Friday, August 20, 2010

All About The Iowa State Fair

Today, my husband and I made our yearly trip to the Iowa State Fair. We knew it was supposed to be raining this afternoon, so we went bright and early this morning...and yep, it did start down-pouring before we had a chance to see everything....but we still managed to take in the sites and enjoy our time before the storm. For those of you in Iowa, you know how AMAZING our state fair is...a walk through the fabric and threads is worth the trip alone...but for the many of you who will never have the experience of the Iowa State Fair, I thought I would share just a touch of it with you. Even our fair grounds are a sight to be seen...Iowa's fairgrounds cover 435 acres - and host one of the world's largest livestock shows, the country's largest state fair foods department (approx. 900 classes), the state's largest arts show, hundreds of competitive events and wacky contests; 600 plus exhibitors and concessionaires selling tasty treats, and 160 rolling acres of campgrounds...all attracting over 1 million visitors each is almost overwhelming. There are still quite a few historic buildings on the grounds - dating back to the late 1800s and early 1900s...and as seen below, even the gardens on the property are beautiful...

There are many "must see" things at the Iowa State Fair...for instance:
The Butter Cow - yes, a cow sculpted out of butter - the Butter Cow has been a staple at the Iowa State Fair since the early 1900s. This creamy cow starts with a wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 lbs. of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter. Once inside the 40-degree cooler, layers of butter are applied until a life-size butter cow emerges - measuring about 5-1/2-ft high and 8-ft long. Of course, the cow is behind glass, so it is nearly impossible to get a good photo with all the glare...but you get the idea. This year also had a butter tribute to the 50th Anniversary of Dr. Seuss' Green Eggs and Ham.

There are also the big boar and the big bull out in the barns...and oh my goodness, you have to see these to believe them. This year, the Champion Big Bull is named "Duster" - he weighs in at 3,022 pounds (a Charolais from Stalcup Farms Charolais in Prescott, Iowa)....and the Champion Big Boar is "Big D" weighing in at 1,212 pounds (a Duroc-Cross from Farm in Ladora, Iowa).

If you can grow it or make it, chances are there is a category for entering it in our state fair...building after building filled with, photography, doll houses, wood carving, quilting, knitting, tatting, embroidery, baking, cooking, canning, farm and fruit crops, livestock, you name it. For obvious reasons, I can't show you photos of all of these...but as a sample, I will share a photo of some winning Heirloom Vegetables...

I have saved the best (or at least my personal favorite) for my next blog entry - the Fabric and Threads division. I took so many photos, it will be hard to pick the ones to post...the exhibit this year was truly unbelievable! Look for the needlework and quilting photos tomorrow....


  1. Sounds like a great fair! Can't wait to see the next post on fabric and threads. Butter cow--very interesting.

  2. That sounds like a lot of fun. I do enjoy the many exhibits and especially the food.

  3. Wow! How does a boar that big move? Thank you for posting pictures. I love the fair!

  4. Cool! That is one big pig!! Can't wait for tomorrows pics!

  5. Thanks for sharing your day at the fair. I have always wanted to go but just haven't yet. Life just always seems to busy durring this time of year.
    Love the pictures. Exspecially the butter cow and the veggies. I love the white pumpkin and the giant cucumber/zuchini on the paper plate. The paper plates just make me laugh.

  6. Wow a special treat. Your pictures are nice. Thanks for sharing.

  7. Great visuals of your state fair, Belinda! Funny you should show a pic of the Butter Cow; I read a very short article in some magazine this week about the Butter Cow at the Iowa Fair!

    Looking forward to seeing your pic of the fabrics and threads!


  8. OMG that bull is huge! This would be a fantastic fair to visit. There aren't any fairs of that size in my area . Ours are all small local fairs. Unfortunately the craft entrys no longer seem to contain any needlework which is very sad to see. So I am really looking forward to your pics of the fabric and threads.