Here are a few of the categories and events that City Pages will no longer be listing in our annual Summer guide:
- Camp Thunderbird, Bemidji's daily "Flag Raising" ceremony
- Pit-bull Fighting
- SwingStock 2004 Paradise Campout ("Our 15th Erotic Year!...approximately 2 hours north of Minneapolis/St. Paul, Minnesota. Exact location revealed only to registered attendees.")
- Riots and Near-Riots
- Mourning Dove Hunting
- Racially Charged Police Shootings
- Second Annual Pepsi National Electric Football Charity Fundraiser Tournament at the Mall of America, June 18
- Friday "Frottage Nights" on First Avenue
- That 40-person-strong Mexican volleyball game in a residential parking lot along University Avenue NE that goes on from 4:00 p.m. to sundown, every weekday, every week, all summer long
- Screening number 15 of Shrek 2 for sweating and weeping three-year-olds
- "Dead Bird Reporting" for West Nile Virus: www.health.state.mn.us/divs/idepc/diseases/westnile/deadbirdform/index.cfm
- Otter Tail County Historical Society's "Touch and Explore" days ("Children love to explore through touching and feeling..."), June 29
- Carny Honor Killings
- Junior Varsity Hazing Rituals
- Minnesota Donkey and Mule Club State Show, July 30-31
- Recovery Workshops for Those Touched and Explored
Other than that, it's all in here. Soccer schedules, French classes, nudist events, boat rentals, feminist self-defense workshops, faith-based marital-counseling weekends, Clear Channel radio-station promotional concerts where the 14 headliners each lip-synch for three minutes.
Which brings us, neatly, to Brad Zellar's "Day-tripper", a travelogue that begins with a graveyard picnic on truck-stop food in the shadow of a fire-belching oil refinery... and goes downhill from there. You won't see roof racks with Kevlar kayaks where we're going, and you can leave your guide to the Midwest's coziest bed-and-breakfasts at home, too. This is a journey into forgotten and forsaken places that maintain only the most tenuous claim to a spot on the state atlas--towns that Zellar rightly says are "as exotic and unfamiliar as any foreign country." And most of them are only 40 or 50 miles from your doorstep.
Of course, summer isn't all about frivolous stuff like Christian marital counseling and cemetery dining. And nudity doesn't come free. Well, often it's free, but not always. With that fact in mind, and with Labor Day already looming on the horizon, we're proud to be running a compendium of first-person summer job confessionals. (Imagine Studs Terkel crossed with Meatballs and you've got the idea.) So you think you did some crappy things for minimum wage? Well, have you ever swabbed a radioactive toilet? Have you chased chickens through a guano slurry? Have you watched a fellow corn-detassler wander off toward an electric fence, unzip his trousers, and...no, you surely haven't.
The brave teen laborers whose stories we're printing today could not have enjoyed their summers--but their abundant misery will surely make our own hot, hazy days seem brighter. At least it's something to read while you shovel manure at the donkey show.
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