Entertainment at the Fair

January 18, 2017
drewnorton's picture
Entertainment takes on an entirely new meaning at the Iowa State Fair. Yes, we have musical acts, dancing groups and midway attractions but the Iowa State Fair has a few things that you can’t find anywhere else. 
Don Greiman knows a thing or two about entertainment.  He began coming to the Fair with his family as a small child, then exhibited and worked in the Beef Barn, and finally served on the Fair Board for forty-four years.
A Blue Ribbon Life: Memories of the Iowa State Fair is the story of the Iowa State Fair during those years, the people Don met, the best moments of those decades and the worst, the financial ups-and-downs of the Fair, and its ultimate national recognition.
In the chapter about entertainment, Don talks about the Hog and Husband Calling contests. He shares stories of entertainers taking the Grandstand stage and gives some inside details on the history of the Butter Cow. One very unique tidbit Don shares might be special to the Iowa State Fair – the Celebrity Goat Milking contest. 
  • “Then it came time to milk the dairy goat; for that contest, you didn’t have a partner, you were on your own. There is a breed of goat that has no ears, and that was the goat I was given so I acted as though I was whispering in her ears. While everybody was being introduced, I stood there and gently massaged her udder. When it got time to milk the goat, the milk just came out and I had more milk than all the other contestants put together; nobody could figure it out.”
Don participated in the goat milking contest in 2000 and the entertaining activity is still going strong. One of the Blue Ribbon Foundation interns, Francesca Mittag, graciously participated last August! Read more of Don’s memories and stories in his book available in the State Fair Store
As the 2017 Iowa State Fair inches closer (203 days!), the staff are thinking of new and exciting ways to entertain the crowds. Free entertainment stages and new competitions will be announced this spring. Livestock schedules, kids’ activities, and crazy food concoction are all in the works. Five Grandstand concerts have been announced and the line-up will continue to grow, so stay tuned. 
The Blue Ribbon Foundation has supported projects across the Fairgrounds to make sure these entertaining aspects of the Fair continue. We are on a mission to provide an environment that all can enjoy. What entertainment are you looking forward to this August?