Postcards from the Fair #3
In 1964, probably in response to The Beach Boys, The Beatles and the "English Invasion", the Minnesota State Fair set up a "Teen Fair" with exhibits aimed at teen-agers. The first year was pretty lame- the highlight being a "smash a car" booth, where you could, for a dollar, get three hits with a sledge hammer on a junk car. The next year was a whole different story. There were several stages set up where amateur and pro bands could play. My band, The Others, played twice, once at a music store's small stage, and once at a department store's big stage. We were awful, but the experience was fantastic, if only for being in the same place as local legends The Underbeats and Suzie Q. and the Originals or really good teen bands like The Jaguars. The teen fair went on for several years, but teen music changed and became not nearly so innocent.
In 1969 I returned to the fair, where a few of us thought it might be a good idea to partake of an illicit substance to enhance the fair going experience.
Everything was ever so much more colorful! Even the sugary beverages had a new sensory dimension. The simplest of stimuli became somehow more meaningful and intense.
There was lot of giggling that day.
After the fair, while we were still pretty high, we went to a movie, Linsday Anderson's If.... which was (and remains) pretty mind-expanding in its own right.
A year or two after that the fair authorities decided against further hosting a playground for trippers and converted the whole area into "Heritage Square", with a big emphasis on "Square" and this brief but intense bit of fair history was gone forever- to be replaced by faux western and pioneer booths, selling faux history, booths which remain to this day.