There are many things about Des Moines, Iowa that would tempt even the most jaded to visit. We have an art museum that houses renowned works of art, restaurants for every taste palate imaginable and outdoors activities for every level of ability. The thing we are most known for, though, is the Iowa State Fair (http://iowastatefair.org). No where else can you find a true taste of what Iowa is about. First established in 1854, it was a way for farmers to come together and learn new techniques, buy equipment and farm wives to show off recipes and handicrafts.
Today, it still does all of those things, but also brings out entertainers, competitions and rides. Some of my favorite things to see at the fair are the art building, where artists, photographers and wood workers can compete, and the barns, where city kids can get up close and personal with animals such as horses, cows and pigs. There is a huge selection of food from all around the world available. I always have to get a corn dog, that’s my favorite, but I like to try new things like red velvet funnel cakes. Some things may sound a little odd, like deep fried butter on a stick, but it all tastes great because of the atmosphere of the fair.
Each year big names come to the grandstand. This year we have Carly Rae Jepson and Dierks Bentley. There is always a nice mix of entertainment and everyone can find something. Comedians, car races, musicians, you can find almost anything at the Grandstand to keep you entertained.
Going on a budget? There is a ton to do that is free. Local bands can play on stages around the fairgrounds. There are also entertainers for little kids who do things like the ReCycle Show, a show where a garbage man entertains while teaching kids how to give back to the environment.
The midway is where all the rides and games are located. You can buy tickets to go on rides like the ferris wheel, and Screamer. They have rides for little kids, too. You can try your luck at games like the balloon pop and ring toss. Stuffed animals are the prize of choice.
There are areas with antique and old time interactive displays. Granfathers Farm includes a flea market with artisans who create things like they did a hundred years ago. A blacksmith heats up the barn, making horse shoes and wrought iron hooks and a printing press will make a newspaper with your name in one of the stories. A western style village has things like Indian fry bread for you to try and interesting things like bows and arrows to buy.
Competitions of all sorts take place all week long. You can enter your favorite recipe or best picture for your chance at a blue ribbon. On the Bill Riley Stage, kids of all ages take their chance at the ultimate talent show. You will see singers, dancers, violinist and more playing their hearts out at the chance to cash prizes. Kids also enter their animals into contests for ribbons. Lots of work and preparation go into getting ready for these competitions. Practice, grooming and more practice help show off everyone’s talents.
If you want an idea of what Iowa is all about, come at the beginning of August and experience the heat, humidity and the Iowa State Fair, because “our state fair is a great state fair!”
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