Saturday, August 13

From butter cows to just plain butter, time for Iowa State Fair! (subtitled Blog on a Stick)

Iowa state fair goers are always up for new tasty treats served on a stick. This year the fair introduces the mother of all calorie-laden, hot-grease-drenched, edible items yet to be impaled.

It is (drumroll here) Deep Fried BUTTER . . .  on a stick! You read it correctly. Not sure of the food group but honey battered butter gets a second soaking of grease when it hits the hot oil of the deep fryer resulting in . . . viola! Deep fried butter on a stick!

On the 100th anniversary of the fair’s infamous Butter Cow sculpture on display in the Agriculture Building, the newest on-a-stick invention seems a fitting tribute.

It is the fodder of television comedians across the country. Of course, it gives our rival states even more ammunition for stupid jokes.

It definitely brings new meaning to the T-shirt slogan, "I went to the Iowa State Fair and all I got was . . . diabetes!

It had to be something colossal to outdo last year's chocolate covered bacon . . . on a stick. Deep fried butter on a stick joins newbies peanut butter and jelly on a stick and chocolate covered fried ice cream on a stick. For those who are keeping score, patrons can purchase over 80 on-a-stick foods at the Iowa State Fair.

Count on swarms of politicians

No matter what has happened throughout a given year, in addition to the anticipated foods on a stick, fair goers can count on one other constant. Politicians. They are everywhere. Presidential candidates flip burgers, sing karaoke, scoop some poop, eat stuff on a stick- do whatever they can do to convince voters they're just common folk like anyone else. 

For those crazy enough to actually still WANT to listen to politicians, come on out to the fair.  Caution. Opposing views can end up in screaming matches with threats of shoving foods on a stick in places respectable foods would never go!

As far as politicians go, several United States Presidents have graced the fairgrounds. Current President Trump was at the fair with a helicopter giving kids free rides. President Barrack Obama enjoyed a beer at the fair. With his secret service men, the beer tent was overflowing. Back in the day Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower attended in 1954. Future President, Ronald Reagan, beat Hoover and Eisenhower to the fair. Broadcasting for WHO radio as the sports director, President Ronald Reagan worked the fair during the 1930s.

The Band Perry performs on an awards show.

For those who don’t want to pop the big bucks for grandstand headliners, check out headline acts on one of the free stages! Superstars, The Band Perry, played free stages at the fair. Featuring 3 siblings, The Band Perry was named 2011’s best new artists by ACM (Academy of Country Music). After playing free stages they returned,to play the grandstand.

The same venue hosted the Oakridge Boys, and Vanilla Ice.  Anderson Erickson Dairy, Budweiser,  are other free stages. From country to rock to hip-hop, the free stages offer a variety of music.  Popular accapella group Pentatonix graduated from free stages to the grandstand.

Over the years the fair has featured the top acts in the country.  A few include: Elvis Presley, Garth Brooks, Johnny Cash, Sonny and Cher, Wayne Newton, and Janet Jackson. Alabama has the record for the numbers

For those longing to dole out more dollars, Grandstand acts include: The Incredible Machine Tour featuring Sugarland with Sara Bareilles, Ronnie Dunn with Steel Magnolia, Train and Maroon 5, Doobie Brothers with Kansas, Deff Leopard with special guests Heart and Evan Watson, Reba with Jerrod Niemann, Janet Jackson, Casting Crowns with Sanctus Real and Jason Aldean with guests Thompson Square and Chris Young.

If you prefer mobile entertainment there is always Bandaloni the One Man Band! He performs several times each day.

Records related to fair entertainment show the biggest crowds attending the Sonny and Cher concert in 1972, Johnny Cash in 1970 and the Beach Boys in 1975 with attendance ranging from 25,300-26,200 fans.

Other interesting Iowa State Fair tidbits?

• Attendance in 2002 topped a million for the first time with 1,008,174 visitors while 2008 holds the record at 1,109,150.

• The hottest day recorded at the fair was August 16, 1983 when the temp climbed 108 degrees Farenheit.

• The first fair in Iowa in 1854 had a budget of $323.

• The fairgrounds cover over 445 acres of land.

Notoriously hot temperatures are expected for those 10 days in August. When I force myself to partake, I like to cheat and ride around on a cozy granny scooter and scare a few visitors. First stop? the air-conditioned Varied Industries Building to pick up free stuff and register for more free stuff. Second? Find favorite food on a stick (AKA a corndog) followed by a beer tent visit.  
Repeat step two as needed. Cruise over to a wine tasting tent. Check out a free free stages. And, avoid deep-fried butter.
Fried macaroni and cheese prior to adding the stick.

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Grandma Marge shows off her modern coffee percolator while Deb (left) and I hold the dolls we got for Christmas. When it’s time ...