Where should you be in the next 10 days? The Iowa State Fair, of course! So you’ve been to a county fair or the Nebraska State Fair, and they were alright, but the Iowa State Fair is on a whole different level! It’s HUGE! Nothing even compares (except maybe Texas State Fair, but it’s not Iowa, ha ha).
I still remember when I was in 5th grade and Mrs. Merkle made us write about a vacation place. Everybody else wrote about lakes, oceans, amusement parks, and there I was writing about the state fair and the fun of dropping a giant rubber spider in front of tourists. Although I’m now a huge fan of Vegas, D.C., and Mall of America, ISF would still make the cut. If you’ve been, you can back me up. If you haven’t – GO! If you need a reason why, I have those, too.
Go for the livestock. You and your kids will love seeing what we refer to as the Big Pig, the largest bull (and yes, his junk is big, too), all the horse shows with their ribbons and crap, the llamas, the loud-mouthed-dumbass sheep, the chickens, ducks, miniature ponies, rabbits, and don’t forget the shorthorn show (mucho important) on Saturday the 17th!
Go for the view. Seriously, I love people-watching. I always say the biggest freak shows show up at fairs, carnivals, and car races. And they have all of that at Iowa State Fair! Lol. I’d also say to go on the sky jack. What a sight from the air! Plus, I love the gorgeous flowers, the enormous pumpkin-growing contests, and you aren’t American if you’ve never seen the butter cow! (Yes, I even witnessed the butter Garth Brooks and Michael Jackson in my day.)
Go for the food. Yes, it’s worth it. Yum. Be ready to founder. There’s all your fried varieties – corn dogs (footlong, baby!), fried Snickers, fried s’mores, funnel cakes, etc. Then there’s the premium-quality meat – steak sandwiches from the cattlemen, turkey legs, mutton burgers in the sheep barn. Plus, you have to have dessert – milkshakes from the dairy producers, snow cones from the carny vendors, fudge from that little building I don’t know the name of, and honey-roasted almonds from the big nuts guys. Lol. And at the end of the day, there’s always beer at Stockman’s, a long-standing Iowa State Fair tradition.
Go for the free stuff. Yes, you can seriously come home with enough school supplies to get you through the year! Hit the varied industries building and the tourism building and load up on book covers, pens, pencils, fans, balloons, tattoos, and even a few koozies for that evening beverage. There’s something for everyone.
Go for the legend. Laugh if you want, but the Iowa State Fair is legendary, even Barney Stinson would agree. There’s the Ye Olde Mill you can canoe through, the free music concerts of the next big music sensations, the big slide, the 4-H tradition being carried on, and this year, you can even see my family get the Century Farm Award.
Honestly, the weather is great. The time is right. You gotta go.
Yes, it’s a lot of walking, and the food isn’t cheap, but I never regret my day at the fair. There’s always lots to laugh at, things I’ve never seen or heard of, and old favorites I’d be sad to miss…
Hope I see ya there!