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The Iowa State Fair || 2016

This year we decided to leave the Sweet T's home with a babysitter so we could go to the State Fair with just the big boys.  This was a great idea!  We were able to go and do without having to worry about the strollers.  Talk about freedom!

We left the house just before 7:00 and made the almost 2 hour trek to the state fairgrounds.  One of our state fair traditions is to stop about halfway there for a quick breakfast - either a Hardees biscuit or Caseys donut or breakfast pizza.  It was raining on the way there and by the time we got to the fairgrounds it was slow going parking people because of the wet grounds.

We made our way into the fairgrounds and checked our second tradition off the list - we used the bathrooms in the poultry barn! Ha ha!

We walked to the animal barn where, if you are lucky, you can watch a pig, cow or sheep give birth!  We never get that 'lucky' but we did watch some baby chicks hatching from their eggs!  There were brand new baby piggies and a 2 day old calf in there, too.

On to tradition #3 - Ye Olde Mill! It's a simple little ride that my dad would take our family on every year and so I've brought the tradition forward to my little family!  You hop in little boats and float through dark tunnels until you come up to lit pictures every so often.  Super simple but a thrill for all of us!

Aiden declared just after the ride that he wanted to try fried pickles.  Brennan wanted to try something new, too, so he went with a Sno-Cone!  Am I the worst parent ever that my 7 year old has never had a Sno-Cone before?!?  Bren was a big fan! Aiden wasn't as big of a fan of the fried pickles - they weren't on a stick like he thought it would be.

We headed farther into the fairgrounds and walked through some of the buildings. We also cruised past the old car show, tradition #4!

We made our way into the DNR (Department of Natural Resources) building and Brennan took a spin in a kayak.  

Tradition #5 goes back to my childhood trips to the fair.  We stopped for fresh salsa!  There are booths everywhere with people trying to sell you stuff and this particular booth they are selling little 'machines' that chop things.  I have one and love it.  They go through the whole schpeil and at the end make a batch of salsa.  It's super yummy and fresh and we always stop by for a little plate of the goodness.

Because we were sans strollers we took a stroll through the Varied Industries Building.  Tons of booths with people sharing their businesses with you.  We always stop by the Iowa Hawkeye booth regardless of having the strollers, and this year was no different.  Tradition #6!  Here are some of the awesome trophies Iowa earned last football season.

Finally, lunchtime!!!  Brennan decided to go off tradition (#7!) and get a corn dog while the rest of us went to the Cattleman's booth for BEEF!  I, of course, got my Hot Beef Sundae, and it did NOT disappoint!

After lunch we always pop across to the horse arena (#8) and take a load off our feet.  There are tons of cowgirls in there warming up and exercising their horses for upcoming shows.

We made our way through the 4-H building and looked at all the projects then headed to the sheep barn.  They were having a show and just look at these giant sheep they were showing!!! We teased Aiden that he had to try showing one of these behemoths next year! It took 2 people to show these - one to hold the head and one to set up the feet.  :)

The reserve Big Ram and my two goofy boys.:)

The big boar...

And the BIG BULL!  We watched it take a BIG DUMP, so that was cool for my all boy boys. Ha!

This is where tradition #9 comes in -- THE BIG SLIDE!!!  We went down it twice and it was so fun!  We laughed and yelled and had a great time!

We made our way to the Agricultural Building where the famous Butter Cow and butter sculptures are.  This year's theme was Star Trek. Pretty neat, huh?

 We hitched a ride on the Sky Lift and I about had a panic attack.  For some reason I have gained a fear of heights.  Luckily I had the perfect companion - Brennan!  He took good care of me and once we were about to the end I snapped a quick selfie of us!  I also grabbed a quick picture of the view - don't we have pretty fairgrounds?

That was pretty much the end of our day at the fair.  We headed out and stopped in a cute little Dutch community on the way home and grabbed some goodies from one of their bakeries.  Soo yummy!  It was another successful, fun year at the Great Iowa State Fair!  


  1. Hahaha!! I am dying over watching the big bull take a big dump!!! Sounds exciting. What is about poop and boys!?!?! Those butter sculptures, so cool!!

    It looks y'all had a good time with the big boys!

  2. We seriously can't wait. I told Tim the first thing I wanted to do was see the butter cow. Sometime they have a combine made out of can goods too... I will be sharing almost this same post next week except I have never been so they won't really be traditions.

  3. I'm so glad it was just you guys and the big boys - that made for a much easier day!!! I'd like all THREE of your breakfast options, in no particular order. I love a tradition so your fair traditions are so fun! And fried pickles are my jam - Amanda's too! I seriously would like to try the hot beef sundae . . . looks so good! I used to love to walk through the animal barns with my dad . . . and I can vividly remember watching a cow poop and being fascinated - gross, uh? Nothing says fair like butter sculptures - now just gimme a baguette! Ha!

  4. I've been looking forward to this post SO much!!
    You guys do so much and have so many traditions. I LOVE IT!!
    I've never had the fresh salsa, nor have I ever ridden the Ye Olde Mill! I'm hoping we can sneak back one of these summers when the fair is going so we can do and see all the awesome things.