The Ottumwa Courier

August 18, 2012

It really is ‘Fairlicious’

Et Cetera

former Courier editor

OTTUMWA — How does a corn dog at 9 in the morning sound?  Well, it’s pretty good — with mustard, of course.                                                                    My friend and I joined my daughter and son-in-law for a day at the Iowa State Fair, and the weather Monday was perfect. In fact, I came very close to buying a sweatshirt. It was chilly. But the more we walked, the warmer it was, so I bought my usual fair logo T-shirt.

My son-in-law loves fair food, so he and his wife headed to the bacon-wrapped corn dog booth on Expo Hill. They had to wait for the booth to open. It was OK, he said, but his favorite was the deep-fried cheese curds.

My friend had some breakfast rolls then we wandered through the Varied Industries Building. If we saw one spa booth, we saw dozens. My goodness. Some even come with tiny fountains and others with places to hold your drinks. One was so immense, I think I would probably drown in it.

There were the usual massage chairs and cleaning equipment, but only one piano booth. I think there used to be several. After trying to sell my upright piano, it seems that people just don’t want good old pianos anymore, they want keyboards. If you are interested in mine, give me a call. I can make you a good deal.

One promoter tried to talk us into a walk-in bath tub. For $5,000, it was pretty small. And you need the jets in it, he said, alluding to not even having to do your own body washing. I left that area.

I pleaded at the Drake University booth to have them sell T-shirts and other items for passing alumni. The student didn’t seem to realize that UNI, ISU and Iowa booths all have items for sale.

The Walnut building had some nifty crafts, and we had fun at the Shoppers Mart under the grandstand, hearing some funny remarks and having a hilarious discussion with the guy selling 1,600-count bed sheets.

We were having a drink in the area of the soap box hay bales political site, and it was time for Paul Ryan to appear. We overheard a couple people saying, “The vice president is coming.” Whoa! I thought. Don’t get ahead of yourself. My liberal friend said, let’s move on. But Katy and Scott saw Ryan come in with his face down checking his phone and talking to the governor and not looking up and greeting well-wishers.

Then I found out the next day that President Obama came later and had a pork chop on a stick. We tried to get one of those, but the line was probably five miles long. As my friend said, wonder if Obama had to stand in line.

Of course, I thought the much bally-hooed chocolate moose was in the Cultural Center, so we trudged up the hill. Nope, it was on the other side of the fair grounds. Back to the main concourse, I asked at the information booth where the chocolate moose was. The informer asked, “You mean a chocolate moose or a moose made of chocolate?”

I sighed, but we did find it in the Elway building. Take it from me, not worth the walk down the hill.

I think the butter cow looks skinnier every year, and I was not impressed with Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs butterized.

Also in the agriculture building, you can pick up a free hard-boiled egg. Don’t ask me why.

The frozen wine sample at the Shoppers Mart was sweet and weird. And, you are very brave if you dip a pretzel stick in the dips abounding at free tasting booths. No one double dips — right!

After five hours, I had had enough walking. The kids were still agreeable to staying on, but physically, I’m glad we left when we did. It was a highlight, climbing aboard one of the free golf cart shuttles driven by Shriners who zip up the hill to your car. We hung on for dear life. I hope they didn’t lose too many old people.

I went to the fair to ride the zip-line. But, I didn’t. Couldn’t find it. And after watching it on IPTV’s nightly state fair show, I decided just as well. My friend and I probably would have been the oldest zippers.

We did bring home pretty plastic glass souvenirs from a margarita booth. The drink was mostly ice, of course, but it did bring us in close proximity to Gov. Branstad who was eating at the next table. He was having a can of Coca-Cola, in case you are wondering.

Judy Krieger is a retired Courier editor.