Getting Ready for the Minnesota State Fair—Always Have A Plan, But Be Flexible

August 3, 2015

Above: Something you won't see at this year's Minnesota State Fair, because of the bird flu epidemic. But it's fun to remember last year and fun with pigeons. Anyway, this is why we have to PLAN what we are going to sketch at the Fair.

On Sunday evening's walk, I chatted on and on about which journal and paper I'd be taking to this year's State Fair. None of this really matters to Dick, but he's happy to walk along and let me verbalize my plans.

The problem is, after dusting today and putting away some framed art returned from a recent show, my shoulder and right forearm have already forgotten the time David spent getting them back to working order on Friday evening! (David is at Doorway Massage and he is crucial in keeping on my bike and at the drawing board.)

My bad.

The one thing Dick and I did agree on is that I won't be binding before the Fair. That means no hard-covered Japanese lined journal. 

I could cut journal cards, but that is stressful for my right arm too—and the goal is to be all set to go with no injuries!

So no journal cards either.

I'm now looking at a couple choices of commercial journals, all wirebound. It's odd for me to use a wirebound journal, but I'm looking at 9 x 12 inch sizes and thinking of it as the same as if I carried a stack of journal cards. (Except that I'll be holding them all at one time; I usually only hold 3 journal cards in my hand at once.)

The great thing about working on a 9 x 12 inch sheet is that I'll have lots of space to work big if I want to, or fill a page with lots of little sketches. 

Now I'm debating Hot Press or Cold Press. I have a preference for smooth paper so it will probably be Hot Press. We'll see.

Meanwhile I'm trying to get my plan for the days I want to go and the events I want to see.

I usually make a plan by going to the Minnesota State Fair website and looking through the lists of entertainment and judging schedules, to see what I might want to look at and sketch while I'm there.

Then I print out a map and mark a little course for myself. It's like going on a road trip, except I'm walking. And there will be corn dogs!

You can read more about how I plan my days at the Fair in this post: Minnesota State Fair Prep—Part 2: Have a Plan.

That's the plan right now. But you do need to be flexible whenever there are crowds and crowds of animals. I could end up going with a small 5 x 8 inch journal and one pen. Probably not going to happen, but I never really know until I leave that first morning.

Speaking of first mornings, one of my friends is performing at the Fair this year on the opening day: Charlie Maguire. He'll be performing at 1 p.m. with Paul Metsa. They will be singing Woody Guthrie songs. Location: AFL-CIO Labor Pavilion (corner of Dan Patch and Cooper).

I haven't gone to the Fair on opening day in at least a decade, probably longer. But now that there are no birds to sketch (because of bird flu) my plan has to revolve around other events. It will be great fun to see a friend sing and see what the Fair is like on day one!

Now, before you think you're too busy, or too old, or too mature, or too anything to go to the Fair, I want you to think about all those sketching possibilities and then make a plan.

Or if you are on the fence, read this post: Minnesota State Fair Prep—#9: Don't Make the Fair about Work. 

Sometimes the best thing you can do is get up one morning at the end of August and beginning of September and simply grab a sketchbook and GO.

Because that's the ultimate way to be flexible.

See you at the FAIR.

And remember Tuesday, September 1, 2015 is the SEVENTH MINNESOTA STATE FAIR SKETCH OUT!

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