#21: Go to the Iowa State Fair

October 6, 2009

Date of Completion: August 2009

The Iowa State Fair. My God, where to begin. It’s one of those prime, people-watching events and one of the things that gives Iowa all its stereotypes. The nice thing I’ve found is, there are some very cosmopolitan areas in the state, so to speak, and I’d like to think there are people just as classy and sophisticated as anywhere else. But, there’s no denying you’ve got your missing-tooth, mulleted, ripped-off-sleeve and fannypack wearing crowd who’s really just there to eat deep-fried [insert something edible] on a stick. I’ve been to the State Fair approximately once in my life, when a poster design I did in eight grade won Best In Show in my county and made it to the Big Time. (Yes, my friends, I was a budding designer even back then, but without a fancy shiny Mac or any knowledge of Adobe’s existence). Had no desire to go back.

And yet, as years went by, hearing peoples’ stories and anectdotes, they made me curious. Still, even with things like my friend’s State Fair Bingo (“Kid on a leash! Check!”), nothing motivated me to go. Until this year. When one of my favoritest musicians of all time, Matt Nathanson, was playing on the free stage. That did me in. I grabbed two of my good friends, and we went. I was determined to make it a respectable State Fair experience, even if we were only going for a few hours and even if it was the last day. I ate fried oreos and a porkchop on a stick and the “hot beef sundae” (like it sounds, with mashed potatoes instead of ice cream, gravy instead of fudge, beef instead of peanuts, and a lil tomato instead of a cherry). I saw mullets. I breathed secondhand smoke. I tried not to touch anything. It was a delight. (So was Matt Nathanson. Swoon.) I did, unfortunately, forget to go see the butter cow, but I saw that when I was twelve, so I think I’m good.



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