Our Annual Day At The Iowa State Fair

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Better known as Heather’s version of hell on Earth.

For real.

I hate it.

It’s genetic.

My mom hates the fair.  One of my brothers hates the fair.  My sister hates the fair. That’s probably anti-Iowan but man, once you’ve been there one time you have seen everything there is.

Now, I hear the Iowa State Fair is the best state fair in the country, and if that is the case, I apologize to the other 49 states.

I’d hate to see your fair.

No offense.

I enjoyed the fair as a kid.  I did.  We went every year to watch my Uncle Denny, my grandpa, and my cousins pitch horseshoes. (It’s Iowa.) After my uncle and most of his family died in a car accident, we didn’t go as much.

Now I’m a mom and my kids expect to go the fair. Once. They’d go more if they could but no thank you.

In all fairness (no pun intended), it’s not the fair’s fault I hate it. I’ve blogged about my anxiety, I hate hate hate crowds. The fair is crowded. Also, though I am an Iowa girl, I am NOT a farm girl.  I have never lived on a farm, I don’t do farming, and the one year I detassled corn, my dad wouldn’t let me quit so I begged them to fire me.

I do, however, love our farmers and support them. As long as they are treating the animals right. From what I’ve seen, family farmers treat the land and their animals with respect, they make their living off the land, and they respect it.  It’s the corporations that need the ag gag bill that never passed.

PSA over.

Ohhhhhh.  Before I go to the fair in this post.  I have to share, for those of you who don’t follow Iowa State Fair news, what happened before the fair.  You see, there is a butter cow every single year.  BUTTER cow.  Resource that does not require an animal to be killed to made. The butter cow is a huge draw for lots of people.  I don’t get it.  It’s a cow made out of butter. Cool. Personally, I was more impressed with Abe Lincoln made out of butter, but we’re Iowans, we like our cows.

Iconic Butter Cow In Iowa Doused in Red Paint

That came threw as a tweet the day before we went.  My mouth dropped open and that sound my kids make when they see a sibling doing something they shouldn’t do came out of me. Ooooooooh! Dude!  The butter cow!  That’s like declaring war on the Iowa State Fair. For real.  Even I felt protective and I (did I mention this) think the fair is pure torture.  I am a huge animal rights fan. I donate to animal rights groups every month, I speak out, I help when I can, my animals are rescued, and I was offended by the sacrilege in that picture.  It’s the BUTTER cow. No cows were killed in the making of this butter, not to mention some of the butter is like decades old. We recycle our butter for the butter cow. No waste my friends. It’s greener that way.

I have a feeling this is going to be a long post between the butter cow and the deep fried butter. I’ll get to it. I promise.

The obligatory what my children are wearing to the fair picture. I take one every year.  This is what causes me the most anxiety about going to the fair.  I’m bad with crowds, I’m even worse when I think about losing one of my four kids in a crowd.  My 4 year old is incredibly active and doesn’t have the best listening skills. (Does any four year old?) I threatened to duct tape them together in a row and leash them up that way.

This picture confused my FB and Instagram friends. :) It’s a hard boiled egg on a stick, cuz everything comes on a stick at the fair. That is salt and pepper on it.  I believe this is courtesy of the Iowa Egg Council.

Kat and Alyce at the Living History Farms booth. Now there is a place I enjoy going to.

Motorcycle ice sculpture

Crocodile ice sculpture – or maybe it’s an alligator.
The two confuse me.

The Lincoln Highway … out of butter

President Lincoln… out of butter.

There she is – the famous butter cow – paint free. YAY!

I believe this is the only reason my husband goes to the fair.

Alyce with a turkey leg as big as her head.

One man band – possibly the highlight of my fair trip.
Video of him here and here.

I couldn’t find my fried butter on a stick – so I tried a fried brownie on a stick.
SO GOOD!!! I think I lied. This might have been the highlight.

State Fair Grinder – and the only way my husband can entice me out the door.

Katiana and her humongo corn dog…. on a stick

Jordan – man he is growing up on me.

It’s the fair… in Iowa… you have to take a pic of a big ol’ tractor.

A new pair of sunglasses distracted me from my misery for a bit.

Alyce doing the race track at the Jeep display

Nano at the same race track

Nano trying to figure out how the water fan worked
while daddy looked at cars that could never seat our entire family.

Alyce and Nano playing in water

Mama! I’m wet! You don’t say.

They went back for more.

and a bit more water fun

Kat sweetly helping Alyce tie up her soaking wet shirt.

Kat won a bear as big as she is at the ring toss.

Alyce got off before it even started.
We had to hunt down a bathroom.

We found the bathroom in the animal building.
I’m hoping these pigs aren’t kept in these contraptions the whole fair.

Another mama pig and her babies

And there were baby ostriches

Mama cow and her calf

Part of the midway – aka go broke alley

My fave ride at the fair and no one would ride on it with me. :(
You go all the way to the top and then drop down. I skipped it this year.

I FOUND it on the midway! The holy grail of fair foods.

Deep Fried Butter on a Stick!

Now, I must pause in my pictures here to explain deep fried butter on a stick. I got some flack about it on Facebook and Instagram. I googled this when it first came to the fair and people were making fun of us (Iowans), they were laughing at us, talking about how unhealthy we are with our corn and our pigs and our fried butter on a stick, they were just plain mean. Yes, it is a stick of butter coated in batter and then deep fried, but my friends, it is a little slice of heaven.

The butter (obviously) doesn’t stay solid.  It completely melts.  That makes this taste like the most decadent piece of cinnamon toast, slightly crunchy, drenched in butter. It is so so so so very good.  Would you eat this all the time? No. I eat it once a year – the one day I go to the fair I indulge. You have your cheesecake throughout the year, I don’t. I rarely eat sweets. You have your huge juicy steak during the week, I rarely eat steak. I don’t EVER eat bacon, I hate it. (Anti-American, I know. I’ve been told.) You can keep your fried twinkies, fried candy bars, even the fried brownies, the fried turkey legs, the pork dinners, whatever else you might want to eat, I will take my one time a year fried butter on a stick.

It is amazing.

Don’t judge until you’ve tried it.

After you try it, I recommend walking 4 miles at the fair. (Which I did.)

Jordan and I – me finally happy because I got my favorite fair treat.

Alyce milking a cow at the little kids’ farm.

That is kind of cool. The kids each get a tractor, they ride it around to all the stops and do different farmer chores.  At the end they turn in the produce, milk, wool, etc, get paid a (play) dollar, and go buy ice cream in the market. That’s a plastic cow who shoots water out of it’s udders. It’s not as easy as you would think to get milk from a plastic cow.

My little Mexican boy milking an Iowa (plastic) cow. :)

The husband knew a new hippy purse would stave off my misery
a bit longer.  I really really love my peasant hippy flower child stuff.

So that was our Tuesday at the fair.  Once my lorazapam kicked in to ease my nerves and the Benedryl started working and got rid of the nervous hives that were creeping up my neck, it wasn’t the worst day of my life.

And I got new sunglasses, a new purse, and fried butter on a stick.

I’m so glad I only have to do that once a year.

Have a great day!

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