On the spur of the moment, my husband and I drove the two hours to the Fairgrounds in Des Moines. The weather was perfect. We hadn't been in years--not since our kids were little and before I carried a sketchbook for on-site drawing.
|Pickled Pepper Winners|
At the Family Food Center, the results of the canning competitions were beautifully displayed in glass cases. We used to do canning. And now, in the summer, homemade refrigerator pickles are a staple.
The judging of Beans was on-going (6 judges tasting with a rapt and silent audience watching, videographers recording every mouthful). Salsas were being assessed in the far corner. Quiches were among the ones scheduled for the following day.
At the Agricultural Building, a cow is sculpted from butter (600 pounds!!) every year since 1911. Young and old file past the windowed cooler. The lines were particularly long because two days before the beloved butter cow had been vandalized!! PETA, the animal welfare group, had broken into the cooler on Sunday night after closing and poured red paint over the butter cow and scrawled "Freedom for All" on the window. By Monday morning's 7AM opening, the sculptor had scraped the red paint from her creation and all hints of dissent had been removed.
While on the subject of cows, over at the Cattle Barn, these young farmers were primping their steer for its upcoming competition.
|Grass Bred Steer|
In the adjoining Swine Barn, there were hogs galore, but none more captivating than Otis, who was fast asleep with his snout in his food bowl. Proclaimed the biggest boar of the 2013 Iowa State Fair, weighing in at 1,103 pounds, Otis was measly compared to last year's all-time Big Boar named Reggie, who weighed in at 1,335 pounds.
Returning to the Agriculture Building, tomatoes and melons in the Jumbo Vegetables category are displayed on styrofoam plates with their ribbons.
One day at the Fair is not enough. Next year we'll plan ahead and book a hotel room so we can be at the Fair two days in a row. I definitely saw more drawings to do than 8 hours allowed.
Visit my Flickr site to see all my Fair sketches and more specifics about them.