Monday, August 31, 2009
Sunday, August 30, 2009
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Garrison Keillor writes about these rare fairs of the Midwest,
The state fair is a ritual carnival marking the end of summer and gardens and apple orchards and the start of school and higher algebra and the imposition of strict rules and what we in the north call the Long Dark Time. Like gardening, the fair doesn't change all that much.
I explained to Brian about all the youngsters showing off their livestock, and how it was important that you scrubbed them up well (think Charlotte's Web), kept the animal between you and the judge as you led it around the pin, how the judge looks for sound feet, wide bodies, high weight gain, etc., etc.
Each day they have varying contests in horticulture, culinary arts, baking, pig calling, watermelon seed spitting, tractor-pull, banjo tournament, Queen contest...and many others. Brian asked a good question, "What do you get in the end?" Most of the time you get a ribbon, and maybe a few dollars, if your lucky.
Except the Cinnamon Rolls contest. First place takes home $3,000, and is highly competitive, sought after title.
But pride is what most people are after. Who wouldn't want to be known as the winner of the Outhouse Races? Or the Senior Spelldown? Or the Mullet Contest?Brian learned I had some history with fair contests too (Southern Iowa Fair)- the Pedal Tractor Pull, Homemade Ice-Cream (second place), a science fair project on growing soybeans (second place), the Fair Queen (third place), Bill Riley Talent show (third place) and Bible Bowl (second place). I entered pigs at the fair starting at the age of 10 years, until I was 18 (I never won that one).
Here are a few highlights of Ezra's second year at the Iowa State Fair, and Brian and Elliot's first...
(pictures of the contest winners taken from http://www.iowastatefair.com/)