Editorial: State Fair making good decisions

Published 12:00 am Monday, July 17, 2006

Q. Which do you think kids will enjoy more? A butterfly exhibit or a penny arcade.

A. They will probably enjoy either one, which one more depends on the kid.

Q. Which display have they not seen before.

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A. The butterfly exhibit.

Q. At which do you think kids will learn more?

A. The butterfly exhibit.

It’s a shame there has to be animosity between the penny arcade vendor at the Minnesota State Fair and the fair managers, but the fire marshal had condemned the penny arcade building for upkeep problems such as dustiness, residue from floods and poor condition of the building. There was reason to take action.

The fair plans to pay $102,000 for the 10,000-square-foot building, and a butterfly exhibit will replace the corner of the building where the penny arcade was. The exhibit will let people view butterflies from around the world as they emerge from cocoons.

We like some of the upgrades happening at the state fair in recent years. The old-time exhibits have charm but there should be room for new ones, so fair-goers see a mix of the two. State fairs, world’s fairs and even many county fairs historically are places for seeing new products and new shows. Recall that Americans in the 19th century went to a fair to see something new, not old.

If a fair loses that edge, it becomes the same show every year and attendance goes down.