Therefore David blessed the Lord in the presence of all the assembly. And David said; "Blessed are you, O Lord, the God of Israel our father, forever and ever. Yours, O Lord, is the greatness and the power and the glory and the victory and the majesty, for all that is in the heavens and earth is yours. (ESV) ( 1 Chronicles 29: 10,11)




This beautiful wall mural, by Ben Schuh, covers a large portion of a main wall inside the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center. I really love Ben's art. As you might guess, he was born and raised in Iowa and his art so vividly portrays so many of the things that I love about Iowa. Look at the special touch in bottom left. Ben features young people showing cattle at the Iowa State Fair--or maybe one of our many great county fairs.  

The butter cow is a favorite state fair attraction for many people. This magnificent life size sculpture was created by Iowa artist, Sheila Pratt. Sheila also does an alternate contemporary sculpture and the John Deere Waterloo Boy was my all time favorite. This year, 2018, marks the 100th anniversary of tractor production by the John Deere Company and the first tractor off the assembly line was the Waterloo Boy. I don't see any traditional John Derere green and yellow here--but that's ok. This beautiful machine is all Iowa gold--Iowa butter.

There was another 100th anniversary recognition at the 2018 Iowa State Fair. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation celebrated its century mark with a special display and activities at Farm Bureau Park across from the grandstand. The Member Farm Bureau sign (right) has a few years on it, too. This sign now hangs in my office, but it was on the barn door when I was farming in the fifties.

My View for the Month: I have, in my country music digital library a Patty Loveless song, "The Trouble with the Truth is--it's Always the Same Old Thing." Some people say that is the trouble with the Iowa State Fair--there are often the same things in the same places year after year. But I am a creature of habit so my fair routine is ok with me. It goes something like this. I buy my ticket at the front gate and stroll down the concourse to see the antique cars and/or whatever is on display. In an election year, such as this, I cast my kernel for my favorite candidate at the WHO stand enroute to the Agricultural Building to see the butter cow and companion butter sculpture. Then I  walk right past all of the glitzy greasy food outlets straight to the Iowa Pork Producers for lunch. I hang out a long time in--what I call--Animal Kingdom. By that I mean the cattle, hog, sheep and horse barns. I  like to see the young people grooming and showing their animals and watch a little of the judging. Of course, I never miss the super bull and the big boar and I always wonder how these animals can be this size. Next I walk down the busy streets and up the huge hill making several stops along the way. Riding the Sky Glider down gives me a good prospective of all the things going on below. Next I take a trip through the midway to see the unique rides and the unique people who run them That's not a put-down--it's just a fact. Many people visit the Varied Industries Building first but I save it until last. I squirm my way through the "millions" of people in every aisle, but I only make one stop. That stop is the University of Iowa kiosk where I pick up my only souvenir for the day--an Iowa Hawkeye football poster. Mission accomplished!  Now time to find a bench overlooking the concourse and rest a while before I head home. Once again, I did most of the same things as I did last year and the year before--but that is a good thing and I keep coming back. In closing, I think I should paraphrase the Patty Loveless song I opened with. This applies to the Iowa State Fair as well as so very many things in life. "The TRIBUTE (not trouble) with the Truth is--it's Always the Same Old Thing." So many times we can be thankful for that!

At the Iowa State Fair the free stuff is good stuff. Here are just a few of the things you can do and see--without spending a dime.

Upper left: Horse show.

Upper right: Livestock judging.

Lower left: Free entertainment at many of the stages.

Lower right: Doing crafts and just hanging out.

It seemed to me there were more food venders than ever this year. As usual, most of them served deep fried something or other and most of the food was served on a stick. I usually try to eat fairly healthy and there were no healthy options so I opted for a corn dog and a glass of cold root beer.

Super Bull--Dream On--3050 pounds



We have gone to the Iowa State fair almost every year for 50 plus years--that's just what Iowans do. We always parked along one of the streets and followed the crowd to the main gate. It was sometimes a mile or two walk before we even got to the ticket booth, but we were all hyped up and excited so that was just part of the fun. This year I decided the extra walk would not be as much fun with old knees and I needed a new adventure--so I took the shuttle. The big double length Dart bus (upper left) picked me up at the Iowa State Capitol Grounds where I parked. It was probably a 10 minute ride to the fairgrounds. Then I stepped off the bus and there was the big John Deere powered tram (upper right) I could have ridden. I opted out of that and walked many miles and saw many things. I was very tired by 4PM so I was glad it was just a short walk to the shuttle and then another 10 minute ride and I was dropped off just a few feet from where I had parked my car. I sure hate to give up old traditions--but I think the walk to the fairgrounds is a thing of the past.  



animals at the fair

The Big Boar--Itty Bitty-1163 pounds