Visiting the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is the highlight of the summer for many people, an August tradition. Many of those who exhibit at the fair work toward this event year-round raising livestock, growing crops, vegetables, flowers and perfecting family recipes. Year after year people return with friends and family to experience Iowa's great celebration, a salute to the state's best in entertainment, agriculture, industry and achievement. To plan your visit, you'll find information and a schedule at the State Fair's website. Here are some highlights of this year's fair August 8-18.
HIGHLIGHT #1: Bright future of Iowa agriculture seen at 2013 Iowa State Fair
Folks attending the Iowa State Fair should be sure to visit the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship's booth in the Agriculture Building. The display includes a truck that fairgoers can "ride in" as they watch a video showing the journey of food from the farm all the way to the grocery store. Also on display are new technologies being used by farmers to better care for the animals, their land and water quality while improving productivity.
The state ag department is giving away sunglasses that say "Iowa's Agriculture is so bright…" to fairgoers to highlight the bright future of the industry in Iowa. Fairgoers are invited to share photos of themselves wearing the sunglasses on social media with the hashtag #StateFairShades.
"The future of Iowa agriculture is incredibly bright and the Iowa State Fair is a great place to share that story with the more than 1 million visitors that will be on the grounds during the fair," says Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey. "I hope as people come out to the state fair they'll take time to stop by the ag building and learn a little more about the exciting opportunities available through Iowa agriculture."
Don't miss unique displays in the Ag Building, including Whipple's General Store and Brown's Cafe
Whipple's General Store and Brown's Café are part of the display in the ag building again this year and provide fairgoers with resources and samples from Iowa agriculture groups. Samples and information are available from Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Egg Council, Midwest Dairy Association, Iowa Turkey Federation, Iowa Pork Producers, and the Iowa Beef Industry Council.
The ag department also has a booth in the Varied Industries building that educates Iowans about the department and continues the tradition of weighing fairgoers on a scale certified by the ag department's Weights and Measures Bureau.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The Iowa Century Farm and Heritage Farm Awards will be presented Tuesday, Aug. 13 starting at 9 a.m. at the Century/Heritage stage, just south of the Grand Avenue entrance. Century Farm awards recognize farms that have been in the same family for 100 years and Heritage Farms awards recognize farms that have been owned by the same family for 150 years. This year there are 365 Century Farm winners and 67 Heritage Farm winners. These awards are sponsored by the Iowa Department of Agriculture and Land Stewardship and the Iowa Farm Bureau.
Century Farm Awards presented, and Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award winners recognized
On Thursday, Aug. 15 starting at 9:00 a.m. Gov. Branstad, Lt. Gov. Reynolds, Northey and Iowa DNR Director Chuck Gipp will recognize the Iowa Farm Environmental Leader award winners. The awards will be presented at the Penningroth Center inside the Cattle Barn and recognize the efforts of Iowa's farmers as environmental leaders committed to healthy soils and improved water quality. It seeks to recognize the exemplary voluntary actions of farmers that improve and protect the environment and natural resources of our state while also encouraging other farmers to follow in their footsteps by building success upon success.
On Wednesday, Aug. 14 at 10:00 a.m. the ag department will recognize winners of the 2013-2014 From the Farm to You Calendar drawing contest in the agriculture building. Kids from across the state submitted pictures for the calendar. Copies of the calendar are available to fairgoers at the department's booths in the ag building and the Varied Industries building.
HIGHLIGHT #2: Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award finalists selected, with a total of $5,000 in cash prizes to be awarded at 2013 Iowa State Fair
Finalists have been selected for the second annual "Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award" presented by the Iowa Department of Agriculture & Land Stewardship, the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and Iowa Farm Bureau.
The "Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award" is a juried art exhibition that recognizes Iowa artists and Iowa's role as a global leader in agriculture through the 2013 exhibition theme, "Cultivating Change." The exhibition features cash prizes in both a Youth Division (ages 17 and under) and an Adult Division (ages 18 and over).~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
Finalist, first, second and third place awards in each division will be presented Aug. 13, 2013, at the Iowa State Fair prior to the Iowa Farm Bureau and Iowa Department of Agriculture presentation of Century and Heritage Farm Awards. The submissions were evaluated by a panel of judges arranged by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs. Eligible participants have to be Iowa residents working in 2D or 3D media. Original artwork is required. The artwork is judged on the innovation of concept and execution of exhibition theme and the aesthetic and technical quality of the work.
A list of this year's finalists in the "Celebration of Iowa: Agriculture Art Award" Adult and Youth categories follows, listed by community, name and project title:
* Boone: Robert Sturtz, Seeds of Change
* Eldridge: Lori Miller, Grant's View
* Grundy Center: Grant Thye, Wind Farm
* Monticello: Laura Larabee, Thunderhead Approaching
* Pella: Brian Roberts, Autumn Elevator
* Davenport: Tyler Moss, 16, Hay There
* Fairfax: Allison Mosbeck, 16, The Light of Change
* Ames: Adam Rice, 12, Moon Farm
The finalists' artwork is on display at Café Baratta's in the State Historical Museum of Iowa, 600 E. Locust Street in Des Moines, through Friday, Nov. 1, 2013. The exhibition features $5,000 in cash prizes. The Iowa Farm Bureau Federation is sponsoring the following prizes:
Adult Division (18 years of age and older)
* First Place: $1,500
* Second Place: $1,000
* Third Place: $750
Youth Division (17 years of age and under)
* First Place: $1,000
* Second Place: $500
* Third Place: $250
Entries were received from artists representing 31 Iowa communities. For information, contact Veronica O'Hern, Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, Iowa Arts Council Division, at firstname.lastname@example.org. More is also available at the department's website.
HIGHLIGHT #3: Iowa's 2013 Best Burger is being featured at the Iowa State Fair, as Cattlemen's Beef Quarters will serve the Angus Black Crown Burger
Attention all burger lovers -- Iowa's 2013 Best Burger winner is available at Cattlemen's Beef Quarters at the Iowa State Fair. Fair fans have the opportunity to try the award winning Angus Black Crown burger created by the 61 Chop House located in Mediapolis, Iowa. This special treat is available for one day only -- Saturday, August 10.
Burger lovers will be delighted with the fresh half-pound Certified Angus Beef patty grilled to perfection and topped with a made-from-scratch beer cheese sauce, pepper Colby-jack cheese and two strips of thick-cut Applewood bacon. It's creator, 61 Chop House owner and chef, Terry Reis will be on-site to oversee the preparation of his personal culinary creation. Available for one day only, Saturday, August 10, the Angus Black Crown Burger joins an exclusively all beef menu that boasts not only burgers but also Prime Rib dinners, roast beef sandwiches, ribeye steak sandwiches, taco salads and the original Hot Beef Sundae.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The Cattlemen's Beef Quarters, an advocate for Iowa beef, features products from Iowa companies. Fully cooked beef taco meat for its Taco Salads, Taco Potatoes and Walking Tacos is manufactured in Nevada, Iowa by Burke Corporation. The fully cooked shredded beef used in the Hot Beef Sundaes is produced by W & G Marketing located in Ames. Operated by Beef Promotions of Iowa, Inc., the Cattlemen's Beef Quarters is managed by John Mortimer of Dallas Center. Sixty-eight County Cattlemen's Associations bring over 1,200 beef industry volunteers to prepare and serve beef during the Iowa State Fair.
HIGHLIGHT #4: Governor's Charity Steer Show celebrates 31st year at Iowa State Fair
Families of seriously ill children will be supported by the 25 steers shown in the 2013 Governor's Charity Steer Show at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, Aug. 10. This is the 31st consecutive year the Iowa beef cattle industry has raised funds to help families who use the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa in Sioux City, Des Moines and Iowa City.
The show ring competition takes place 4 p.m. on Aug. 10 in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. Celebrities will lead the steers around the ring, vying for the championship designation, as well as appealing to the crowd for a showmanship award. Immediately following the competition, the steers will be sold at auction in the Cattle Barn's Penningroth Sales Arena. Proceeds from the sales go to all three of the Ronald McDonald Houses of Iowa. The show ring event and the auction are open to the general public.
Since the Iowa Beef Industry Council and the Iowa Cattlemen's Association began the Governor's Charity Steer Show in 1983, the effort has raised more than $2 million for the Ronald McDonald Houses, which provide a "home away from home" for families of children being treated in near-by hospitals.
Gov. Terry Branstad will again host the charity steer show, and will lead one of the steers around the ring. Jason Lekin of Tama will serve as the official steer show judge for this year's event. The Showmanship Judge will be Byron Leu of Ottumwa. Leu recently retired after 28 years with Iowa State University Extension and Outreach as the southeast Iowa Beef Extension Specialist.
HIGHLIGHT #5: Coalition To Support Iowa's Farmers is again sponsoring "Avenue of Breeds" at State Fair
The Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers, or CSI, is proud to continue its sponsorship of the popular "Avenue of Breeds" at the 2013 Iowa State Fair. The fair's theme, "Nothing Compares," accurately describes one of its renowned attractions -- the Avenue of Breeds, which allows fairgoers the opportunity to see and learn about many different breeds such as cattle, horses, chickens, sheep and hogs -- all in one location.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The exhibit, located in the northwest corner of the Swine Barn, is staffed daily by North Polk FFA members from 9:00 a.m. to 9:00 p.m. to take care of the animals and answer questions. "The efforts of these young people represent the same kind of care and diligent attention that Iowa farmers provide their livestock every day," says Brian Waddingham, executive director of CSIF. With 55 breeds and 125 animals, the exhibit offers educational information about all species of livestock showcased in the area.
"The Avenue of Breeds has something to offer everyone from farmers to visitors who have never been to an Iowa farm," says Waddingham. "Consumers want to know more about where their food comes from and how the animals are cared for and this exhibit provides a great opportunity to have your questions about raising livestock answered by those who care for them."
CSIF is a non-partisan organization launched in 2004 to help livestock farmers responsibly and successfully grow their farms. CSIF has assisted more than 2,300 farm families who raise livestock, dairy and poultry choose good sites for new barns and feedlots, follow all rules and regulations, protect air and water quality and enhance neighbor and community relations. CSIF does not lobby or develop policy. Its services are free. Member groups include Iowa Cattlemen's Association, Iowa Corn Growers, Iowa Farm Bureau, Iowa Pork Producers Association, Iowa Soybean Association, Iowa Turkey Federation and Midwest Dairy Association. Farmers wanting assistance are encouraged to contact CSIF at 800-932-2436 or visit the CSIF website.
HIGHLIGHT #6: Iowa Farm Bureau shows how "Iowa Rises Up" at 2013 Iowa State Fair; visitors to Farm Bureau Park can meet Iowa farmers, win great prizes
This year Iowa State Fair visitors have the opportunity to "Spin the Wheel" at Farm Bureau Park to win great prizes while learning how Iowa's farmers help "Iowa Rise Up." No matter the degree of agriculture knowledge, fairgoers will have the opportunity to interact with Iowa farmers while also having the chance to earn great prizes.
Iowa Farm Bureau Federation members will enjoy a number of perks at the fair, while Farm Bureau Park showcases how Iowa farmers help "Iowa Rise Up" by raising and growing our food and energy. Members can redeem a thank you coupon for a free gift and register for a chance to win a free Cub Cadet Zero Turn Riding Mower. Members are encouraged to sign up family and friends as new Farm Bureau members, with the new member entered in a drawing for $2,000 in free ethanol.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
All park visitors can take a guess at how many balls are loaded in the cab of a Ford F-150 for a chance to win $500. Farm Bureau Park visitors also have the opportunity to win a Big Green Egg smoker grill and sign the fair's largest Thank You card to Iowa's farmers, courtesy of Farm Bureau Financial Services. Park guests will have the chance to sign up daily to win a free smart phone from Farm Bureau's newest benefit partner, Ready Mobile.
Young fairgoers will find free entertainment at Farm Bureau Park, which offers a variety of kid's activities and prizes
Visitors are encouraged to learn more about Farm Bureau benefit partners and special member discounts on services and products including Morton Buildings, Case IH tractors, hay equipment and utility vehicles, Ford and Lincoln vehicles and Wellmark Blue Cross/Blue Shield health insurance available through Farm Bureau agents. The newest partner, Ready Mobile, will be on site to answer questions and will provide a free phone charging station for fairgoers with a low cell phone battery.
Young fairgoers will also find free entertainment at Farm Bureau Park as the Iowa Farm Bureau Young Farmer Advisory Committee members offer a variety of free kids' activities and prizes from 8:00 a.m.to 8:00 p.m. on Saturday, August 10.
The IFBF is again promoting the importance of healthy lifestyles by featuring a number of free blood pressure, cancer, hearing, balance, and other health screenings on select fair days. Other special activities at Farm Bureau Park on select fair days include:
Saturday, Aug. 10— Governor's Charity Steer Show in Livestock Pavilion, charity Auction immediately following.
Tuesday, Aug. 13—Farm Bureau Day at the Fair
* 9:00 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., Farm Bureau's Cookout Contest on the Grand Concourse, judging at 10:00 a.m. * 9:00 a.m. – 3:00 p.m., Free farm consultation services provided by Coalition to Support Iowa's Farmers
* 9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Morton Buildings Tent, If you pay health insurance premiums or out-of-pocket healthcare costs, learn about tax savings plans provided by BASE Third-Party Benefit Administration
* 9:00 a.m. – 8:00 p.m., Sign up to win a Case IH pedal tractor provided by Case IH
* 9:00 a.m., Century and Heritage Farm Awards on the Century/Heritage Farm Stage
Thursday, Aug. 15—9:00 a.m. – 3:30 p.m., Free business consultation services provided by Renew Rural Iowa, VentureNet Iowa and CIRAS (ISU Center for Industrial Research and Service). Farm Bureau Park is next to Varied Industries Building, off the Grand Concourse. For complete listing of Farm Bureau activities at the fair, visit the Farm Bureau website.