Tuesday, August 17, 2010

quintessential americana: the iowa state fair

it's state fair time here in iowa! we trekked out to des moines with thousands of other hot, sweaty iowans to see the sights, ride the rides, ogle at the livestock, consume the comestibles. it was rich's first year to experience the fair but i doubt it'll be his last--i think he enjoyed it more than even gus and sophie. as far as i'm concerned the iowa state fair means only two things: butter cow and food on a stick--57 varieties of food on a stick, no less! if you're nearby it is definitely worth a trip--the iowa state fair is truly a well-rounded slice of americana that is just good old-fashioned fun at its best. viva la fair!

this was the view from I-80 between iowa city and des moines--it looked more like the view from I-10 between houston and baton rouge...

...which would be this

the fam + butter cow!

mmmmmmooooooooo. butter.

food on a stick: hard-boiled eggs. not very appealing.

food on a stick: caramel apples. very appealing.

salad-on-a-stick, which is an interesting concept but everyone just shoved the veggies onto the tray and ate it like a regular salad...such a letdown

the sign was actually more appealing than the food (you can see one in the background), but that's probably because i'm not a huge fan of pork, a.k.a. i don't dig on swine. could that get me expelled from iowa?

pineapple on a stick! it's a meaty slice of pineapple, dipped in funnel cake batter, and deep fried to a golden hue (note they also serve the fried snickers bars here, too)

and then all this deep-fried goodness is served to you by this guy. actually, he was nice--he vended the corndogs, cornfootlongdogs, and cornchickenators (i have no idea what the massive deep-fried chicken logs were called)

this wins the category "food-not-(yet)-served-on-a-stick-at-the-iowa-state-fair": fried oreos. you get like a dozen funnel-cake battered beauties served to you steaming hot in a hot dog tray. they smelled fantastic.

okay, enough food...on to butterflies! there was a fabulous butterfly tent that was bursting with these little flying jewels

sophie was so proud of herself--she let many butterflies ride on her

and gus wore the perfect shirt for the butterfly tent--they absolutely attacked him

butterfly chapeau

pretty, pretty butterflies

more pretty, pretty butterflies

i think sophie was so tempted to take this caterpillar and grow her own butterfly (rich found one for her after we got home)

AAAAAH! what the hell is that?

it's got my little girl, too!

blech. no me gusta el coyote skull on a stick.

why is this woman blow drying a bad wig?

and why is this other woman pointing out her blow-drying techniques to a crowd?

because she is actually blow drying a chicken. a chicken! we watched a chicken wash-n-blow-dry demonstration at the fair. i'm guessing it's a bit of a niche market.

i love this sign--note that it doesn't say "DON'T BOUNCE OR SPIT," rather just DON'T get caught...and if you do get caught, do they escort you out in a golf cart so you don't have to walk? or perhaps in an air-conditioned vehicle? it was pretty hot there, after all.

sophie bunny, high above the fair, neither bouncing nor spitting

clifford and sophie at the fair!

missy the cow. she needs to be milked, BTW.

meet "buster," the world super bull champion (des moines register blog post about him here). he was absolutely massive--i think he weighs more than my prius--and he was a bit freaked out by all the attention. he does, however, give new meaning to the phrase corn-fed.

gus, spinning rope

sophie, spinning rope

sophie and gus with their spun rope bracelets

gus and sophie with their spun paint art

rich and sophie getting spun, vertically

gus and rich getting spun, horizontally, forwards and backwards, and way way way way way too fast for comfort. seriously, this would be my nightmare ride. i'll try and post a movie of it--if you play it in slow motion, i think you can actually see rich's brain separate from his spine

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