<p>Riders twirl and tumble around the Zipper at the <a href="http://www.mnstatefair.org/">Minnesota State Fair</a>, one of the largest state fairs in the United States. The 12-day event attracts nearly 1.8 million visitors every year.</p>

Zipping Along

Riders twirl and tumble around the Zipper at the Minnesota State Fair, one of the largest state fairs in the United States. The 12-day event attracts nearly 1.8 million visitors every year.

Photograph by David Bowman, Natoinal Geographic

10 Pictures That Will Have You Running for the Fairgrounds

At most any state fair you’ll find thrills and chills, not to mention prize-winning pies, porkers, parades, and plush toys.

Late summer and fall are high season for that quintessentially American institution known as the state fair.  

“The state fair,” explained storyteller Garrison Keillor in National Geographic in July 2009,  “is a ritual carnival marking the end of summer and gardens and apple orchards and the start of school and higher algebra and the imposition of strict rules and what we in the north call the Long Dark Time.”

The fair also provides presidential candidates with numerous photo-ops and props like corn dogs, rare breeds of swine and blue-ribbon, skyscraper-high cakes. Twenty made the scene at the Iowa State Fair recently, including Donald Trump, who swooped in by helicopter.

Then, all gets packed up and everyone goes home. The only leftovers are memories. “Now you are yourself again,” Keillor writes, “ambitious, disciplined, frugal, walking briskly, head held high, and nobody would ever associate you with that shameless person stuffing his face with bratwurst and kraut, mustard on his upper lip, and a half-eaten deep-fried Snickers in his other hand.”

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