Illinois State Fair-y tales


A quarter-century ago, Harper’s magazine published what is considered one of the finest essays penned by an American writer during the 20th century.

Ticket To The Fair describes, in sometimes brutal detail, a transplant’s return to flyover country to attend the 1993 Illinois State Fair. The 15,000-word tome, reprinted in David Foster Wallace’s collection of works entitled A Supposedly Fun Thing I’ll Never Do Again, smacks of elitism, an East Coast snob’s take on cheap carnival tricks, livestock, knit shirts and more at

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