2012 llama pageant: the kids are all right

The Llama Costume Contest at the 2012 Minnesota State Fair returned with glorious, unbridled imagination and drama at every cloven step. Which clever sibling, competing side by side, will have the superior theme and costume execution? Will Annaliese and her Viking Ship Llama again reign supreme to recapture the Llama Crown? DEAR GOD is that the same Eeyore from last year who suffered horrifying panic attacks?!?

It was not an event for the faint of heart. Sommer, Matt, Tom and I slipped work early to bask in deep-fried cheese, beer and the wonder wrought by rural teens’ genius minds.

Teams are judged on creativity, coverage (how fully concealed their cute little llama and alpaca bodies are) and something the announcer mealy-mouth referred to as “how the animal moves” and responds to its human companion. In short, we figured, compliance.

Creatively, Coverage, Compliance!

Know it live it breathe it, kids! PERFORM EXCEL SOAR!

Bathtub llama was brilliant but a bit cantankerous.

Llama dressed up like a bathtub.

Caterpillar Llama was dang good, though looked more like a Martian with its spacesuit-like-clad handler. This was the grumpiest llama companion I have ever seen, but they still managed to take the intermediate division. Sometimes coverage is everything.

The overall concept for the drag ballerina boy seemed a bit muddled, but we give extra points for bravery (the 2011 Knight Duo, no?). The official judges, unfortunately, do not.

Llama dressed as a caterpillar.

Decency prevents me from leaving the bleachers to get up in llamas’ faces. Thus some shots are less than superb, though I cannot resist sharing even a poor shot of Curious George (an alpaca?) and the Man in the Yellow Hat. Hurrah!

Curious George Llama.

EEYORE! OMG! Last year’s Eeyore Llama went berserk, rolling and thrashing with pitiful brays. The coverage was excellent but severely impacted compliance and its general will to live. Those in the know gasped upon seeing Eeyore’s return, with a smaller, skinnier Piglet trembling at its side.

Eeyore Llama

Was this costume traded on the black market or thieved in the night by an unsuspecting cheater? Was a younger sibling strong-armed into reprising this surely labor-intensive work of art (but destruction!!)? Did the girl courageously assume the risk to defend the family honor? Was an original, more elaborate costume in the works all summer but destroyed by dark gods?

Did they possibly think we could ever forget the panic and the horror?


Eeyore llama from 2011.

(The 2011 Eeyore for comparison.)

Eeyore this year was a bit unruly but managed to escape full-on trauma but also any official commendation. We on the sideline say: Good job, Piglet. But we hope to see you next year in something new and less heart-attack-y.

Flapper and Fancy Dancer were a hit, especially when the alpaca lost his pants.

Fancy dancer llama.

Turning a llama into a giraffe is an obvious choice, but someone had to do it. I would have liked a more closely fitted costume, but the megawatt grin of the safari companion made up for other shortcomings.

Giraffe llama

Don’t know about you, but I love an alpaca dressed as a wolf dressed as a grandma. Notice the lil’ rubber nose and teeth mask. As Sommer noted, “It’s touches like that” that steal our hearts and make us squeal.

Wonderful costume, Little Red Riding Hood!

Wolf llama with Little Red Riding Hood handler.

After seeing the Lady and Knight Llama, I wanted another C category. I wanted Companionship. These two were adorable and clearly having tremendous fun. The girl’s mom sat near us, too, with a thousand thumbs ups. I was a puddle.

Knight llama.

Excellent coverage on Rudolph, here.

Rudolph the red-nosed reindeer llama.

Mountie and Moose! Nice. Here we also have our first shot of Annaliese, last year’s senior division champ, with presumably who had been Viking Ship Llama.

Moose llama and Time Machine llama.

She blew us all away with Steampunk Time Machine Llama. They were beyond rad. As they looped around the barn, the wings were tucked in the saddle device then shot out with a pop. The crowd roared.

Lookit dem gears! Those goggles, tubes and wire! That confidence and charm.

Steampunk time machine llama.

Awesome job, Annaliese, and all participants!

You are the best damn thing at the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

Annaliese with her award, smiling at Steampunk Time Machine Llama.

If only they’d use that time machine to stay teenagers forever so they can keep making llama costumes every all summer and knock off our socks every end of August and assure us that the kids are all right.


See my post from the 2011 Llama Pageant.

1 Comment

  • bholle

    September 7, 2012 at 9:14 pm

    Brilliant. And bewildering.

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