Butter Cow v. Giant Vegetables

A former colleague hails from Iowa and sent me the following blurb from his cousin’s itinerary for a trip home:

Sunday: The State Fair. This is the only real and authentic state fair in the United States of America. All others are pretenders and sad imitations. Itinerary: Petting Zoo at SW entrance, ceremonial eating of the Corn Dog in front of the Grandstands (ensures one year of good luck), photo opportunity with Nakeya on the Red Tractors, visit to the Butter Cow (eat ice cream waiting in line for viewing), trip down the Big Slide, various and sundry treats, etc.

Now, I’ve never been to the Iowa State Fair (nor have I been to Iowa, truth be told), but I *have* been to more than one state fair in my day…and while I can certainly appreciate his cousin’s enthusiasm, I’m going to have to say that I take issue with his claim that all other fairs are “sad imitations.”

Take, for example, the Wisconsin State Fair and its signature cream puffs. It’s certainly no Harry Potter carved in butter – I’ll give him that – but you can’t eat that, can you?

Or what about the giant vegetables at the Alaska State Fair? C’mon – a pumpkin that’s over 1000 pounds?? That’s really something!

And this certainly isn’t to say that I don’t want to see the Butter Cow at least once before I die…I just, you know, think some of the other state fairs deserve their due…

A friend once suggested I spend a year traveling to all the state fairs and entering pies in all of them. And, boy, if money was no object, that would certainly be a tempting idea indeed…



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4 responses to “Butter Cow v. Giant Vegetables

  1. Anonymous

    I used to live in Iowa, never went to the state fair, but I heard it was awesome. – Prasanth

  2. Former colleague

    Ok, Alaska – and its giant, child-eating lettuces and moose-eating bok choys – is certainly impressive. But to compare Iowa to “Wisconsin”?? C’mon. Iowa’s got the butter cow! and the butter Harry Potter! and lots of tractors and hogs!

    Sorry, Badgers, but this one clearly goes to the Hawkeye state.

  3. Anonymous

    I lived in WI for 12 years and attended the WI State Fair multiple times. No cream puffs could ever compensate for its comparitive lameness.

    I have also attended the MN state fair multiple times. No amount of Walleye on a Stick could ever compensate for its fundamental lack of justification for existence vs its southern neighbor’s fair.

    I have dim memories of attending the TX state fair, but like most of my now tenuous memories, those would require a secondary source of confirmation. What I seem to remember offered little beyond “bigness.”

    There is no other than the one, the only, the true. The Iowa State Fair.

    My sympathies extend to those saddled with a non-genuine article, but I nonetheless encourage them to attend and support their local state fairs, as I understand many are suffering decline.

    And BTW, this year’s crop of Corn Dogs at the Iowa State Fair was excellent.

    – Former Colleague’s Cousin

  4. Boz

    The Iowa State Fair is mentioned in the back page of this month’s Better Homes & Gardens as a mother and daughter explain the appeal of baking.

    My wife happened to point it out to me, crying, “This is perfect for a ‘Tasty Lacy’!”

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