Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Our State Fair is a Great State Fair

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!
In Pioneer Hall we sat in on the harmonica competition. One of the judges, Phil Hauge, offers an impressive performance.

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.
What else can I tell you about it? If you're really interested, lots more 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


  1. I just need to know if you tried deep fried butter on a stick? I would take a bite.....

  2. I love a fair...what fun, we have the Perth Royal Show here, coming up soon in September..
    Salad on a stick!
    Julia ♥

  3. I hate to say it, but this beats the Missouri state fair....no butter sculptures or salad on a stick...but they do have a wonderful rodeo! i have a collection of yardsticks...now I know just what to do with them!

  4. Hi Linda, thanks for sharing your pictures. I will show my hubby. We were just talking about it last night, he said he remembers that there were lots of stuff on sticks, pork chops? and also turkey legs being cooked. We have been to the Royal Easter Show a few times, we are about 100 miles of Sydney here, and when I was a little girl living in Queensland, the Brisbane Exhibition was the big one there- it is in fact on at the moment. I know my hubby was very impressed when he saw the butter sculpture at your fair- who knows we may get there one day. :)



Related Posts Widget for Blogs by LinkWithin