The state fair may be legend, but Minnesota’s podunk summer festivals—Detroit Lakes’ Water Carnival, the Audubon Pet Parade (which took ten minutes, beginning to end), and “Looney Daze” (sic) in Vergas—deliver superior fun with easier parking.
Lakeside communities in northwestern Minnesota—frozen into a block of ice for seven-plus months—have to cram their pent up energy into the short tourist months of summer. In Vergas, where the loon is revered as a deity, you’ll find loon ball, the worlds largest loon, and, in August, Looney Daze. (Actual slogan: "WhAt HaPpEnS In VeRgAs!…StAyS In VeRgAs!")
The four humid days of activities include rummage sales, "Vergas Idol" karaoke, loon calling and strongman contests, water fights, a beer garden, and the ubiquitous small town parade, which I love to watch while listening to commentary by the townsfolk in their thick accents straight out of Fargo. (At the drinks cart, a woman in line ahead of me ordered a “sprayt”.)