You Weren't Really Planning on Going to the State Fair Anyway

If it’s David versus Goliath, you’re going to go with David right? Right?

I, for one, am suckers for the underdog. Especially scrappy, neighborhood-level underdogs. Especially when they go up against a behemoth, quasi-state agency that benefits from both titanic promotional might and the slavish devotion of all local media.

Of course I’m talking about the State Fair!

The kitsch-on-a-stick folks over in St. Paul would have you believe that their Great Minnesota Get-Together is the only whacked-out, family-friendly festival of oddities happening in the metro area this weekend.

South Minneapolis types know better. Especially those familiar with the Soo Visual Arts Center and its annual artist-designed carnival/charity fundraiser Sideshow Soo. For the second year in a row now, the Uptown gallery has recruited a gang of local artists to produce their rendition of a vintage carnival. Think of it as the summer version of the Soap Factory’s Haunted Basement.

What does it look like? Well, this year promises life-size animal crackers; a fishable, over-sized aquarium stocked with strange creatures; an interactive magic unicorn mountain; and something called “Minnesota biome flavored cotton candy.” Oh, and our town’s patron saint of performance art, Jamie Carerra, will be appearing as internationally renown fortune-teller Zoraya, poised to divine your future on the spot.

Better yet, Sideshow Soo doubles as the first-ever Pat’s Tap block party. The palindrome- and skeeball-themed bar will host an all-day lineup of local bands. Better still, the whole thing is free. Now, I’m not saying the Soo Vac folks are intentionally wooing fairgoers away from St. Paul. But I’m sold. For one thing, there’s no way in hell you’ll run into a possibly flu-infected pig there. Nor will you likely cross paths with Garrison Keillor, Gary Eighten, or any other walking symbol of Minnesotan folksiness.

But if last year’s event is any indicator, I can’t say the same about our hip, crowd-surfing, art-supporting mayor.

Sideshow Soo and Pat’s Tap Block Party
Saturday, August 25
3-9 p.m.
Pat’s Tap, 3510 Nicollet Ave., Mpls.