Five Reasons to Love Your State Fair

Here in the midwest, it’s State Fair time. City slickers, you may roll your eyes, but let me tell you, State Fairs are FUN. I did some very light research on the subject, and it appears that most (if not all) states have some kind of state fair or exhibition. Typically, it’s connected to agriculture in some way, and most fairs have a heavy 4-H component. 

Why should you hit the State Fair nearest you? Well, here are five good reasons:

1) The Food: Sure, there are trailers that go all over a region serving Lemon Shake Ups or Cotton Candy. There are also stands that are a bit more home-grown. In Indiana, Indiana Dairy runs the Dairy Bar, where you can get everything milky or cheesy. It’s all fresh, and it’s all delicious. Indiana Pork also has a booth, and I save room every year for a pork chop. There are also the “novelty” foods each year, featuring deep-fried Snickers, deep-fried Oreos and pretty anything that can survive a fry basket.

2) The Animals: Where else can you see animals being so lovingly cared for by their owners? This year we saw a pair of calves two days old nuzzling their mama. We also saw ducklings, baby turkeys and baby quails. They were ridiculously cute. Walking through the sheep barn, we got to see several sheep being sheared, and we got to see Bernese Mountain Dog puppies. We watched a draft horse exhibition where the horses, their wagons, and their drivers were dressed to the nines as they trotted around the arena. We also saw very young kids care for goats better than some people care for their human children.

3) The People Who Raise the Animals: Every year, I am impressed by the youth showing their animals at the fair. This year, my daughter made fast friends with a teen who was showing rabbits. My daughter (age 7) asked, “How can you tell if it’s a boy rabbit or a girl rabbit?” Without hesitation, the young lady flipped Marvin the rabbit over and said, “Do you see these reproductive organs right here? Only boys have these. You can’t see the reproductive organs on a girl rabbit.”

4) The Entertainment: State Fairs seem to do a fairly good job at bringing in entertainment to draw crowds of all kinds. The Indiana State Fair includes square-dancing, Irish dancing, roller derby, a professional side show, and musical acts of all kinds. There is also a cheese sculpture every year, that is always something to see.

5) Education about Your State: At the Indiana State Fair, there are buildings dedicated to educating people about Indiana’s environment and Indiana’s industries. We were able to see tanks full of Indiana river fish, learn about the watershed, and Indiana’s place in the world. This year we toured a historical drug store museum, which was fascinating.

So there are five reasons, none of which even put you on the Midway (although, my seven-year-old is now reading over my shoulder, and insists I should increase the list to six). Actually, The Midway, lit up at night, is actually pretty amazing.

8 replies on “Five Reasons to Love Your State Fair”

North Carolina’s (which is just up the road from me!) is in October, so it will be nice and cooler and fun.

Fella and I will go at least once, and will try the games and the exhibits and the food and at least *try* (or watch a friend try) what he calls the “Deep Fried What The Fuck” (i.e., the really, really weird things like kool-aid powder). I think that part I’ll just try a bite or two, because I like my arteries. The only performers I recognize are Christian-pop, and it’s not my thing, so I’ll experience the demolition derby instead.

I’ve never been to a state fair, but I absolutely loved going to the Chippewa County fair every summer. I grew up on in a border city and have lots of family in the States, so my parents would always pack up my sister and I for a few days and send us to the fair with our aunt and uncle. I loved the animals and the rides, but the Bee Booth was my favourite – you could see the hives and learn about bees, and they had at least a dozen different flavours of honey straws. Those people got a lot of my allowance money! My cousins would compete in some of the riding events and tractor pulls, which we thought was the coolest thing.

I live in a State Fairless state. The State cut funding in 2009 and the grounds are going to be developed into something else. Boo.

There is going to be an event this year that is being called The Great Lakes State Fair but it is getting no government funding and is going to be way smaller than the State Fair used to be. Also no light horses exhibition. Light horses is what I competed under in my 4-H days, so I am biased against this thing.

We still have most of our county fairs though. (In 4-H I never went to State Fair, only county, so many stories though. On the last day of the fair I was given the “Best Bronco Rider” award by my club. Beat out “Best Unintentional Mud Surfer” I guess.)

State Fairs!!

I purposely scheduled my summer visit back home to line up with the Iowa State Fair this year because it has been forever since I’ve been to it. It was Mr. Nonsense’s first fair and he loved it. I think we spent a total of 3 hours looking at animals, including Reggie–the biggest hog who happened to be from Indiana. But mainly, we watched the goats because I am endlessly amused by them.

We also ate a crazy amount of fried food.  We rarely eat fried stuff so our stomachs were a little pissed off but we did it in the name of curiosity.  The pickledawgs, the fried pineapple, and the corndogs were worth the stomach pains.  But the absolutely best thing EVER was the carrot cake funnel cake with cream cheese glaze. It was the seriously amazing.

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