Minnesota State Fair Prep—#6: Dressing for Success

August 17, 2009


This post continues the Minnesota State Fair Prep Series begun on August 12.

A: Hat with an exceptionally long duck-bill (for mixed work in barns and outside). A 360-degree-brim is recommended if you will work mostly outside as the extra neck protection is welcome. Inside the crowded barns such hats become a liability as people squeeze behind you.

B: Sunglasses (also prescription glasses for inside the barns if you need them).

C: Sensible Hairstyle which keeps your hair out of your face and minimizes the collection and attraction of flying bits of hay and dust.

D: A loose fitting, non-binding, cotton shirt (or fabric that is breathable and non-clingy). You want to be able to swing your arms about and not feel as if you are drenched in sweat. An SPF shirt is another option if it meets these criteria.

E: Sunscreen on every exposed part of your body, even if you are going to be in the barns (you have to come out some time to eat and walk to your car). An SPF shirt is another option for your arms, but you'll still need sunscreen on your face and hands.

F: No flashy finery—don't wear jewelry that would be a tragedy to lose: heirloom pieces, sentimental pieces, etc. And don't wear expensive pieces that attract the attention of pick pockets and thieves. Who are you trying to impress?

G: Baggy pants, and not for the reason you might think (after yesterday's post on Fair Food). Your pants should cover your entire leg (no shorts, no silly capri pants) to protect your legs from bugs, drunk parents with strollers charging into your ankles, sun, and animal encounters. Your pants should be loose enough that you can do the splits (if you could do the splits—you might want to work on that before the Fair), sit, jump, run, leap, and otherwise gambol about. They should be loose so that air can circulate. Non-binding so that you can move. They should have pockets to hold your brushes and pens and paper towels, as well as $5 for an emergency purchase (keep larger amounts of cash in your pack). My friend Karen told me she wears cargo pants with large pockets to hold her brushes. That's a good choice. Gramicci is my brand of choice for loose pants which allow you full range of motion.

H: Comfy shoes. (And yes you will have to clean them after the Fair.) No sandals (they don't provide enough protection—even if you don't go into the barn your toes are at risk from the crowds). For me comfy shoes are sports walking shoes—cushy but stable. They support my feet. Some days I'll wear hiking boots. I have a pair from Timberline that are tough but very bendable. I can stand in them for 12 hours. I can run in them. Here's my guiding thought on shoes: Can you run in them if you're chased by spies?

In fact that pretty much sums up my whole philosophy of clothing: can I get away easily if I am chased by spies?

This means I am always comfortable. You can convert any time you want.

There's still time to get your State Fair garb together. One word of caution: never, ever wear new shoes, no matter how comfortable they seem, to the State Fair. You'll get blisters, and you'll deserve them. Break your shoes in now, you have 10 more days!

  1. Reply

    Sunscreen on your hands is a great idea and a place I usually forget, but won’t it inevitably get on the journal pages and leave greasy spots? How do you prevent that?

    • Nita
    • August 17, 2009

    Is it only spies that chase you? Not escaped bulls or enraged sows?

    Being in NH, I’m far from Minnesota Fair attendance, but look forward to our much smaller version coming in September!

    I sent you an email with the video of Al Franken drawing the US states freehand. I wondered if Minn. artists know about his cool party trick, but the email bounced once.

  2. Reply

    Charming attire with the matching cap, great illustration and lovely model! Thanks so much for all the fair prep info which I’m following along with great interest as I prep for my virgin State Fair sketching trip which even includes a train ride to our capitol city, Sacramento. Although the California version isn’t likely to have deep fried cheese curds, I’m sure the offerings will be equally unique to our state (fine California wine and grilled tofu perhaps?)

    Do you always go with friends or do you ever go alone? I’m hoping at least one of my more intrepid sketch buddies will join me, but may end up going it alone if the scheduling doesn’t work out.

    • Roz
    • August 17, 2009

    I’m sensitive to most sunscreens and so I use a product that has the zinc in it and nothing else (just about). I apply it with my finger tips and then when I’m finished I wipe off my fingertips (wash them only if I happen to be at home or near water). I’ve never had any problem getting sunscreen on my journal. I would suggest trying some different brands of sunscreen to find one that works for you.

    SkinCeuticals is the company, I just looked on the tube.

    I can’t stand the feel of anything on my finger tips or palms!

    • Roz
    • August 17, 2009

    Kim, fantastico! You should come up on Sept. 1 (the Tuesday of the Fair). It’s discount day ($9 admission) and it’s the day we’ve set for the MCBA Visual Journal Collective Sketch Out! (More details to be discussed at tonight’s meeting!)

    • Roz
    • August 17, 2009

    Nita, I’m glad you’re going to your local fair in NH! You’ll be able to sketch and report back.

    Please try to send the Al Franken sketching video link again. I would love to see it.

    Animals tend not to chase me, just spies! Though I have been at the Fair when animals have got loose and rushed down the street!

    • Janine
    • August 17, 2009

    I thought I was the only one with such criteria for buying shoes. Mine does not have to do with spies, as let’s face it, I don’t know anything they’d be chasing me for. Mine is can I walk five miles on the side of the highway if my car breaks down and my cell phone battery is dead and I have to hoof it to go get help. Of course, being able to run far fast is also a good criteria to apply when purchasing new shoes. Mephisto is my brand of choice. Pricey but worth every penny 🙂

    • Roz
    • August 18, 2009

    Janine, we think alike, “chased by spies” is also short hand for “can I walk five miles on the side of the highway if my car breaks down and my cell phone battery is dead and I have to hoof it to go get help.”

    I have friends who where Mephisto and also love them (really, really LOVE THEM; almost with cult-like devotion). Sadly everyone I’ve tried on hasn’t fit me. But I remain hopeful.

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