Top 5 Things About the Iowa State Fair 2009

Sunday I went to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines.  It was my 2nd time going, and it really solidified the fact that I’ve now established a tradition and that attending the Fair is quite an awesome adventure.  Here are my highlights from this year…



This sounds like a cop out, but you’ve never experienced anything like the Iowa State Fair until you’ve been there.  So many people, rides, animals, etc.  Every year since 2002, more than 1 million people have attended.  (You should be one of them.)


There are countless competitions, shows, concerts, etc. at the Fair.  The big names cost money, but everything else is FREE!  This year I saw part of a great competition, which included two amazing Irish dancers, and heard a band called She Swings, She Sways.  Both were fabulous!  I highly recommend going to the band’s myspace to listen to their music.  The concert was even better because the weather was amazing (complete with a cool breeze) and there was an adorable kid who got very into the music.


I think I’m still understanding how important the butter cow is to the Iowa State Fair.  Apparently it’s a Very Big Deal, even outside of Iowa.  And every year, in addition to the cow, there’s another incredible scupture.  Last year was Shawn Johnson.  This year was not Michael Jackson but Neil Armstrong and his famous moonwalk.  (We concluded that the Fair missed out on a golden opportunity to feature 2 moonwalks by not having MJ there as well.)

EDIT:  Mental Floss has posted a list of 10 past/present butter sculptures at the fair!  See it here.

2.  FOOD


I think last year I did better (or worse?) in the food area.  This year I didn’t eat as much, which leaves me a little disappointed now, but I think my body thanks me for it.  I had fries, a donut, a cinnamon roll, fried green beans, and the most amazing chocolate chip cookies.  All were delicious – esp. the cookies, green beans, and donuts.  However, I did not get any cheese curds, funnel cake, or anything on a stick.  I just realized that the official Iowa State Fair website has a list of all the foods at the fair.   Holy crap, I wish I had seen this sooner.  Next year, it is ON!  I’m going to start saving my money now.  (Jen, did you find that ice cream place?  If not, next year!)


Last year I was introduced to the Fair by my friend Sarah and her family and friends, who have a tradition of attending together every year.  (Sarah has only missed one fair in her entire life so far!)  This year the group included about 15 people, including……JEN!  It’s so much fun to go with friends, friends of friends, parents of friends, kids of friends, and friends who were in the same SLIS class but haven’t seen each other in ages.  🙂  So to everyone I went to my 2nd Iowa State Fair with, thanks for making it a blast!  I’m ready for next year!

– Jill


3 Responses to “Top 5 Things About the Iowa State Fair 2009”

  1. 1 Heidi August 19, 2009 at 12:27 pm

    I went to the Belle STATE Fair. Which doesn’t compare to an actual state’s state fair, I’m sure. But, I agree with you about the food. My favorites were the Onion blossoms (yum!), lemon shake ups (like lemonade except not fake), and corndogs where they paint the ketchup and mustard on the the dog.

    Ohhh, and the FISH SANDWICHES at the BSF are tooo die for (maybe literally). They are best on the last night, since the grease has been sitting for 4 days and they have some extra flavors. And the pickles sit outside all day and night and I still ate bazillions. The END.

    I just wrote 2 paragraphs about food, as I am eating breadsticks.

    The end, for real.


  2. 2 ngtjill August 20, 2009 at 8:33 pm

    Ooh the Iowa State Fair had some kind of lemonade…fresh lemonade?…frozen lemonade?…hmm, Jen had some and I think she said it was good.

    What are onion blossoms?

  3. 3 ngtjennifer August 23, 2009 at 6:05 pm

    I am so glad that I got to spend the day at the fair with you! Did I mention how awesome it was to hang out with Sarah and Linda and all of their friends/family members.

    I am kind of disappointed in myself for not eating more of the awesome fair food, but you kind of have to be willing to spend a lot of money, which I am not willing to do.

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