Seeland Park Stories: Iowa State Fair
I love the Iowa State Fair! I remember when I was young and our family would go to the fair for one day. Mom would pack a lunch — our break— and we would go back in the afternoon. I particularly remember when they had Farmall Cub tractors that went around in a circle like ponies. Being the farm girl that I was, I just had to ride one. When I got off the ride, the guy riding with me told my dad that he didn’t need to ride with me because I knew what I was doing. My dad said, “Yes, she knows how to drive a tractor!”
My 4-H club went to the fair one year and camped overnight in a stock truck and tent. My club had a good year and our leaders decided a trip to the Iowa State Fair was our reward. When I moved back to Iowa, two of my friends told me that they camped the entire fair. I remember saying, “Oh, I’m not sure I could do that.” Well, back in 1994, I got the chance to take my camper to the fair. Different members of my family took turns staying in it. Before long, my stays went from two or three days to two weeks! My sister and her husband also had a camper and after a few years, we had camping spots next to each other.
What do you like about the fair? My great, great nieces would say “everything.” Highlights are the Old Mill, the sky glider, the big slide, Pioneer Hall, Varied Industries, anywhere that sells “I can’t live without this,” free stages (especially if the High Bank Boys are playing), horse shows and sheep shows to watch great, great-nephews. Oh yes, and one night on the midway to win stuffed animals.
We were really disappointed that the fair was canceled this year for the first time since WWII but here’s hoping COVID-19 will be long gone in 2021.
by Gwen Rieck, Seeland Park Resident
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