Sunday, August 17, 2008

State Fair Fun

Every year we have been taking a family trip to Des Moines to the Iowa State Fair. We have several traditions that we like to do while there. Des Moines is a little more than a 2 hour drive, so it is a pretty easy trip. This year we left on a Thursday and stayed 2 nights in a Drury Inn Hotel and came home on a Saturday night. The area we stayed had a cool shopping center right next door which we enjoyed. The weather and lines at the fair were both perfect. I would say it was our best year at the fair in terms of these two things. Last year it was terribly hot!

We we arrived in Des Moines we headed straight to the fairgrounds. Parking was full, so we had to pay $5 to park in someone's yard, but were pretty close to an entrance gate. Our first stop was the Elwell Family Food Center building with the free popcicles and the Ugliest Cake Contest. Then we headed on to the Varied Industries Building to get our annual picture with Clifford the Big Red Dog at the IPTV booth. This year they were even handing out free Clifford books! Outside of this building is where we watched the demonstration on the ShamWow! Matt had seen this on TV and told me about it on the way up. He wanted me to see it if they had them so I bought one after the demonstration.

Next up we headed to the Little Hands on the Farm area. This is a neat area for kids where they get to work on the farm and then get paid at the end for the work they do. With their money they earned, they can spend it in the store before they leave for a little treat. We have always captured some good pictures working on the farm. This year Brock choose to plant an onion and rode the tractors around the track for the first time.

The Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center was next on our list. This building just opened last year and it gives visitors a chance to see newborn farm animals and maybe even watch a live birth. Brock enjoyed seeing the baby ducks on their slide, the chicks hatching from their eggs, lambs, goats and their kids, calfs, and of course- petting a baby pig. This is another picture we take each year. The baby pigs are always just a few hours old and Brock is excited to pet one.

Since the lines were short for us on this years visit, we waited briefly to see some things up close that we have not done before. One of these things was a front row seat to a view of the famous Butter Cow sculpture. We usually just see it from behind the line of people parading in front of it, and there is really not much difference in the view. The only thing is, you can say you "officially" saw the Butter Cow. This year they also featured the USA Olympian Shawn Johnson. She is from West Des Moines so it was fitting that they sculpt her. What an honor to be featured in butter I tell ya!

The fair is also famous for all of the food it serves on a stick. 2 of the new items this year were fried pineapple on a stick and salad on a stick. While my family did not purchase either one of these, I did snap a picture of the lady behind us in the butter cow line with her pineapple. She said it was not as good as she expected. I didn't actually see anyone eating the salad on a stick, but did take a pic of the sign hanging up for it.

Brock enjoyed a hard boiled egg on a stick while waiting for the butter cow. Later in the day he had a corn dog, and Matt and I had crescentis sandwich. Not a lot of food on a stick eating for us that day.

Our last stop of the day was another tradition we have to get on film. We have always taken Brock's picture next to the sign that shows how tall he is at that years fair. This was the first year for him to stand next to the sign. The 1st 2 years he was asleep in his stroller and last year he was laying on the ground throwing a fit!

Where did you take a vacation to this year?

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