The Iowa State Fair is an event that we look forward to every year. Although I must admit that I had never been to the Iowa State Fair before meeting Anna, her family has got me hooked. It is great hanging out with her parents and enjoying the fair together.
There is literally something for everyone to see, do, or eat. Here are my 8 things you HAVE to do at the Iowa State Fair.
Thrill Town: Kids Carnival
Thrill Town is a carnival for kids and the first stop for us at the Iowa State Fair. Jude’s eyes get as big as saucers looking at all the rides. His favorite rides are the bumper boats, carousel, tea cups, and ferris wheel.
The bumper boats always make me laugh. Most of the kids, like Jude, are going in circles or are up against the edge of the pool the entire time. The workers are always busy trying to make sure the kids are able “drive,” but it doesn’t seem to affect the kids’ attitude at all.
Jude’s fascination with ferris wheels lately led him to ask me if we could put one in our yard. While I’m not sure if we have the space or the permits to do so (cough, cough) I am happy that he was able to ride it this year with Grandma.
Wristbands can be purchased for $1 and then loaded with credits. Once your credits are used up, you can reload your wristband at any Thrill Parks ticket booth, Reload Kiosk, or even on the Magic Money App.
Sky Glider East
One thing that Anna and I love to do together is ride the Sky Glider. We enjoy walking up to the east end of the fair grounds by Pioneer Hall and riding the Sky Glider back next to the Ye Old Mill. We love this route because it gives us a bird’s eye view of the fair.
While riding the Sky Glider is enjoyable, I have to admit that our stomachs sink for just a moment every time they stop the glider while we are riding it. The glider is stopped from time-to-time to help those who need an extra moment getting on or off the glider. Thanks to our healthy fear of heights, we imagine the glider breaking down and having to sit there and wait for help.
The Giant Slide is a kid’s (and adult’s) dream come true. Every time I take the kids to a park, I try to ride the slide. I usually find that I am way too big and end up having to shimmy and scooch my way down. Well, every year at the Iowa State Fair kids and adults alike can ride the 40-foot tall Giant Slide down the 140-foot long wave while sitting on a burlap sack. It’s a lot of fun and something you’ll end up doing more than once.
World Super Bull
I am always curious to see the Super Bull. I have never lived on a farm, so I don’t ever have a reason to get near a cow much less a bull. This year’s Super Bull was Dream On. He weighed 3,050 pounds and was from Brand Farms in Corning, Iowa.
Champion Big Boar
Who doesn’t like bacon and feeling better about yourself? When I compare myself to the Champion Big Boar, I look tiny and feel better about myself for eating all of the fair food. This year’s Champion Big Boar, Itty Bitty, weighed 1,163 pounds and was from West Delaware, Iowa, FFA Chapter.
Beef Sundae at Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters
Speaking of food, at the Iowa State Fair you can find almost anything on a stick or deep fat fried, but the one thing we look forward to is our beef sundaes. At the Cattlemen’s Beef Quarters, you will usually find a long line (don’t worry; the line moves quickly) of people waiting to order all kinds of beef dishes, but the most popular seems to be the beef sundae.
The beef sundae contains mashed potatoes, beef, gravy, cheese, and is topped off with a cherry tomato. When you think of Iowa food, meat and potatoes come to mind, and a beef sundae perfectly fits that description.
The Butter Cow has been an Iowa State Fair staple since 1911. According the the Iowa State Fair’s website, “The Butter 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. Each year, much of the butter is recycled and can be reused for up to 10 years.”
Sarah Pratt of West Des Moines, Iowa, became the fifth butter sculptor in the fair’s history in 2006. In addition to the Butter Cow, there is a companion butter sculpture every year. This year, the Butter Cow stood next to the butter Waterloo Boy Tractor to help celebrate John Deere’s 100th anniversary of making tractors.
Other Fun Stuff
There are always fun and unique items that you spot at the fair. Here are a few items that I came across this year that I thought I would share with you.
World’s Largest Agriculture Tire
The Iowa State Fair has something to offer everyone. I encourage you to take your family next year to start a new tradition of going if you don’t already go. If you are an avid fair goer, I’d love to hear about your favorite things to see, do, and eat in the comments below. See you there next year!