commenter-thread

Is it a factor of importing most of our college grads?

In the higher education literature, there really is a thing called the "Colorado Paradox". We're only so-so at graduating our kids from high school (still better than our funding ranking), getting them into college, and graduating them. But a relatively huge number of college grads move here, so we have one of the two or three top "most educated workforce" rankings in the country.

My friend the anthropologist says that if you want to learn the truth about some situation, look at the jokes that are told about it. Long-time Colorado joke I'm sure you've heard: "In a random restaurant in Vail, chances are good that your waitperson has a better degree than you do." My daughter up in Fort Collins says that the same joke has become common there, with "barista" in place of waitperson.

Could well be. I see that in Minnesota, the state fair's last day is Sep 2, and the first day for the public schools in the Minneapolis/St. Paul area is Sep 3. Here, the state fair runs Aug 23 to Sep 2; the biggest five school districts in the state all started well before that, between Aug 7 and Aug 19. Even Pueblo, where the state fair is held, started classes on Aug 20.

Off on a tangent... Denver Public Schools has 60 school buildings with no air conditioning. The official high temperature for each of their first two days of classes this past week was 97. (But it was a dry heat, with relative humidity readings of 9% and 12%.)

Colorado's population is just a bit bigger than Minnesota's now, but the Minnesota Fair puts Colorado's to shame:

+ About four times the attendance
+ About nine times the economic impact for the state
+ No state money given to the Minnesota fair since 1949
+ Interesting factoid in the Wikipedia article says the Minnesota Fair clears more profit from winter boat/camper storage than from the Fair proper

Every year when I was working for the Colorado state legislature, the State Fair came up in budget discussions. At that time the state was subsidizing the Fair operations, although the board seems to have gotten back into the black in more recent years. Relocating the Fair also comes up almost annually. The Colorado State Fair board asserts that the Fair would probably draw fewer people if it were closer to Denver because of all the other entertainment options. Interesting that the Minnesota State Fair is located in the biggest metro area in the state (also true for the Iowa and Texas State Fairs).

Is this too political a comment?

Yep. I'm sure they've changed things in the intervening decades (yeah, I'm old). Our band director was a retired Army master sergeant, who I realized in hindsight was outstanding at motivating young men and women in a particular direction. Surviving the La Vista Death March in wool and heavy plastic uniforms, playing all the music and doing the fancy marching, was a "we are just that damned good" sort of tradition.

We also did a fine job on a concert hour of Sousa marches and Broadway tunes in the city park on summer evenings.

I haven't been to a State Fair since I was in high school. My high school's marching band was invited to be an "honor band" each year that I was there. Which meant riding a school bus for 50 miles to the fair grounds, and marching/playing around the periphery for an hour. Twice, once in the morning and once in the afternoon. The weather was much as you would expect for August in eastern Nebraska: hot, humid, and the sun beating down. The uniform was wool trousers and jacket, white shirt, a waterproof plastic overlay that covered you front and back above the waist, and a tall fur shako. You could sweat off a quart or more of water during that hour in the afternoon.

(It wasn't the least pleasant of the summer appearances for the band. The annual "La Vista Death March" late in July each year was worse.)