The sun was beginning to set which meant it was time for…
The Amateur Talent Contest Finals! (Sponsored by Jack’s Pizza.)
There were 26 individual entries into the contest. They had been winnowed from the daily talent contests held at the fair, after passing their audition in July. There were seven preteen, nine teen and 10 open participants. All of the talent on display was amazing. I was amazed that the judges could pick any winner. (And then mostly annoyed at what they did pick.)
Some highlights for me were Gigi Bragg, who was a tiny little thing that killed it with “Don’t Rain on My Parade.” After everyone had performed they had time-filling stuff while they tallied results. The singer and the band did “Don’t Rain on my Parade” and I found it to not be as effective.
I also really loved Eden Nesburg & Page Mackendanz, who sang “River Deep, Mountain High.” Their music cut out early on–something the crowd only became gradually aware of. They got to come back later on to re-do their performance. Both performances were filled with joy and memorable.
I also enjoyed Amber Feind & Mikayla Meyers, another vocal performance but in the open division. Aside from liking them, I also liked that they were two normal-looking women who were not as young as some of the people in the open division. The Famrez Dance Team was really great to watch too. I like when acts with multiple people advance. Every person you add to your group makes it that much harder to schedule practice time. The beatboxing guy, Cameron Latinen, was also quite good.
In the end, a lot of classical musicians won, which I find boring. Though Gigi Bragg did win third place in the Preteen division. I also shouldn’t be really grumpy about the Teen division because a band of middle school kids playing “The Thrill is Gone” won, but the other two winners were opera (the kind of flouncy opera that I do not like) and violin.
In the Open division, all three winners were men, which annoyed me, although my beatboxing guy came in third place and Rush Parrish, the overall winner seemed to have an enthusiastic following. He won $10,000 (and quantities of Jack’s Pizza) so this contest was no joke.
Just in case you might forget who the sponsor was.
Afterward, there were fireworks.
And with that, I attempted to buy olives on a stick, failed due to the late hour and settled for mini-donuts. I headed off to wait for the bus home.
The Minnesota State Fair was a wonderful experience and I could have done an additional day to catch all the things I missed, even after spending more than 16 hours at the fair. I also learned too late that the fair opens at 6 am, and it would have been fun to start the day with the fair, to see the difference in crowds, activities, lines, etc.
For those of you who haven’t had enough of the Minnesota State Fair, please enjoy this documentary from the Twin Cities PBS station: State Fair Traditions
It’s got a lot of good stuff, both interesting vintage photos and interesting facts (The fair is 320 acres. Attendance numbers are triple what they were in the 1930s, but in the same amount of space.) It’s also fun to see some of the work that goes into making the fair such a fun experience.