And the rest of the words go, "don't miss it. Don't even be late!" I know I'm giving away my age, remembering the words to that song from the 1962 Rodgers and Hammerstein movie, "State Fair." It's an oldie but a goodie... as is our fair!
Dan and I went on Monday, along with 90,367 (up from 85,569 in 2010) of our Iowa neighbors and visitors. Daily fair attendance has been up, and most everyone agrees it's because of the weather which has been unseasonably moderate, surprisingly so after the high heat and humidity of July. No one's complaining.
To my Aussie and NZ friends: I would favorably compare our fair to the Sydney Royal Easter Show which I was fortunate to attend in 2009. Our fairgrounds aren't as new as Sydney Olympic Park (site of the 2000 Olympics) nor as well planned (expansive) and paved, but our exhibits and activities are similarly wonderful. We have a pleasant mix of old and new buildings, but more importantly, the intent is the same as that of the Sydney Royal Easter Show... to showcase our best.
Here's my take on a nine hour day at the Iowa State Fair.
|John Deere tractors pull wagons full of people around the grounds|
|From a hilltop, you can see downtown Des Moines and our gold-domed state capitol building|
|A fair parade is daily. Monday was Veteran's Day, and here's a vehicle flying patriotic flags.|
|We were captivated by a free performance: Extreme Canines That's a dog balancing on the palm of his handler.|
|Chain saw wood carver at work.|
|My husband with a fairgoer who WOODn't even speak to him. That's so unlike an Iowan.|
|Gardens outside the Agricultural/Horticultural building|
This year the fair features cows! Sculpted from butter, made of sand, made of concrete and painted.
|The infamous butter cow. This one's a replica of the 1911 display.|
|Honoring the former butter sculptor and the new sculptor.|
|Cow and calf sand sculpture in progress.|
|My collage of some of the 100 concrete painted cows scattered throughout the fairgrounds|
|The fair is famous for its foods on a stick - corn dogs to pork tenderloins to salad!|
|All varieties of animals|
|4-H kids have their own building to show off their talents|
|In the 4-H Building: Restored children-sized, metal John Deere tractors|
|4-H Building: woodworking|
|4-H Building: table made from cut-up yard sticks. Cute idea!|
|Politicians love schmoozing at the Iowa State Fair.|
My husband (right) shakes hands with one of our Republican presidential candidates, Rick Perry (Texas)
|The one man band - Bandaloni|
He delighted and impressed us by playing a: drum, wood block, cymbal, guitar, harmonica and singing, almost simultaneously!
|A husband and wife, working together at a nearby lemonade stand, came out to give us a dancing show. Don't they look like they're having fun?|
|Bandaloni, who has been on "America's Got Talent," got everyone dancin', even the Iowa State Fair mascots!|
As we were leaving the fair, we saw this local newsman, Todd Magel, setting up for the evening broadcast. He's standing by The Ejection Seat ride where a brother and sister were stuck - suspended in the air, for 2-1/2 hours! We missed all that excitement. Here's the actual video broadcast made by this newsman.
photos can be seen here. The Fabric and Threads Department display of talent is remarkable, as are the talent shows, baking (the cakes!) and cooking competitions, and displays of all things commercial and farm-related. The amusement rides, the food... I could go on and on about all of it. I'll probably return one more time before this ten day run ends. I wouldn't want to miss my annual chance to eat something on a stick! Linda