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Sunday, September 2, 2012

State Fair's Ye Old Mill: As timeless as a first kiss
 
Still among the most popular attractions at the Minnesota State Fair is Ye Old Mill. Construction of the ride began in 1913, and it opened to fairgoers in 1915.
(Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff)
By Christopher Magan
from: twincities.com
September 2, 2012
For nearly a century, Minnesotans have relied on the Keenan family to provide an iconic piece of the State Fair.
Ye Old Mill, the Fair's timeless tunnel of love, has given countless Fairgoers a few moments of cool, quiet respite from the hot summer days and bustling streets outside. Four generations of Keenans have operated the Fair's oldest ride -- nearing its 100th anniversary -- at Underwood Street and Carnes Avenue.
Over the years, much at the Fair has changed, but the Old Mill and, for a few moments, its riders remain stuck in a bygone era.
"It's the same type of people, just different faces," said John Keenan, the family patriarch, referring to the steady stream of riders each year.

A couple prepares to enter Ye Old Mill at the Minnesota State Fair on Monday, August 26, 2012. It has been a beloved ride at the Fair for almost 100 years.
 (Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff)
Often helping folks in and out of the boats is a member of the Keenan family. It's a duty that draws them from as far away as Phoenix and Los Angeles.
"Life happens, but we have another life here. Twelve days out of the year, we're all together," said John Keenan Jr., the oldest of four sons who return each year.

 
Inver Grove Heights resident Alex Schaumann, 13, holds a giant stuffed purple dog his friend won as he and others wait in line for tickets to Ye Old Mill at the Minnesota State Fair on Monday, August 26, 2012.
(Pioneer Press: Chris Polydoroff)
It's a tradition that's hard to explain to friends and co-workers who aren't familiar with the Fair's grandeur.
"Unless they're from Minnesota," said John Jr. "Then you instantly have a common bond."
For those who haven't ridden it, Ye Old Mill is simple.
Designed by the Philadelphia Toboggan Co., similar rides once dotted the country, John Jr. said. Only a few remain in operation, including one at the Iowa State Fair.
read more at:
http://www.twincities.com/ci_21446379/state-fairs-ye-old-mill-timeless-first-kiss

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