Get a Side of Cats With Your Deep-Fried Oreo at the Minnesota State Fair


Last year, my fellow Catster writer Angie Bailey attended the first annual Internet Cat Video Festival at the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Judging from her report of the event and the coverage by media all over the world, and from the rave reviews offered by the other 10,000-plus people who attended, the event was a huge success — so much so that they’re doing it again.

This year, the Internet Cat Video Festival will be part of the Minnesota State Fair, the state’s biggest celebration of agriculture, summer entertainment, and food on a stick. The new location will allow the festival to include lots of new and cool stuff, including music, special guests, community art projects, and booths hosting local animal resource nonprofits. It will even conclude with fireworks.

How did this come about? Pure serendipity, by the sound of it. Renee Pearson, deputy general manager of entertainment and marketing for the fair, was looking for a way to incorporate film into the event, and the Walker had been on her call list. Before she could call the Walker, though, Scott Stulen of the Walker-affiliated website called Pearson to pitch the idea to her.

Pearson said her colleagues weren’t terribly excited about the idea. But, she says, “I watched the clips and got hooked. There was no turning back.”

The festival will be held August 28, 2013, at the state fair’s grandstand, which has a 13,000 capacity and an audiovisual setup that dwarfs anything the museum could put together.

A few things will be different this year as a result of the change in venue. First, admission to the festival will cost $10, while last year’s festival was free of charge. Second, there’s a new category, "Cat on a Stick," which is for videos of Minnesota cats only. Finally — alas — festival-goers won’t be allowed to bring their cats.

Nominations are now open in the categories of comedy, drama, foreign, musical, documentary, animation, lifetime achievement, and, of course, cat-on-a-stick. An open category is available for videos that don’t fit anywhere else. The people’s choice “Golden Kitty” prize will be decided earlier in the summer via online vote.

I bet Grumpy Cat will be one of the most popular nominees. After all, the video where she speaks out and tells the world she’s really not grumpy would make even the most stalwart cat hater go "awwww." But if cats were allowed, would Tardar attend this year’s festival? Come on, Tardar, it’d be fun!

Hmm, I wonder if I’ll be able to make it to Minnesota this summer ÔǪ

Sources: Star Tribune, Walker Art Center

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