Before I moved to Des Moines, I had never been to a state fair before. Sure, I grew up just one state east in Illinois, but we lived close enough to the city that agricultural contests and friends in 4H were never part of my reality. Then I relocated to Iowa and was introduced to the Iowa State Fair.
Iowa State Fair
As the snow melts and the trees begin to bloom, there’s a certain energy that returns to the air, especially in a place with harsh winters like Iowa. But no more so than in the early days of summer. As a kid, that meant never wearing shoes, devouring endless books for summer reading, picking raspberries in the backyard, and escaping to the lake for a long weekend.
Even though I no longer have summers off, I try to approach summer with the same sense of excitement. And while I’m not a big fan of the oppressive humidity or buzzing mosquitos that accompany the season, there are a lot of things I absolutely adore about Des Moines in the summer.
Of all the things to see at this year’s Iowa State Fair, a 25-foot-tall replica of Grant Wood’s famed “American Gothic” was among my favorites. The sculpture, titled”God Bless America” and built by New Jersey artist J. Seward Johnson Jr., has been in Iowa for years, but somehow I’m just getting around to seeing it now…