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State Fair Scavenger Hunt – the Hunt by Ann Treacy
August 30, 2011, 8:45 pm
Filed under: St Paul

Every year the Treacy Family does a big scavenger hunt at the State Fair. Often I post pictures from the event and folks ask why I didn’t post the actual scavenger hunt early enough for anyone else to use. So this year, I’m posting. You’ll see it’s hardly a big challenge but it does get you through the Fair with a focus, which can save you hassles and money if you’re traveling with a rake of kids. 


Minnesota State Fair Scavenger Hunt 2011!!!


  1. How big is the biggest pumpkin at the Fair?
  2. Get a picture of everyone wearing pig ears from the Swine Booth.
  3. 3.       What is the strangest food at the Fair? Was it good?

  4. Get a calendar with a family picture.
  5. 5.       Where can you take a giant bubble bath?

  6. How many butter queens have they carved so far? Get a picture.
  7. Ride the Giant Slide at the Fair. (Be sure to have someone take your picture.)
  8. Get a Trading Card picture at the Roller Girl booth.
  9. Pick up as many school supplies as you can. (Each kid should have their own bag!)
  10. How many tickets can you win in the arcade? (Each kid gets $2; no spending your own money!)


  1. Get an autograph from a famous person. (Or get a picture of the team with a famous person.)
  2. Get a bird’s eye view on the Skyride!



Scavenging the Stone Arch Bridge by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 4:03 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

Today we went to the Stone Arch Bridge in Minneapolis. I found some “quest” online, which is sort of like a scavenger hunt but not as good. Actually while we were questing I saw a scavenger hunt sign for bikers with a QR Code and I was jealous – except that I really don’t enjoy bikes. I shouldn’t bad mouth the quest. It was kind of fun. The instructions took us around the bridge and the mill ruins. I learned that it only take 9 minutes for the lock there to fill up. I found that amazing because I also learned it was 9 million gallons. We saw the last couple minutes of a boat floating up – which was kind of cool.

I hadn’t been around the ruins much. I used to work very near there – but that was really before they started the serious excavation and fixing up. You can see pieces of old bridge, which given the proximity to the old 35W bridge is a little unsettling. But you can also see the various tunnels to the old mills and of course you can see the old mills as well. It is a nice way to stop and take a look at what a good job they’ve done of merging the new with the old. The Guthrie Theater fits right in.

We also walked up (above and beyond the quest) to the 35W bridge memorial. It’s very nice. There was a couple there who were very moved – so we were guessing that maybe they knew someone on the bridge. It is amazing to be reminded of how few people did lose their lives considering the size, height and busyness of the old bridge.

Japanese Lantern Lighting Festival in Como by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 3:35 am
Filed under: St Paul

To cap off our day of celebrating Asia in Minnesota, we went to the Japanese Lantern Lighting ceremony in Como Park. We went after dinner which gave time for the kids to enjoy a few games and try out a slingshot thing. We got to see some fighting with swords and drum-dancers – the main event is the lighting of hundreds lanterns in the frog pond in front of the Marjorie McNeely Conservatory. It’s really pretty spectacular – and while there are a lot of people there, the “show” takes place in a big space so you don’t feel too crowded or short.

The one suggestion I would have for the planners – is that it would be nice to have someone narrate the event a little bit. It seemed as if there must be some significance to the lighting and everything else but it was a little lost of us. I was able to find some explanation on the Twin Cities Daily Planet site. (Quick note, I’m on the board of the Daily Planet. They give voice to traditionally underrepresented voices through training and publication. So I was kind of pleased to see this article pop up in my search. It was the only place I was able to find a good explanation of significance of the event.)

The event culminates in the lighting of hundreds of paper lanterns displayed on the pond in the Como Park Japanese Garden and Frog Pond. The Minnesota celebration emulates the Obon festivals that take place all over Japan at this time of year.

According to Buddhism and Japanese folk belief, the souls of the dead may interact with the living during Obon. In Japan, it is a family holiday and people pay their respects ancestors by offering food and drink on a tray called a “bon” in front of an altar. They also light lanterns or small fires to guide the souls home. The festival in Como Park has grown into the largest Japan related event in the upper Midwest, despite the fact that the Japanese American community in Minnesota is extremely small.

Hmong Market in St Paul by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 3:31 am
Filed under: St Paul

Last weekend we also went to the Hmong Market in St Paul. According to Wikipedia Hmong are an Asian ethnic group from the mountainous regions of China, Vietnam, Laos, and Thailand. There is a very large population of Hmong living in St Paul. We had never been to the Hmong Market before – but Lily got the idea. It is an interesting market. Speaking English is only so helpful at the market – as Patrick found out when he tried to order lunch from a menu. The rest of us pointed and picked obvious things – like spring rolls. The food was good but a little different. For example, the sticky rice was purple. It was still good but purple is kind of a strange colors for food.

The market has lots of food. I said the people from Chopped should be getting their secret ingredients here. Some were totally new to me. You could also get lots of clothes, medicine, toys, videos, cell phones. It was part flea market – although everything looked pretty new. Well unused anyways – some of the stuff looked as if it had been left on a shelf for a while. I’d say if you were from Laos and now lived in Minnesota you’d see lots of things you missed from home here.

Minnehaha – clear to the Mississippi by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 3:05 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

I swear we have done more since we’ve been home but I just can’t remember it and/or have no photo proof. I must admit that even though I’m very glad to me home – things don’t seem as noteworthy here. And in fairness I have been working a ton – but we’ve been trying to get in some outings before school starts.

Last weekend we went to Minnehaha. First we had a fantastic lunch at Sea Salt. We had mussels, clam strips, shrimp and a bunch of other things that probably not all kids love – but we liked them all. The best thing about Sea Salt is that it’s all outdoor dining and we scored a great table with a sun umbrella. The funny thing was that the umbrella was bombarded by acorns the whole time. At one point Kate stretched out and she caught an acorn in the head; that sort of thing is always funny, even if it happens to you. Also we got to see some American Indian dancing throughout the meal. I’m not sure why folks were demonstrating the dancing – but it was fun.

After lunch we trekked down to the waterfall. With all of the rain it was pretty spectacular. Then we hiked around Minnehaha Creek. There’s a place where you can wade in the rapids. I’d say if you lost footing you might find yourself down river, but they’ve done a nice job over the last few years of fixing it up so that you no longer fear for wandering toddlers. (Often it seemed that while I may be worried for toddlers, the parents didn’t so I’m glad to have one less worry even if no one else is.)

Actually the area all around the Creek has been fixed up quite a bit. You can walk all of the way to the Mississippi, which is always fun. The River really is beautiful and you pass some cool caves and old bridges along the way.

Shakespeare at the Fringe Festival by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 2:34 am
Filed under: Minneapolis

The Fringe Festival in Minnesota has been going on for about 15 years. Patrick had a play in the Fringe the first year – but since our participation has fallen off some. This year the girls and I went to two shows – but were Shakespear-related shows for kids.

First we saw Lost in Shakespeare. The premise is that kids time travel to Shakespearean times because someone (who also time travels) has been changing the plots of the plays to make then less tragic. So they try to warn Romeo & Juliet to save the bloodshed – but of course that ruins the story. It was a cute show with a lot of actors and activity.

The second show was Perchance to Dream featuring a sleeping Shakespeare whose imagination runs wild producing scenes and character introductions from various plays. Our cousin Jack played Bottom the Weaver from Midsummer Night’s Dream. Jack was very funny in the show and it’s always fun to know the funny one of the stage.

Both plays were fun opportunities to show snippets of shows, soliloquies and brief scenes that even kids would recognize. Both were done by and for kids. The witches from Macbeth featured highly in each production. I guess all kids must recognize the bubble, bubble babble. I watched Aine and her friend at Perchance to Dream – both girls are seven so I’m going to say their firsthand experience with Shakespeare would have been pretty limited – but they were both laughing at various parts. I on the other hand have seen tons of Shakespeare through the years, so for me it was kind of fun to see how long it took me to place each character and recall the plot of each show.

We’re definitely giving double thumbs up to both shows!

Irish Fair by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 2:21 am
Filed under: St Paul

One of the reason for our timing coming home, ironically, is the Irish Fair in St Paul. Patrick is on the board. So some years we spend a ton of time there. This year we didn’t spend as much but I had to laugh at the one picture we got. Really the Irish Fair is pretty fun – but when you spend so much time there it sort of loses something.

Behind the Scenes of the summer trip by Ann Treacy
August 29, 2011, 2:17 am
Filed under: St Paul

I’ve been totally lax about the blog since we got home. For those who were worried. We did make it home. We stepped off the plane in Chicago and realized that Dublin isn’t hot or really even all that warm. My hope had been that we’d enjoy a couple of really hot days before the end of the summer. I’m happy to report that we have – not too many, just enough to make me feel like I had a summer.

One of the fun things I didn’t note much in the blog was how many old friends Patrick and I were able to see. I thought I’d add a few pictures.

We also saw family friends – or really friends that became family friends during our stays in Dublin – specifically Patrick’s adviser (Tony Roche) and his family. They were kind enough to have us to dinner, which is always brave of them since we usually stay forever.  This time the kids played blind man’s bluff, which made me laugh. I had to take pictures!

Also I had to add one of our new friends – the Garden Heroes. We brought these little stuffed fruits and veg everywhere with us. I was on a mission for a client to take picture of the Garden Heroes in fun places for their Facebook contest. But now the funny thing is that Aine kind of remembers where we were based on which Garden Hero was with us.

Ballycorus Leadmines by Ann Treacy
August 1, 2011, 1:22 pm
Filed under: Dublin

It’s Sunday and we just enjoyed our last Sunday lunch of this trip. Fearghal – for years – has been so great to come out on Sundays *in a car*. When you don’t have a car, it’s really a treat to get out to see things that just aren’t accessible by foot, bus or train. Today we got to go to the lead mines. In the early 1800s the lead mines was a working lead mining and smelting center. Now it’sa tower that looms from the Dublin mountains. Patrick and I have tried to walk up to it – but it’s relaly just too far.

Anyways – we drove most of the way there – got to climb the last bit and the leadmine is very cool. There are stairs on the outside that lead to the top – now too many steps are broken to really climb up them, but they are cool. And the views are fantastic. One thing we kind of miss at home are the views. I just think it’s kind of amazing it being able to see certain things – like the leadmines, Bray head, smokestacks, ferris wheel and Howth from nearly all corners of Dublin.

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