Monday, August 15, 2011

Aug. 15: Incredible Iowa Fair & Another Butter Cow

Today we were at the last fair on our agenda, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, and it was certainly a case of leaving the best for the last. What a fair! Bob and I agreed that the layout, the stages, the food joints, the commercial areas, the carnival were second to none. The grandstand is the old, old building in the first photo.

We were wandering around and ran into the Iowa State Fair Queen and got this photo of her plus one of her and me together ... the Queen and the King, get it? However, it isn't an overly good photo of me so I'll just show you this one of her by herself. What a charming young woman.

We could have skipped the sighting of our third life-size butter cow but a man we met at breakfast was so excited by it that we felt obligated to have a look. This fair has had a life-size butter cow for 100 years and this year they had this replica of the first one ever done. Try not to think about how much butter has been wasted, er, used, to make 100 cows through the years.

In another building the local food bank had made a can cow to promote the need for donations.

Bob checked out the carnival while I checked out the weird foods and the quilts.

I loved this next one. Is the vendor trying to get people to believe that there is a healthy corndog?

Quilting ladies, this fair's competition was unbelievable. There had to be between 600 and 700 quilted pieces exhibited. The quilts were beautifully grouped and displayed behind picket fences which prevented anyone from touching them while having them at eye level. I took many, many photos.

After looking at the quilts, I spotted this sign and had to check out what was happening.

The local quilt guild which has over 500 members sponsors a sewing event for the whole length of the fair. 45" by 60" quilts are made for charity with about 270 - yes, 270 - made each year. Anyone can come in and quilt for as long as they have. The lady explained that some come for 15 minutes while others stay for 8 hours. I only had enough time to sew one binding on one quilt, but I was pleased to be part of the process.

Des Moines is very close to the little town of Winterset which is famous for three reasons: it's John Wayne's birthplace, it's where Fons and Porter have their quilt shop, and it's in Madison County which is peppered with covered bridges. I did a little shopping at Fons and Porter. I was the only customer and there was only one clerk, but while we were chatting, Marianne Fons came in with another one of her clerks. They had been over at the local ice cream shop picking up treats for their afternoon break.

We only took time to see one of the covered bridges. The little, windy road to it was scenic and the bridge was pretty. Our van was coated in Iowan dust by the time we got back onto pavement.

As we near the end of our holiday, we have been reflecting on the diversity of the places we've seen and the experiences we've had. What fun!

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