Monday, September 8, 2008

a sustainable state fair?

As Minnesotans well know, our state fair just came and went, signaling the end of summer and the beginning of autumn (exciting!). While strolling through the fairgrounds with family, I snapped a few photos of things that represented, even in a subtle way, some of the more sustainable habits of fair organizers and fair-goers.

The two main concert stages (Heritage Square and International Bazaar) are sponsored by local breweries. Heritage Square (my favorite) is supported by Schell's beer, the second oldest family-owned brewery in the US, and Summit sponsors the other stage. There's also the infamous "Leinie Lodge" stage, sponsored by the seemingly local Leinenkugels company in Chippewa Falls, WI, but most people don't know that the beer is actually owned by SAB-Miller (South African Brewing), a multinational beer juggernaut.

I was pleased to learn that the hot dogs hidden within the classic Pronto Pup (the original corn dog) are proudly made by a small sausage company from Wisconsin. Sadly I don't remember the name of the company.

The always busy grilled corn-on-the-cob stand now features a large compost bin sponsored by Eureka Recycling. This is quite significant, as the stand sells thousands of cobs per day, which likely adds up to hundreds of pounds of compostable waste. Most people I saw eating corn put their chewed cobs in the huge, butter soaked bin.

Lastly, many of the cheese curd stands feature cheese from Wisconsin and Minnesota. Have you ever seen a sight more beatiful than a crispy, golden, freshly fried curd?

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