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John Lamb, Published July 17 2012

Lamb: How to beat the heat at the Street Fair

With temperatures hotter than a deep-fried jalapeno popper and downtown Fargo crowds packed tighter than the Old Broadway dance floor on “Sweaty Saturday,” this week’s Fargo Street Fair could be as messy as eating a gyro-on-a-stick.

Though Broadway will be bursting at the seams with thousands of visitors, you don’t want to blow your top.

I’ve been writing about the Street Fair for 10 years. For those three days each summer I fork over cash for overpriced food and drinks and walk up and down the street looking at the goods I don’t need until I stop at the suspended-hammock-chair-and-ottoman stand trying to rationalize buying one. Then I remind myself I live in an apartment without a balcony.

So I know how to beat the heat and the Street Fair.

Of course, when it’s hot out, you are advised to wear light-colored clothes and long sleeves to protect from sun burns. Sure, if you know how to remove fry bread taco stains.

My advice, wear something darker with a lot of random patterns. Hawaiian shirts are perfect for such sunny and sloppy occasions. Not only are they comfortable and cover ample spillage, they send a very loud message that you are there to have a good time. As such, no one will want to stand or sit by you, allowing for extra elbow room as you maw down on that barbecued turkey leg.

Health officials also re-mind us to stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water. Personally, I like my water with a beer chaser.

One of the side effects of the Street Fair is that it slows things down for year-round Broadway businesses. This means you can duck into a bar to settle down with something cool and strong and get quick service with plenty of space to relax. Bar restaurants really take a hit, so if you’re looking for something like, an actual vegetable, and a place to sit in the shade, belly up to a bar.

Looking for a more sober way to unwind? Allow yourself to be lured in by the Peruvian pan flute band.

(I assume they are from Peru because the only other people that play pan flutes are satyrs and these guys don’t have beards. But they wear long pants and shoes, so I can’t be sure they don’t have goat legs.)

Sure, you can try to walk on by, arms defiantly folded, humming to yourself so you don’t hear their haunting version of Eric Clap-ton’s “Wonderful Tonight,” but why fight their siren song.

Peruvian pan flute bands have been medically proven to lower your blood pressure. I believe it has something to do their training in the Andes. The fact is, fights never break out at Peruvian pan flute festivals, though napping spikes dramatically, which is why they always travel with colorful blankets.

At least that’s what I’ll tell you if you find me in a bar. I’ll be the guy sitting alone with a smile on my face and special gyro sauce on my Hawaiian shirt.

Readers can reach Forum reporter John Lamb at (701) 241-5533