Wednesday, August 12, 2015

Iowa State Fair Guide: 8 things you'll see at the fair

From people to animals to celebrities, there are some things you can always count on seeing at the Iowa State Fair.

The Iowa State Fair is like the Walmart of events: It's prime time for people watching. Walking through the fairgrounds, you'll see a little bit of everything, and it makes for quite the show. Here's my list of 8 things to look out for. If you have more, feel free to add them in the comments!

1. A Grandstand band member/performer. I went to a Boys Like Girls concert at the fair when I was in high school, and while we were walking through the carnival section before the show we saw this guy talking to a small group of people. We wouldn't have thought anything of it, except he was wearing all black clothes in the middle of the fair, which is not a super normal sight for mid-August at the Iowa State Fair. We found out later that he was actually the lead singer of Boys Like Girls, and we probably could have met him had we actually known what he looked like. Moral of the story: Know your band's faces and be on the lookout. Some of them really do like to mingle with fans.

2. Presidential candidates. Seeing as how Iowa is one of the most important states for politics, the Iowa State Fair is a hotspot for people running for president. Find them speaking, eating, promoting and generally chatting up voters at every corner of the fair. You never know, you might just get a selfie with the next POTUS.

3. Cutoffs and cowboy boots. What would a fair be without a little country? Plaid shirts, cutoff shorts, cowboy hats, large belt buckles and boots abound, especially on the nights when a country singer is headlining the Grandstand.

4. A stumbling drunk person in the street. With so many beer tents sprinkled throughout the fair, it's not surprising that some people have a little too much fun. There's always that person who thinks it's a good idea to wander out of the tent, leaving their friends to chase them as they stumble through the crowds.

5. People with fanny packs. Well, it frees up both hands for food and drinks, so I guess it's not the worst idea?

6. People carrying a bag of freebies from the Varied Industries Building. It's a massive showcase of businesses and their booths. It seems to be mostly hot tubs, but there are a lot of free products and samples to be had from various tables. And some people just can't say no to that 16th plastic cup with a home furnishing store's logo on it.

7. Farm animals. It's a well-known fact that fairs are full of animal contests and 4-H events, but bonus points if you can spot an animal somewhere inside the fair where it's maybe not supposed to be.

8. A sunglasses-shaped sunburn. Spending all day — morning till midnight — at the fair in the hot August sun leaves for some really fun sunburns. You'll know the campers and daily fair goers by the white raccoon eyes and extremely pink faces.

What would you add to the list of things you'll see at the state fair? 

P.S. 7 things to do at the fair and 10 foods to try and my 2015 fair bucket list

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