This Iowa Columnist's to-do list for her first State Fair
A panel of celebrity judges picked a Best New Deal winner and two finalists for the Best New Food as the Iowa State Fair unveiled all the new foods for 2018.
It’s been a heck of a first month as the Iowa columnist.
Floods decimated Des Moines neighborhoods and tornadoes ripped through warehouses and downtowns in central Iowa. The body of an Iowan lost in a German forest 70 years ago finally came home, and three other veterans’ cremains were laid to rest after sitting on a shelf for more than a decade.
Iowa’s first "American Idol" shared the struggles of her newfound fame. And siblings, children and parents of bikers killed while riding talked about the pain of those losses and the healing power of the slowly changing legislative landscape.
These are Iowa's stories. Whether rural, urban or suburban, these are the stories of our family members, friends, neighbors and co-workers. They are the stories of Iowa niceness. They are the stories of offering a helping hand.
More Iowa State Fair coverage:
- Here's every new food for the 2018 Iowa State Fair
- Butter cow and John Deere: A match made in Iowa State Fair heaven
- How to make the 2018 Iowa State Fair a fun experience for kids and families
- What's new at the 2018 Iowa State Fair
- Your guide to this summer's Iowa State Fair Grandstand concerts
- Your guide to the free concerts at this summer's Iowa State Fair
My tour-de-force of Iowa-ness peaks Aug. 9 when the Iowa State Fair rambles into the Capital City. As I enter my second month of column writing, I look forward to more heartwarming moments, fewer disasters and a least a couple of belly laughs. (The State Fair should be great for that last part.)
So here it is, my official to-do list as the Iowa Columnist for the 2018 Iowa State Fair. Join me, won't you?
Take the opening day historical walking tour: A 30-minute guided tour on Iowa State Fair history from 1886 to the present. You got to know where you came from to know where you’re going, right? 8:15 a.m., Aug. 9, starts at the Grand Concourse and ends at the Grandstand for the official State Fair opening ceremonies.
Learn about women in ag at the FarmHer display: FarmHer, a Des Moines-based nonprofit, tells the too-often-untold stories of women in agriculture. Visit their display to read stories of the powerful lady bosses feeding America. All day every day in the Agriculture Building.
Drink in peace at Fair After Dark: No kids. No strollers. No problem! Hang out in either the Animal Learning Center or the Agricultural Building after dark with butter cows, baby animals and BOOZE. 9-11 p.m., Aug. 10, in the Animal Learning Center; 9-11 p.m., Aug. 16, in the John Deere Agriculture Building. Tickets are $20 and are available IowaStateFair.org.
Attend the Way We Live award presentations: Family farms are the life blood of rural Iowa towns. Since its founding, the State Fair has made highlighting the important work of farm families a cornerstone of its mission. To mark 10 years of the Way We Live Award in 2018, 10 families will receive a prize package for their dedication to agriculture and their strong farm values. Presentations are at 11:30 a.m. every day on the Animal Learning Center Stage.
Stitch a few at the State Fair Sew-In: Join trained quilters to sew blankets for kids in need. No experience is needed; these master quilters from the Des Moines Area Quilters Guild will teach you everything you need to know. 9 a.m. every day in the Varied Industries Building, South Hallway, Room A.
Watch people gorge themselves with sausage: Meet the eater who will take on reigning hot dog guzzling champion Joey Chestnut at the Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest in 2019. The top male and female finishers in this Iowa qualifiers will automatically gain a chance to take home the mustard belt at this famous Coney Island event! 1 p.m., Aug. 11, at the Susan Knapp Amphitheater.
Heckle at the Des Moines Register soapbox: This Register tradition draws the biggest names in politics and the public is welcome to shout out questions and comments. Sort of like Facebook comments — but live. Various times every day at the Service Center.
Get a look at the infamous Iowa State Fair cow chip toss contest on Wednesday, Aug. 17, 2016.
Throw a cow chip: I'm pretty grossed out by the thought of touching a cow chip, but in honor of all those who have come before me (cough, Kyle, cough) I will try my hand at this storied farm pastime. 11 a.m., Aug. 15, Pioneer Hall.
Learn about growing up on an Iowa Century Farm and the similarities to Laura Ingalls Wilder: Nothing says the State Fair like a lecture! But, seriously, this program promises to give all us prairie-heads an educated peak behind the curtain of the Iowa that the Ingalls once called home. 12:30 p.m., Aug. 16, Pioneer Hall.
Watch some kids take on some sheep: That’s right ... Mutton Bustin’! I think this is where those belly laughs are going to come in. 10 a.m., Aug. 17, Livestock Pavilion.
Begin my fair food contest take over: Learn the tips and tools of the food contest trade from Pat Berry, a tenured food contest winner. 3 p.m., Aug. 18, Food Center, Judging Room 4.
Coax those llamas under that pole: I mean you just ask them nicely, right? 6 p.m., Aug. 18, Outdoor Arena.
I also just want to tip my hat to the Narcotics Anonymous and Alcoholics Anonymous meetings offered on the fairgrounds. As always, seek help when you need it.
COURTNEY CROWDER traverses the state as the Register’s Iowa Columnist. She is an avid Iowa State Fairgoer. Her normal must-haves include a 27-degree beer, cheese curds and one (OK, fine two) peppermint bars from Bauder’s. Reach her at (515) 284-8360 or firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow her on Twitter @courtneycare.
Iowa has become home for Courtney Crowder, the Des Moines Register's new Iowa columnist. Rodney White, The Register