Spent Saturday in Cold Spring, MN taking up my cousin's invitation to Hometown Pride Days, which among other things included a car show and breweriana show/swap meet, held fittingly enough at the Gluek Brewery.
I learned a few things while there, the biggest of which is that when going to a swap meet show up early to get a spot in the shade. Even here in the frozen tundra of Minnesota the July sun is not known for its mercy. Which leads to the next lesson, a refresher from the days on the farm which is: wear a damn hat next time. Yes, Virginia, UV penetrates hair if given enough time and I've got the sore scalp to prove it.
A less painful lesson is that at one time Minnesota was the home of a pretty large brewing industry, now mostly gone. Schmidt, Hamm's, North Star, White Star, Hauenstien, Schell's, and many others. Although most of the brewers are gone, some of their work remains in the form of old cans, signs, glasses, mirrors, posters, lights, and other items used to show pride in and advertise their brews. Brands like City Club, Royal Bohemian, Kiewel's, Cold Spring, and many others. The people showing (including cousin Mike) knew a hell of a lot about the history behind the stuff as well. For example, I learned that Pamela Anderson got her start advertising beer. By the way, she was much more fetching before plastic surgery and peroxide, but I digress.
The swap meet amply demonstrated the adage about one person's junk being another's treasure. Beer cans dug out of dumps and refuse piles were being sold from prices of 25 cents to over a hundred dollars for a single can (a Schell's Golden 16 oz can, I think). There has been at least one can auctioned at Ebay that sold for over $5,000. Amazing.
The car show had some gems as well, including a Shelby Mustang, various two seat Thunderbirds, a '59 DeSoto Firesweep, and some '50s vintage trucks tricked out to within an inch of their lives that I could only wish to have the money to own. All in all a well-spent day.
Here's a bonus link to a brief article about some of the family breweries of St. Paul.