Column: Dakota County Fair? That's Farmington styleDust fills the air. The aroma of frying corn dogs and exhaust mix in a pungent, heady scent. My yellow Dakota County Fair t-shirt sticks to my back under the hot sun. Engines grind, metal crunches as ancient bumpers collide, and the crowd cheers. Everyone is yelling for their favorite driver, and enjoying the demolition derby, a once-a-year treat.
By: Mary Lebens, The Farmington Independent
Dust fills the air. The aroma of frying corn dogs and exhaust mix in a pungent, heady scent. My yellow Dakota County Fair t-shirt sticks to my back under the hot sun. Engines grind, metal crunches as ancient bumpers collide, and the crowd cheers. Everyone is yelling for their favorite driver, and enjoying the demolition derby, a once-a-year treat.
One of the highlights of my year is the demo derby at the Dakota County Fair. For me, it’s even bigger than Christmas. There’s no shopping involved, and I can enjoy a hearty meal at the Trinity Lutheran Church diner instead of having to cook a ham dinner for eight. I look forward to the demo derby for weeks, inviting a big group of friends and family to come along.
I’ve dragged people from as far away as St. Louis Park to attend. One year I even convinced a friend to fly in from Phoenix. The derby is an experience everyone should have at least once, and I won’t let a friend miss it.
My friends tease me that my favorite catchphrase is “Farmington-style.” Last week my husband and I were driving down Pilot Knob Road. We passed a mini-van, windows covered in washable paint proclaiming “Go Tigers!” He nodded, commenting, “I notice a lot of people here decorate their cars. You don’t see that in other places.” I couldn’t resist. I had to say it. “That’s just Farmington-style.”
Sure, that’s how we roll here in Farmington. We enthusiastically decorate our mini-vans with washable paint slogans, decals shaped like tiger paw prints and orange and black bumper stickers. We are proud of who we are, of our traditions.
Like our pride in our sports teams, the demo derby at the Dakota County Fair is a Farmington tradition. Ever year families and friends gather to watch cars smash into each other in a muddy pit. That’s Farmington style.
The whole fair is Farmington style, from the animal barns to the Farmington Bakery booth, it’s an experience you cannot have anywhere else. Before I moved to Farmington and came across the 4-H building at the fair, crop art and jam-making never seemed possible. I had no idea you could train rabbits to compete in an agility contest. I’d never witnessed sheep judging. Sure, the State Fair has a few of the attractions of the Dakota County Fair, but it lacks the most important ones, like the pancakes at the Trinity diner, the 5k Pig Run, and most importantly, the demo derby.
So if you haven’t yet been to the fair, you need to get up off the couch and go this weekend. I wasn’t joking about the 5k pig run. On Sunday, Aug. 12 at 8 a.m. you can literally run with the pigs. Go to active.com to register or you can register the day of the race. Since this year we missed seeing a pig at the Kiss the Pig Contest, this is your chance to interact with pigs. Running a pig race, eating a warm lunch at the Trinity diner, and then watching a matinee demo derby sounds like the perfect Sunday to me. That’s Farmington style.