Once again, the people of Minnesota gather at the State Fair for the 12 holiest days of the civic calendar. And once again, they outfit themselves in T-shirts to express their hopes, desires, dreams, loyalties and obsessions. As I wrote last year, for cross-generational, pan-cultural personal expression, the humble T-shirt is the greatest tool humankind has at its disposal. The T-shirt scene at the Fair is always an interesting referendum on the public’s tastes, interests and general attitudes about life in Minnesota. So once again, we’ve made four all-new bingo cards specially created to reflect this year’s T-shirt trends at the Fair, based on careful and painstaking onsite research over several hours.
Naturally, you can’t use last year’s bingo cards and expect accurate results. The culture has moved on! The once-ubiquitous “Keep Calm” parody T-shirt has completely vanished, as has the Channing Tatum-inspired “Suns Out Guns Out” muscle shirt. The kids are no longer wearing Diamond Supply Company T-shirts, either; they seem to have moved on to their Southern California skate supply rivals RVCA.
I expected to see more presidential T-shirts, but like last year, the T-shirt scene is markedly less political than it was in 2012. Still, expect a smattering of support for Republican hopefuls, and a handful of Hillarys.
Print a card out and take it with you. Each category includes an illustrated example of a T-shirt that might fit in each, but your finds may look entirely different. There’s obviously a lot of room for interpretation in some categories – “country triumphalism” and “state pride” are in the eye of the beholder, but you know them when you see them.