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Iowa State Fair 2015

The State Fair is something I look forward to all year long.  It's a tradition we started in our family when it was just me and Andy, and now it's something the boys look forward to, too.

About a week prior to the fair I started paying attention to the weather. We always go the first Friday, part of the tradition.  Initially it was forecasted to be 82 degrees.  Totally doable.  A couple days later, 84 degrees.  Ok, warm but I could still hack it. The next day they added in humidity.  Oh no.  And the day before we were to go it was forecasted to be near 90 with humidity and sunshine.  Deadly.  I started dreading going to the fair.

Friday morning we woke up bright up and early. Well, not as early as I had planned because Andy shut the alarm clock off on me!  We still were able to get out of the house by 7:00 a.m., which put us at the fairgrounds right before 9 when it opened.  We got rock star parking and made our way into the fairgrounds after loading everyone up with sunscreen.

Our first stop, every.single.year, is the poultry barn right inside the east gate of the grounds.  You might have heard a few months back how Iowa was having a bird flu epidemic.  Thousands of turkeys and chickens had to be put down because of this disease.  To help stop the spread of the disease they cancelled all bird shows in all 99 counties across the state, which included the Great Iowa State Fair.  Needless to say the barn was empty.  Except for the main reason we stop there first every year -- the bathroom!  Ha ha! Been using that bathroom since I went with my parents as a kid! :)

As we started walking down Main Street ISF we commented on how nice the weather was.  I knew that was going to be short lived.

First up, the big boys and Andy took a cruise on Ye Old Mill.  It's a tradition!  Tate and I sat it out.

After that we walked over to the live animal birthing barn.  I can't tell you any stats, but over the course of the fair there are baby cows, goats, sheep and pigs born in this air conditioned, state of the art barn.  They also have bucket bottle calves to pet.  All other years they've had ducks, chickens and ostriches there, too.  If you aren't one of the lucky few to be there to actually witness the births, no problem! They record them and play them over and over on the 10 or so TV's they have hanging throughout the barn. :)  Probably not the smartest thing for an almost 7 month pregnant woman to watch.  You know, sort of a preview of what's to come in a couple shorts months.  Gulp!

Tate was such a brave boy, he pet a bottle calf!

Next up, Little Hands on the Farm.  It's a super popular area for families with kids ages 2-10.  We might have cheated and let our little 18month old go through, too.  But come on, look how cute he was in his little apron!!!

As you go through the 'farm' the kids pretend plant and harvest vegetables, milk a cow, grow corn to feed their chickens, harvest eggs, drive a pedal tractor, shear their sheep and a few other things.  It's super fun and teaches the kids some of the basics of where their food comes from, how things work on a farm.  The line was SOOO long, and slow moving, so we bailed after the second activity.  #parentfail  But Tate had a great time playing in the dirt, 'planting' his seed.

We moved on from the farm to see what else the fair had to offer us.  The ISF is a huge draw for politician, particularly Presidential ones.  Look who we found!

Rick Santorum!

So he probably won't even get the Republican nomination (and he's not The Donald), but it's neat to see someone so close to you that has the potential to be President! And who knows, maybe someone will add him to their ticket as their running mate!

We went in to the building with the 'sellers' trying to get to you buy this, that and the other.  Some miracle machine or whatever.  It also holds the fire and police department areas.  The boys all had fun driving the 'fire truck'.  And then Tate stood in front of the talking dalmatian fire dog, wondering what in the heck it was and why it was talking to him.  Ha ha!

Tate also liked the dalmatian dog statue, kept petting it like it was real.  Cutie. :)

As we were walking out of this building I saw a celebrity -- Chuck Todd from NBC news and Meet The Press!!!  He walked by us, and just as he was going by it dawned on me who he was.  I turned to Andy to say "That was CHUCK TODD!" when he recognized him at the same time.  I may have maybe screamed just a little bit.  Ok, I lied.  I full on screached "CHUCK TODD!!! CHUCK TODD!!!"  Ha ha, not my coolest moment but holy smokes was I excited!  Not quite as good as seeing Matt Lauer in person, but still, exciting!!!  Now if I could have seen Kelly O'Donnell from NBC! :)  Chuck wasn't super friendly, he didn't smile at me or even acknowledge I was screaming at him, he just kept chatting on his phone.  But I did snap this picture!

After this it was HOT outside.  We checked out the DNR building, with all of the fish aquariums and various hunting things.

We walked out of here to check out the old car show, my favorite part about going on Friday, but it was so stinking hot already, the sun was beating down and Baby and I just couldn't handle it, so I didn't get a single picture of a car and we didn't look at all of them because I just needed some shade.

We walked into the Varied Industries Building, which is the big air conditioned building where all of the booths are set up with various groups, businesses and colleges in it.  Since having the kids, thus having a stroller, we only hit up two booths - the PBS booth and the University of Iowa booth.  It's just too nuts in there to see anything and try to navigate with a stroller.  We picked up some coloring sheets and crayons at the PBS booth, and some Hawkeye football posters and tattoos at the U of I booth.  

This is our second bathroom stop of the day, then we usually head out the backdoor to play on the John Deere tractors and equipment.  We bi-passed the JD stuff and headed straight for lunch at the Cattleman's booth. Again, too hot to mess with all that.  For lunch the boys each got a cheeseburger, Andy got a bacon double cheeseburger and I got (surprise, surprise) a Hot Beef Sundae.  This is the only picture I took of it, and it was soooo delicious once again!

We headed into the air conditioned horse arena where all the girls were riding and warming up their horses.  It was a nice chance to sit and cool down and relax for a bit after stuffing ourselves.  From there we headed over to the 4-H building to see all the cool projects the 4-Her's had made and submitted.  Then my bump started aching.  I had been walking and holding it up all morning but that 20 minutes of sitting in the horse building had relaxed me just enough that I could feel all the stretching and pulling on my belly.  It was horrible.  So the rest of the day kind of stunk.  I stopped taking pictures and we buzzed through the rest of the buildings we normally go through at break neck speed.  We saw the big ram and big boar, briefly, then stopped to say hello to the big bull.  He was laying down when we got there but then decided it was a good time to stand up, so that was fun to see that big ol guy figure out how to get himself upright.

We then went over and hit up the Big Slide.  Tate and I stood at the bottom and watched - it was HOT!  I did manage to get a couple of pictures of the other 3 going down, they did it twice and had so much fun!

From there we hit up the Agriculture Building to see the butter cow.  This year's display also included Mr. Moneybags and the Monopoly Board.

We can't go to the fair without Andy and the big boys riding the sky lift.  They rode to the top of the hill but Tater and I huffed and puffed up it.  Pushing a stroller with a 30 pound toddler and a basket full of 'goodies' is hard work!  Add the baby in belly and holy cow, was that a workout in the heat!  We found a patch of shade to sit in while we waited for the riders.

At this point we'd all had it and were done.  We made the trek back to the car and loaded ourselves to head out.  I snapped a picture of the clock in the car to document how early we were leaving this year.

I'm bummed it was so hot and miserable for me.  I popped 2 Tylenol for my headache and cranked the AC the whole way home.  We  made it home about 4:00 and I headed straight for the couch and a nap.  That 15 minutes of sleep felt so good.  I'm hoping next year the weather is cooler (and less sunny) so we can really enjoy the fair again.

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  1. Your state fair looks AMAZING. But what I can't get over is that you said 15 minutes of sleep!!! Are you for real!?!?! That would just make me feel sick and cranky.

  2. Just as I suspected, I miss the fair something terrible.
    Such a bummer that it was so hot and humid for you. But, it looks like you crammed in all the good stuff while you were there. Marcus did the little hands on the farm last summer and I thought it was just the neatest thing. I'm hoping we can make it back next summer!!