Sunday, August 22, 2010

Iowa State Fair

So perhaps you are wondering why I chose to spend my summer vacation in Iowa. First and foremost, its Iowa State Fair season. And why did I want to go to the fair, you ask? Well did you know that it’s the only US state fair to make the list “1000 Things to do Before You Die.” It’s so great that Rodgers and Hammerstein's wrote "State Fair", the musical about it. They claim to have 50 foods on sticks and discovering them is the kind of travel challenge I like. Oh and yes, I have two friends there who I wanted to visit and this seemed like the perfect time to come.

Visiting the fair meant plenty of time to see prize livestock. There were enormous bulls (the biggest is the size of a small minivan and 3500 lbs!!!) and hogs (the largest is 1500lbs - lots of bacon there!); Aisles of cows, sheep, goats and horses; Chickens with wild tufts of feathers that made them look more like lions than birds. I particularly decided to focus on pigs since I’ve always been partial to them and wasn’t able to find their barn at the New York State Fair a few years ago and have wanted to see them since. Also Iowa is a proud pork producing state so as the saying goes... when in Rome...

(Did you know that pigs are smart and interactive? Did you know they wag their tails and love to be scratched between their ears and quickly close their eyes in complete happiness when given a little attention?)

It also meant wandering through rows of huge farm equipment and being able to get the feel of sitting behind the wheel on big tractors. It meant rows of 4-H winners in sewing, baking, science and design. It meant learning about breeding in the baby animal building where chicks are hatched and baby pigs, sheep, goats and cows all cozily sat with their moms. It meant taking big rides and eating fried food on sticks. My favorites were pork chop on a stick, salad on a stick and deep fried Twinkie on a stick. My goal was to eat as many things as possible and I made it through 16 items. Unfortunately I missed deep friend cheesecake and chocolate covered cheesecake, fried bologna, pickles on a stick and many more. I guess it means I have to back next year! All in all, it was just that fun that it warrants a trip back some time!

Thanks Iowa for the good times.

1 comment:

Kelsey said...

It has to be asked: Did you see the butter cow? I believe this year it was accompanied by Dr. Seuss characters, which is a nice change from the usual boring motorcycles and such.

The State Fair is always a good introduction to the state, and I must say I'm always happy when an outsider begins to appreciate my home state as much as I do!

FYI, next time you're there I'd suggest you visit Grinnell. It's a quaint, charming little town halfway between Des Moines and Iowa City that I like to call home, even though I haven't lived there for several years.

Glad you had a good time there!