This week marks the start of one of Iowa’s most iconic events.  The Iowa State Fair attracts more than one million people every year and highlights the state’s rich agricultural history to visitors from both in and out of Iowa.  This quintessential Iowa celebration provides educational and informational activities as well as entertainment for the entire family.  

For many people, this is the only time they’ll see a cow, pig or lamb, let alone a llama or a rooster.  It’s a great way to connect people with agriculture and learn more about how our food is produced.  Programs like Little Hands on the Farm and the Knapp Animal Learning Center provide an interactive way for kids to learn about agriculture.  Attractions include one of the world’s largest livestock shows and the famous life-size “Butter Cow,” a milking parlor, and the Avenue of Breeds.

Plus, there are 4-H and FFA kids who bring a wide array of projects to the fair.  The projects these kids have been planning and working on for the better part of a year range from animals and livestock to horticulture, photography, clothing, home improvement, agricultural machinery, and much more.  Young Iowans can also be seen showcasing their talents in the Bill Riley Talent Search.

In addition, hundreds of exhibitors and concessionaires display their goods for people to browse and buy.  Mixed in are informational booths from various groups seeking to inform Iowans about a special cause or organization. 

And who can get through the fair without the time-honored tradition of eating something on a stick?  My favorite is the pork chop on a stick.  

This year I’ll be visiting with Iowans and seeing the sights on two separate days, Friday, Aug. 14, and Tuesday, Aug. 18.  Barbara and I will participate in a cancer screening event, walk with presidential candidates, stop by the Red Cross Station to thank volunteers, attend an event to celebrate Social Security, discuss ag policy issues on WHO radio’s The Big Show, and serve tea and water at the Pork Producers tent.  Most importantly, I plan to talk to hundreds of Iowans as we walk through the fairgrounds.  I hope to say hi to you.