Iowa State Fair – 18 AUG 2012

The Iowa State Fair is one of the largest state fairs in the country. It runs 11 days and has a million visitors.
Started in 1854, it was held in Fairfield, Muscatine, Oskaloosa, Iowa City, Dubuque, Burlington, Clinton, Keokuk before finally calling Des Moines home.
With over 285 acres (not including the 160 acres of campsites) it is larger then Texas 277 acres but smaller than Minnesota’s 320 acre fair.

Unlike the Texas State Fair which felt very commercial, Iowa and Minnesota State Fairs are agriculturally oriented with a large 4-H presents.
I saw some of the Clydesdale juvenile driver cart competition.


There were several buildings with museum type displays.



As with all fairs, there is every kind of food on a stick.
Even deep fried butter.
They have been visited by several Presidents including Obama.
I caught this one at the Civil War camp.


Fifty-seven concrete ice cream cones painted by individuals, clubs and companies.

Below is a lawn chair throwing contest…at the end of the arrow is the chair in mid-flight.

TW sneaks into an FFA display:
The Cownie Cultural Center had all types of art.

Model House
Hand-Carved Wood Bowl



This is real farm art:
Yes, made from barbed wire:

Scrap Booking
One of the biggest attractions was in the Agriculture Building…see the line of people…all waiting to see the ice and butter sculptures up close.



The main attraction is the Butter Cow, first introduced in 1911.  Made of wood, metal, wire and steel mesh frame and about 600 pounds of low moisture, pure cream Iowa butter. There have only been five different sculptors over the years. 

This year also included Snow White, Evil Queen and the Seven Dwarfs.  The current artist, Sarah Pratt, apprenticed for over 15 years before getting the job…that’s a lot of work inside a 40-degree cooler.



The other “must see” (besides the Butter Cow) is the World’s largest chocolate Moose.
The moose’s stainless steel frame weighs 320 pounds and stands 10 feet 6 inches high and 118 inches long. Hundreds of pounds of Dutch chocolate were applied in layers and hand-carved until a life-size chocolate moose emerged, taking 9 weeks to complete.