The Iowa State Fair, to grossly underestimate, is a big deal.
Everyone kept asking, not "if" we were going, but "when" we were going. When I'd say that I wasn't sure, we didn't know if we wanted to drive all the way to Des Moines, I would get the same crazy look from people that I did when I said I didn't like "Field of Dreams." Because that too, is a big deal here in Iowa.
Finally, they broke us.
We took the boys yesterday.
And to say it was crowded would also be a gross underestimation.
The scale took me by surprise. Hundreds of sheep, goats, horses, cows, pigs, and rabbits (which were definitely the favorite.) There were also elk, llamas, and ostriches. Massive pigs weighing 1100 pounds and tiny adult cows the same height as Blaise were also included.
We also saw the famous butter cow.
One thing the Iowa State Fair is famous for is its "Food on a Stick." Chicken, cake, cookies, pork, even salad, can all be bought and eaten off a stick. What the Iowa State Fair is not known for is its health food. Nearly everything is deep fried. I'll admit that we saw "deep fried Snickers bar," and there was no going back. Although we did forgo the whole pickles wrapped in cream-cheese spread pastrami.
And I've found a new love: Funnel cakes! I am currently looking for the recipe and I predict only bad things for my waistline once I find it.
The highlight of the day had to be the "Little Hands on the Farm" exhibit, a(finally!) free exhibit that lets small children understand a little more about farming. Walking in past sprawling pumpkin vines, they were both given aprons and a bucket.
We followed the path that lead to a garden where they planted "seeds" and "harvested" vegetables.
We then went to the grain silo where they picked up corn and soybeans (yes, the staples of Iowa.) The soy was later turned in to be made into fuel, earning them a ride on a tractor. The corn was "feed" to cows in exchange for dairy products. The boys also collected wool and eggs from displays lifelike enough to startle Blaise on several occasions.
That the very end, they go to the farmer's market where they sell their products. They were given a "dollar" to take to the store, where magically, everything cost a "dollar." The boys left, happy with their popsicle they had worked so hard to earn.
As we sat in some much coveted shade, Roman happily licking his rapidly melting popsicle, sagely said, "Wow, farming's hard work!"
I guess they made their point.
We decided to skip the rides this year. The boys were starting to get cranky from all the walking and too much sugar.
We made it back to the car just after the break-downs and tears hit. These were rapidly vanquished with "So, what did you like best?" It was a tie between giant animals and pumpkins, the snake house, and the little farm.
The long ride home was spent with Roman discussing what we will do next year at the Fair.