfly tent, the Art Barn; it’s the breads, cakes, pickles, jams, jellies, knitting, sewing, and needlework in the 4H exhibits.
It’s not all noise and crowds. For the dozens of volunteer organizations, the Fair is the yearly fundraising opportunity – good nature, good food, and social concern all baked into a hot dish. It’s the essence of wholesomeness in the Princess Kay butter sculpture. It’s the muscular heavy metal symphony of red, green, yellow, orange, and chrome on Machinery Hill. It’s a hundred intimate corners, moments of quiet solitude just outside the flowing crowds. It’s the beauty of the Midway lights against the dark blue evening sky. It’s the aching scene of a boy asleep on his prize-winning and soon-to-be sold calf.
For all Minnesotans, it’s a yearly sacrament that reconnects us with our rural past and with our shared future.
The exhibit’s two photographers, Charles Hézsely and John Mihelic, have radically differing photographic styles, yet complementary visions. In approximately 50 photographs they portray the Minnesota State Fair in its multifaceted living reality. The exhibit will be open through August 27.