Saturday, August 22, 2009

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair!

Quoted from the Chicago Life Examiner: The Iowa State Fair, being held August 13 to 23, 2009; is considered the ultimate state fair, and has even been listed in the bestselling book by Patricia Schultz, “1000 Places You Must See Before You Die.” The movie “State Fair” (1945) was based on the Iowa State Fair. The fair, in Des Moines, is a family friendly excursion, about 325 miles from the Chicago O’Hare area, making this an excursion suitable for a stay of a night or two.

The state fair is a community event, with a tradition that dates back to 1854. As an agricultural festival in the Heartland of America, the fair is historically a gathering for families to compare notes on best farming methods and new technology. The Rodgers and Hammerstein movie, “State Fair” was based on the Iowa State Fair. Over one million people attend the fair annually for the fun, educational activities and the social atmosphere
DH and I attended our wonderful Iowa State Fair on Friday. Though the weather was not the usual heat and high humidity that we're accustomed to during this time of year (instead we endured cold and rain), here are a few impressions of it for those of you not fortunate enough to be able to attend.

DH is a John Deere retiree, so it's always appropriate to include photos of farm equipment like this JD tractor that pulls visitors to various stops throughout the grounds.
Each year this patriotic young man, Ray Sorenson, paints a "Freedom Rock" in rural Iowa and this year he was invited to paint a rock during the ten days of the fair. You may recognize his painting of John Wayne who was born in Winterset, Iowa.
He also included on the rock a painting of our 2008 Beijing Olympic Gold Medalist from right here in West Des Moines, Shawn Johnson.
No one misses the chance to go to the Agriculture Building to see the butter cow. Since 1911, a butter cow has been a fair tradition. It's made with 600 pounds (272 kilograms) of butter!
Another butter sculpture usually accompanies the cow. Last year it was a butter Shawn Johnson. This year there's a butter television running a video of the 1969 moon landing and walk. This replaces the proposed butter sculpture of Michael Jackson.
The idea of Michael in butter was so highly controversial it was nixed!
Kids in Iowa are pretty impressive, especially those who participate in 4-H. I never miss going through the 4-H Building to see what creative activities these young people are involved with.
A John Deere tractor from empty pop cans.
Black and white photos of items that spell "Iowa."This 4-Her teaches us how to make Disappearing Nine Patch Blocks, or "9 Patch Twist."
A "Wizard of Oz" quilt.
"Hole in the Barn Door" blocks framed. Neat!
Several 4-Hers painted huge quilt blocks that are hung on a barn or other farm building.
A fair highlight is all the food options. It's expected that almost everything can be eaten on a stick or deep fried. Yes, that's deep fried macaroni and cheese, and deep fried Twinkies and Oreo cookies! This year's most unusual item was chocolate covered bacon on a stick!
No, I did not eat any of these things!
And saving the best until last, here are some of the 822 quilted items entered in the Fabric and Threads Department.

The colorful quilt at the beginning of this slideshow won Best of Show.
It was entirely made and quilted on a Bernina sewing machine by Katherine Peck of Fairfield, Iowa.


  1. I love your blog and enjoy your postings, in particular today, the Iowa State Fair. I'm Mary Jo Jones' sister in CA and seeing your pictures made me feel like I was right there with you! My kids loved going to the Iowa State Fair once when we were home visiting, it is an amazing place! Thank you for taking me back there in your photos today!

  2. I love going to our county fair and have entered some things before. We have not made it to our state fair yet. Maybe one day. I can't believe those butter sculptures.
    Thanks for the quilt show.


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