Off the Air

A collection of press clippings, special projects or appearances including Garrison Keillor.

Summer Love Tour: Fairly Colossal

August 29, 2011

PHC staffer Ella Schovanec is on the Summer Love Tour with Garrison, Fred Newman, Andra Suchy, Heather Masse, Sara Watkins, and The Guy's All-Star Shoe Band and will update us periodically from the road.

We did our show Sunday afternoon from the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, Alaska. The grandstand was beyond oversold, the rare Alaskan sun shined down on us, and the performance was magnificent -- the twin powerhouses of Heather Masse and Sara Watkins blending with Garrison Keillor to make exquisite trios and Fred Newman's sound effects echoing off the purple mountains all around us.

The main events at the Alaska State Fair are the vegetable weigh offs and they are quite hefty -- I saw a 74-pound head of cabbage as big as a border collie and I was told that there would be a 1,700-pound pumpkin rolling into the fair on Wednesday. How does the biggest state in the U.S. also grow the biggest produce you ask? In this 'land of the midnight sun,' the crops get about 20 hours of light during the summer, so vegetables turn titanic and the grass and trees glow neon green with all that extra chlorophyll.

The fair was dizzyingly crowded for a state that's otherwise devoid of people (1 person per square mile to be exact), and the Alaskans were parading their fried foods around like prizes. They chop up their baseball bat-sized zucchini here and deep fry it, I tried deep fried peaches over ice cream, and golden halibut nuggets, a chili-covered corn dog, a bbq chicken parfait (better than it sounds), raw beet juice (as bad as it sounds), glazed donut burgers, and a bucket o' mini donuts. We stocked up on enough grease to last us the winter, or at least until we make it back to the Minnesota State Fair on Friday.

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