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Column: A sultry Saturday sans soybeans

The day of the Soybean Festival dawned grey and heavy. The thick air warned of thunderstorms. The night before, oblivious to the impending weather, I made plans for a full outdoor Saturday. I intended to hit the Soybean Festival, then meet friends for the Scottish Festival at the Dakota County Fairgrounds.

On Saturday morning I pulled a brush through my tangled hair in front of the bathroom mirror. I kept an ear on the radio for weather news. I tugged once more with the brush and then the storm broke. Outside my window the leaden sky burst in a spectacular way. I dropped the brush and started texting friends furiously.

The roiling storm ruined my plans to attend the Soybean Festival. I missed the biggest soy day of the year. My friends and I made it to the Scottish Festival, although the humidity was so high it felt like we were swimming across the lawn at the fairgrounds. All of us were starving because we intended to save our tummies for the delicious array of soy foods at the Soy-bean Fest. Since we completely missed our soy lunch we moved as quickly as we could through the thick air towards the Scottish food court. One meat pie, one Shepherd's pie pocket, two sausages and a basket of fish and chips later we were finally sated.

My apologies to those of Scottish heritage, but I assumed the soy foods would be more appetizing than anything at the Scottish fair. I was either completely incorrect in my assessment of Scottish food or so undernourished anything would have tasted incredible. The fair's fish and chips were among the best foods I've enjoyed all year.

With stretched stomachs we ambled towards the Scottish games field. It appeared to me all of the games consisted of throwing really heavy things. I mean really, really heavy things, like beer kegs and massive logs. Not only were the competitors tossing beer kegs like they were Nerf balls, they were tossing them way over their heads to clear a bar about 25 feet in the air. The all-male team was wearing kilts to boot. I was darn impressed by their stamina and their calves.

After a bit of time watching the games we moved along to the exhibits, which included clan booths and Scottish-related paraphernalia, like heavy socks, plaid tops and tea biscuits. The Minnesota Sheltie Society's dog adoption was by far my favorite exhibit. I have a weakness for friendly pets who need homes. In the past this weakness led me to adopt a giant lizard who is a whole lot less cuddly than a sheltie. Shelties are so darn cute and fluffy you just want to reach out and brush your fingertips across their silky fur. Next to the fish and chips lunch, the money I donated to the sheltie rescue was the best money I spent all day. Of course I wanted to bring a sheltie home, but since I already have the giant lizard, I had to keep walking.

Despite the disappointment of the rain and humidity the Scottish Fair was darn fun. Late that afternoon, after my friends left for home, I stopped at Econofoods to pick up supplies for dinner. To my delight there was a table full of soy recipes next to the automatic doors. I picked up a copy of the tofu-spinach dip recipe for my next party. As I walked the aisles bright pink arrows pointed to soy products on the shelves. I picked up some soy milk which was a big hit for our after-dinner coffee that night. Thanks to Econofoods I had a little taste of the soy fun I missed. Next year, with or without the weather's cooperation, I will be rushing the Soybean Festival gates.

Nathan Hansen

Nathan Hansen has been a reporter and editor with the Farmington Independent and the Rosemount Town Pages since 1997. He is very tall.

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