As I walked along with my three companions on the 90-plus degree day, the air was thick but so was the smell of “fried.” The crowds, in comparison, were sparse, but more than enough to see the depth and breadth of humanity. My oh my, Minnesotans love the “Great Minnesota Get-Together!”
What is it that draws otherwise ordinary people to gather in a huge crowd with incredibly oppressive heat, to eat very tasty, but undoubtedly unhealthy, food? That is the great question… but therein also lies the answer.
There is a strong communal bond amongst Minnesotans when it comes to the fair. It encompasses all generations, most socioeconomic backgrounds, a wide spectrum of races, genders, and ethnic origins. And for those who have had to relocate elsewhere… they schedule their vacation to return to the homeland to proclaim, “We are still a part of this community!”
There are death-defying rides, cool steam-engine tractors, and cute critters – something for everyone regardless of their particular interests. But the food… that really is for everyone. Everyone loves the fair food: the cheese curds, the french fries, the fried anything, or anything “on a stick” as they say… oh and of course the bucket of chocolate chip cookies with cold milk.
Strong communal bonds of fellowship and all kinds of people, provided with a variety of options to fit their particular needs or interests, with opportunities for good food every time you turn around… that’s the fair!
Sound like any other place? That’s right – our faith communities. Every place I go there is the strong communal bond, often going back many generations. Folks who have moved away often return for special occasions or visit while they are home on vacation. Most of our faith communities have a wide spectrum of age, background, and place of origin.
Likewise, I’ve yet to go to one of our faith communities and not find central to the gathering bars, cookies, cakes, hot-dishes, and so much more. Sharing a meal, both sacred and otherwise, is central to our gatherings.
Here’s the thing: The fair happens once a year for about a week and a half. Our faith communities, however, enjoy food and fellowship all year long. Clearly for some, the fair often seems as though it is a religious experience of sorts. Just imagine what it would be like if they came to one of our faith communities. To that end, here’s an idea – invite a fair friend to church! 🙂