Close to 20 years ago the late Gary Cranston of Fergus Falls and his family introduced Scotch eggs to the state fair in St. Paul.
This year I again stopped at the Scotch eggs food stand, operated by Joe Cranston, Gary’s son, near the coliseum and horse barn southeast of the midway.
“It’s always fun to visit with people from Fergus who stop here at the state fair,” said Cranston to me on Saturday evening, Aug. 31.
We talked about his late father Gary and his mother, Gail, who came up with the idea for Scotch eggs.
A Scotch egg is a hard-boiled egg wrapped in sausage meat, coated in bread crumbs and baked or deep fried. These delicacies are served hot with dipping sauces such as ranch or honey mustard, the latter of which is my favorite.
“True to state fair tradition, our Scotch eggs continue to be served on sticks,” Cranston said.
Twelve years ago Joe’s brother, Matt, entered the state fair food business in St. Paul. He sells flowering onions which are battered and deep-fried onions.
The brothers, who have worked and coached hockey in River Falls, Wisconsin, enjoy some friendly competition each summer at the state fair.
Sports fans here in Fergus Falls remember the late 1970s and early 1980s when Matt and Joe played hockey for the high school Otters,
Scotch eggs originated in northern England in the late 19th century. In those days this delicacy was called Scotties, because they were made at an eatery by the name of William J. Scott and Sons, close to the seafront.
Former Otter star athlete
relishes life in Montana
As kids many of us saw all-around Fergus Otter athlete Tom Glorvigen, a 1960 FFHS grad, as a hero. He excelled in football, basketball and track.
As those glory days ended, our heroes graduated and went on to bigger and better things.
Just recently I heard that Glorvigen had another good year as owner of Camp Three Forks, a campground at Three Forks, Montana. He has owned the campground for more than 40 years.
Camp Three Forks is located between Bozeman and Butte, Montana, a prime location.
In high school Glorvigen was the Otter quarterback and star running back for coach Rocky Elton. He played basketball and also excelled in track, especially in the 100-yard dash and as a member of relay teams.
Those were the days when Fergus Falls competed in the Resort Region Conference along with Alexandria, Wheaton, Breckenridge, Moorhead and Detroit Lakes.
All those teams were strong, as witnessed by Wheaton defeating Moorhead in football in 1964.
Back then the Otter Invitational Track Meet was the largest in western Minnesota.
Itasca fire lookout tower
still attracts many visitors
We’ve visited Itasca State Park many times over the years. On Labor Day, for the first time in 20 years, we hiked over to the ranger tower, also referred to as the Aiton Heights Fire Tower.
I climbed the 110-foot tower, positioned at Itasca Park way back in 1940.
In those days the tower was used by park rangers to monitor forests and keep a close watch for forest fires. Later, aircraft monitored the forests on a regular basis.
Today, many state parks across the United States maintain these towers for visitor use.
While at the top of the tower, you have a panoramic 360-degree view of the landscape.
Climbing the tower is not for everyone, especially for those who have fears of heights. Another thing to consider before you start to climb the many steps to various levels is the possibility that the tower will wobble, slightly, in the wind.
You can drive to within a short distance from the tower or hike in about three quarters of a mile.
Visiting Aiton Heights Fire Tower is well worth your time during your next visit to Itasca State Park.
Tom Hintgen is a longtime Daily Journal columnist. His column appears Saturdays.