Minnesotans are very passionate people -- whether it’s something as big as supporting marriage equality or our undying affection for Prince, we are incredibly prideful when it comes to our home state. The problem is that we don’t know when to quit. While caring is cool, we can be seriously irrational when it comes to our passion, pride, and fandom. We’re like a cult, except way more polite and with a ton more facial hair.
You know how some people have that ex that they just can’t shut up about? That’s how Minnesotans feel about Wisconsin. Grab anyone off of the street and ask for their opinion about our cheese-loving neighbors, and it’s a guarantee that you’ll get an emotionally charged response. Some will talk about how much they love Packer country because they grew up or went to college there, or they just really love Miller Lite. Others will unleash hellfire, ranting about how Wisconsin is just one big drunken, classless, hillbilly hole in the middle of the country (we don’t think that; we’re just saying we’ve heard others say it before). No matter what, you won’t catch a whiff of indifference when talking about the cheesehead state.
The Minnesota State Fair
Sure, other states have fairs with rides, food, games, and animals, but for 10 days every summer in Minnesota, our fairgrounds become sacred land. For more than 150 years, hundreds of thousands of people flock to the fair from all over our great state, wearing their finest fanny packs and socks with sandals, ready to jam themselves full of deep-fried dough. Diehards have a hyper-specific checklist of traditions that they must follow year after year, including which food vendors to visit, which rides to ride, and even which places to take photos. People literally plan their weddings and vacations around the fair, because the idea of “taking a year off” is in the same boat as “eating healthy at the fair.”
High school hockey
While people from the Twin Cities love all kinds of hockey -- professional, college, and pond hockey, to name a few -- there is no substitute for the annual high school hockey tournament. Every spring, grown men and women completely forgo their personal and professional lives to watch children play hockey. Stop into any office and shout, “Which schools are going to be good this year?” and you’ll be subject to a small army of suburban parents (and in some cases, single people who just really like high school hockey) sharing their ESPN analyst-like insights into the athletic prowess of a bunch of kids who aren’t old enough to see R rated movies by themselves.
As beer-loving Midwesterners, it should come as no surprise that countless DIY brewers have opened their own breweries and taprooms all over the Cities. Whether you’re into light pilsners, thick coffee stouts, or Indian Pale Ales, you most definitely don’t want to be caught hanging out at the bar with a Bud Light. From major players like Surly, Schell's, and Grain Belt, to smaller craft breweries like Fulton, Dangerous Man, and 612Brew, we treat our beers like we treat our children -- with love, kindness, and a special seat at the dinner table on Christmas. Even our major league sports stadiums have begun offering local beers during games. And we don’t just love to drink beer, we also love to talk about it. Visit any taproom in the area and prepare yourself to be cornered into a conversation about flavors, brewing techniques, and where to buy the rarest brews.
Soda vs. pop
It’s a well-known fact that people from various parts of the country use different terms when describing the same thing: pancakes vs. hotcakes, dinner vs. supper, and shoes vs. sneakers are all subtle differences in the lexicon of various regions, but they’re are virtually interchangeable. That doesn’t hold true for pop; at some point in time, the word police of Minnesota got together and apparently decided that “soda” is a four letter word. Even if someone has invited you into their home and graciously offered you a beverage, if they make the unforgivable decision to call it a “soda,” it’s your duty as a Minnesotan to verbally annihilate that individual for not calling it pop instead. If you happen to find yourself in Minnesota and craving an ice cold Coca-Cola, you better be sure that the right word “pops” into your head, or you may find yourself wearing that soda for violating the sanctity of our vocab.
While the days of pledging your allegiance to the East Coast or West Coast hip-hop scene may have died off, Twin Cities rap fans are still repping our scene harder than ever. From local pioneers Atmosphere to standouts like Doomtree and Lizzo, our hip-hop community is just as talent heavy as anything you’ll find in New York or Los Angeles. It’s not uncommon to hear debates at rap shows about how emcees from the Land of 10,000 Lakes would decimate any rapper from any era. And don’t even bother trying to sing the praises of a non-local rapper in the presence of a diehard MN hip-hop enthusiast, unless you’re prepared for a suspiciously slanted history lesson on how essentially all of the greatest rap music has roots right here at home.
The Coen Brothers
For a state full of people who are constantly trying to argue that they aren’t the embodiment of the movie Fargo, Twin Cities OG's treat the Coen Brothers like cinematic gods. Don’t get us wrong, we liked The Big Lebowski as much as the next person, but literally anytime Joel and Ethan make a move, it becomes front page news across the state. On top of being cinema snobs of Minnesota’s favorite film family, people from the Twin Cities all seem to have some sort of six-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-type story, about how they or a friend/family member/acquaintance/co-worker/pet/mailman/bartender was intimately involved in at least one Coen Brothers production. From weekly recaps of the TV adaptation of Fargo gracing local news sites, to midnight showings of O Brother, Where Art Thou? at the Uptown Theater, you can’t throw a bowling ball in the Twin Cities without hitting an obsessive Coen-crazy superfan.
People from the Twin Cities take bicycling way further than the average person -- especially considering that the state is covered in snow and ice for the better part of six months. But we don’t let that slow us down -- fat-tire bikes and frozen lake rides are more the rule than the exception, and it’s not unusual to see someone riding home from work in the dead of January, with a growler of beer and a full face mask. From the annual 30 Days of Biking event every April, to the Fourth of July Freedom From Pants ride where cyclists strip down and get extra-intimate with their bike seats, we will take any opportunity to celebrate our right to ride. While other people may talk about “Jesus, Take the Wheel,” we prefer, “Minnesotans Take the Handlebars.”
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