Thursday, August 14, 2008

Fair Deal

Have you seen the musical, “State Fair”?? It was originally written by Phil Stong and performed in 1935. Rogers and Hammerstein rewrote it as a musical which was first performed in 1945. It allows you to get a glimpse of life for the Frake family as they visit the Iowa State Fair. Mom and Dad want to win ribbons (Dad for his pig and Mom for her mincemeat) but their children are looking for something a little more exciting……love on the midway. Love on the midway? Blue Ribbons? Mere child’s play. Me? I go to find food on a stick.

You may know that the Iowa State Far was listed as one of “1,000 Things To See Before You Die” as chronicled in a book of the same name (Schultz, Patricia. 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler's Life List. New York: Workman Publishing, 2003. p. 630. ). In my opinion, it is because you can find anything from pork chops (see photo) to corndogs, fried Snickers® candy bars and frozen bananas on a stick. You can eat turkey drumsticks and roasted ears of corn (served in the husk) and even catch a glimpse of the annual life-sized butter cow (a cow carved out of 600 lbs. of butter) along with that year’s chosen caricature likeness of some local or national celebrity (see photo, this year's likeness is of Iowa Olympian Gymnast, Shawn Johnson). Sounds crazy but last year, over one-million fair-goers enjoyed the sights, sounds, smells, and foods-on-a-stick at the Iowa State Fair. This year, I am told, may even break an attendance record.

A side note: By the way….for anyone who reads this who happens to be connected to the Iowa State Fair, I came across a brilliant idea that I will have to give credit to my boss for….I realize that all that butter from the cow is recycled and re-used for several years (refer to my “Butter Cow Link” to the right of this blog or visit ) Have you ever thought of breaking her down and selling bricks of Butter Cow butter? They could be sold as souvenirs of the Iowa State Fair. You can call it “Udder Butter”! Brilliant!! Ideas?? Don’t worry…I got a million of ‘em and I won’t even charge you for this one!

I also love my county fair. It takes place during the last week of July, which, climatologically documented, is one of the hottest and driest weeks of the year for our state. This year’s weather did not meet that criteria inasmuch as the “dry” was replaced by intense, sweltering, humidity. Did you know that it can be 100% humidity and not be raining? This fact is true and this years’ event, held on the Plymouth County Fair grounds in “The Ice Cream Capital of the World”, was about as hot and humid as one can ever imagine. While this weather is advantageous to area organizations selling hand-made lemonade and ice cream Nutty Bars, it is oppressive for the livestock who live there for the five days of the Plymouth County Fair. As a small caveat to that last statement (so PETA won’t get all up in our faces…those animals are very well cared for and I would think the Plymouth County Fair is the animal equivalent to summer camp but with ribbons and kids feeding you cotton candy on the sly).

Next time we chat, I will tell you about my favorite thing at the Plymouth County Fair.

I snapped a few pictures to give you a good idea of the slice of Americana these two events represent.

Until next time, I remain….1SweetMama

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