The Iowa State Fair: Non Stop Fun!


Well the title pretty much says says it all – Ben and I just got home from the Iowa State Fair!


Oh boy it was a HOT one, but the ISF wouldn’t be the ISF unless you were absolutely dripping with sweat while in attendance! We arrived around 10am and headed straight for the main stretch of the fair, containing all the FOOD!


This year’s official state fair food was the "Fair Square," which is basically a giant rice krispie treat on a stick.


It doesn’t sound that crazy or unusual, but for some reason, people have been going absolutely NUTS over them – including me!


I got the peanut butter kind (the other options is regular) and it was spectacular. Sweet, peanut buttery, chewy & dense. A total hit!


Fair Square for her, Cheese Curds for him. Ben’s #1 favorite state fair is cheese curds, and they must from from the cheese curd vendor with the mouse. No mouse, no dice.


His were fresh out of the hot oil and ready to be dunked in cold ketchup.


Streeeeetch it out!


I had a few, they were pretty tasty. Gut wrenchingly greasy, but tasty!


Ben went a little nuts right off the bat and got a corn dog next. I played it safe and prolonged my pigging out. ;)

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We left the food area and guess who we ran into?! My parents! :D


We exchanged photos, then continued on our way. 


We had more state fair to see!


Next we headed into the Agricultural Building.


The agricultural building showcases the best of Iowa agriculture.


People are awarded prizes for most beautiful veggies


the biggest veggies (THAT IS A 10 FOOT GOURD STRAPPED TO THAT BEAM!!!!!)


and the most unusual ones too. Like this three headed beet,


coiled sweet potato,


and ghost-faced potato!


The agriculture building also houses the famous Butter Cow. Oh yes, an entire cow made entirely of butter!!!


They always do some additional, themed butter statues every year (last year they made Shawn Johnson, the Olympic gymnast from my city, entirely in butter.) This year they did a Dr. Suess scene.




Next we headed off to see another one of my favorite fair exhibitions – the giant sand sculpture.


The sculptors work all week on the piece so it’s finished by the end of the fair. I’m kind of glad we waited to go until this weekend (the last weekend of the fair) so we could see the finished product. Star Boars, anyone? ;)


Then, tragically, my camera died. Ben took a moment of silence for it. Luckily I had my Blackberry with us so I could snap a few more shots of all the animals we saw next!


There were the baby chickens,


and ostriches


Cows trying in vain to keep cool,


awww, including this little babe!



Ostriches that creeped me out,


and the Big Bull. Yikes.


There were goats getting groomed,


and boars taking a snooze.


After seeing the parade of animals, I got hungry again (ew, I’m surprised after seeing that boar!) so we stopped for mini donuts.


Only JR’s!


Mini, warm chocolate chip cookies,


and a corn dog. I know. I did it. It was worth it too. The batter was the crispy, crunchy, corn meal batter – not the wannabe, fluffy, funnel cake-like batter that lesser corndogs are battered in. YUM!


Well, we’ve officially had our Iowa State Fair fix for the year and will not be eating for several days hours. ;)

We have a wedding reception to go to tonight – here’s hoping I fit into my dress! Have a good night everyone!

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  1. Holly 08.21.2010

    this has me SOOOOOOO excited for the MN State Fair – you have no idea! and i have to say, i am with Ben. the cheese curds are and will forever be my #1. sorry i never Tweeted you back about Des Moines dinner – we ended up driving through and stopping at that infamous Iowa 80 instead. next time i’m in Des Moines however, i will most definitely see you there!!!

  2. Tina 08.21.2010

    What a crazy fair!! I don’t see how the butter statues stay up. That’s a lot of butter. Those veggies in the showcases are crazy too.

  3. Angharad 08.21.2010

    Soooo the Iowa State Fair basically looks identical to the Minnesota State Fair! Are all state fairs the same or is it just cos we’re neighbours?! Cheese curds are also my absolute fave. Well, alongside Sweet Martha’s gallon tub of cookies and milk. Heaven. Cannot wait for it!

  4. Lizzy @ LBBakes 08.21.2010

    We have butter and sand sculptures and the NY state fair, too! We also have 25 cent chocolate milk – every child and adult’s dream! Our fair starts this Wednesday and runs 2 weeks – woo hoo!

  5. All of the food looks amazing! I’m a huge fan of rice krispie treats, I would’ve gone nuts if I was there too :)

  6. Shelley 08.21.2010

    This makes me a little sad we decided not to go this year! (I live in Des Moines.) The mouse cheese curds are also a favorite of my hubby. Must be a guy thing!

  7. dmcgirl 08.21.2010

    I am off to a wedding today too. Something in the air!
    Looking forward to LOVE and CAKE!

    Have a wonderful rest of the weekend.

  8. Cocoa 08.21.2010

    OMG I miss Cheese curds! I went to college in IA and we’d get them and dip in Ranch dressing…fond, greasy, freshman 15 memories :)

  9. Katie 08.21.2010

    My radio show was talking about this fair the other day and I wanted to go so badly! I think I’ll make a point to do it one of these years :)

  10. Oh man….there really is nothing like fair food! Looks like you had a great time enjoying all the sights and eats. If I had been there, I would have snapped up a fair square! Fair food is definitely one of my favorite indulgences. It only rolls around once a year, after all! :)

  11. Sara 08.21.2010

    ooops we had 2 helpings of cheese curds when we were there!

  12. Kristin 08.21.2010

    Usually lurk but just had to comment. Love love love the cheese curds. I’ve lived away from MN for so long, but the one time in the past few years when I was there at State Fair time, I had to have the cheese curds. So disgustingly tastey.

  13. Leianna 08.21.2010

    Love going to state fairs! This will be the first year in my life I won’t be going to the MN state fair, which makes me really sad. But I guess having a baby is a good excuse!

  14. I was out at the Fair today right around the same time. The heat was awful! My husband tried the cheese on a stick (corn dog batter around cheese). He was a happy guy until it oozed off the stick and plopped into the ground halfway through. Seriously, I really thought he was going to cry! Ahh, fun times! Looks like you had a blast and you don’t even look like you broke a sweat! :)

  15. Lynne 08.21.2010

    Wow I miss the fair. We always went there for my birthday.
    My cousin was set up in the Cultural Center showcasing her pottery, Willow Avenue Pottery (shameless plug – she’s on FB).
    Could really go for some of those cheese curds. Yummm!

  16. Amanda 08.22.2010

    omg!! How i miss the fair!! My dad ALWAYS made us go see the butter cow!! I hope you got the ice cream from inside that building… That was our reward after walking up that GIANT hill just to see the butter cow. The ice cream from in there is AMAZING.

  17. wowsers looks like an awesome fair totally worth the visit! x

  18. What a fab day and it looks like you really took advantage of all the yummy fair food. So worth it!! :)

  19. Nell 08.22.2010

    I love fairs! Such a fun small town feel.
    And those baby birdies, awww <3

  20. kate 08.22.2010

    We didnt get a chance to go to the ISF this year, but luckily it always comes back!

  21. aww looks so fun! and tasty :)

  22. Jen 08.23.2010

    looks like so much fun!

    oh, and I am so with you on the ostrich thing…I have an intense phobia of ostriches stemming from an encounter in a drive-thru zoo as a child. {I literally freak out and sometimes even cry when I see them…it’s really embarrassing.}

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