Monday, August 13, 2012

A Fair Let-Down

Hubby has a book that lists a thousand places you should see before you die.  Places like the pyramids in Egypt . . . the Taj Mahal . . . and the Iowa State Fair.

Yup.  The Iowa State Fair made that list.  One thousand places is a lot of slots to fill, I guess.

Actually, I think it's on the list because a midwestern State Fair is so very representative of Americana, you know?  Hubby went to the New Jersey State Fair during the first few months he was living there and said it was positively laughable that they called it a state fair.  This is a very uniquely midwestern cultural thing, and it is something to experience.  And Iowa's version has a reputation for being the best of the genre.

In any case, we've been saying for the last four years that we needed to get ourselves to Des Moines for the Fair some summer, and with the prospect of leaving Iowa looming, we had some urgency about it this year.  So, we headed to Des Moines last Friday with great anticipation to enjoy an event to which, as its motto states, "Nothing Compares".

Only here's the thing.  It turns out that something does compare:  the Kansas State Fair.

Yes, Kansas has a butter cow, too.
We lived in Hutchinson, home of the Kansas State Fair, for a few years, so we know of which we speak.  They're just not that different.  Iowa's is not that much better.  I don't even think the fairgrounds are bigger or anything.  I don't think it attracts bigger grandstand performances.  (In fact, our youngest is now convinced of Kansas' superiority because her heartthrob, Max Schneider, is performing there next month.)  It has the same animals, the same 4-H displays, the same crafts and industries booths, the same midway rides . . .

OK, I do believe they had more total food booths.  Almost all of them were commercial food sellers.  In Hutch, there were a lot of churches and such who had food stands -- I saw very few of those here.  Rows and rows of fried foods and food on a stick. 

But no Jaffles!!  No Jaffles!!  What is a State Fair without Jaffles? 

I tried a Red Velvet funnel cake because that sounded simply divine.  It wasn't.  Mainly because it was cold.

Sigh!  All around, the day was a bit of a let-down.  Mainly, I think, because we were expecting so much more.  Not to discourage anyone from attending -- especially you east coast friends who have never been to a REAL State Fair.  You must go to one before you die.  Somewhere in the midwest, where the State Fairs are what they're supposed to be.

Might I suggest Hutchinson, Kansas, in September.

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