What is your Connection to the Iowa State Fair?

June 20, 2023
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The Iowa State Fair is easily the highlight of my year and has been my whole life. They aren’t joking when they call the 11 days in August The Best Days Ever. When I was interviewing for this internship, I was asked what my connection was to the Iowa State Fair. I sat there stunned for a minute and finally said, “Where do I even begin?”

Growing up, my family brought our dairy cattle to be a part of the Boulevard of Dairy Breeds exhibit. We also showed these cows, too! After I officially started working here, many conversations were centered around what that lifestyle looks like, especially at the Fair. I am sure you can imagine my supervisor’s faces’ when I nonchalantly told them we sleep in the barns (don’t worry, I will blog ALL about that sometime ;).

When my family stopped showing at the Fair, I knew I couldn’t stay away. I reached out to many different families asking if they needed an extra showman. My brother worked in the milking parlor, so you can bet I begged him to let me tag along, too.

During this time, my grandpa became the Fair’s milk man. When he went to the Fair, I was right there with him. We knew our roles the minute we got onto the grounds. He would start loading up the milk into the truck and I would see how fast I could run to find us a bucket of cookies.

Those next few summers I spent my time with anybody that needed the extra help; anything to get me to the Fair.

From here, I gained the title of: Night Line Girl. Essentially this means I spend my nights watching the cattle. I feed them and pick up their poop; tending to their every need. In the morning we milk them, wash them, and clean out their stalls! Then, it’s my turn to sleep!!.... yes, in the barn of course ;)

I was also able to see a glimpse of the business side too as my mom held various positions with agriculture companies that are involved with the Fair. Many times I tagged along with her and got a look of what goes into the behind the scenes of the Fair. This is where my love for the Fair grew even deeper and in different way. I learned many networking skills and became thankful for everyone who makes the Iowa State Fair possible. I knew I wanted to continue being involved and for the first time, I sparked an interest in my future career.

From there, I became one of the supervisors for Little Hands on the Farm. Through this, I was able to help promote agriculture among youth, network and meet some amazing people, while also learning how to manage volunteers.

The Fair has given so much to me; I knew wanted to be able to give back! That is when I applied for this internship!

During the first few weeks of working here, one of the departments put on an intern social for all of us on the Fairgrounds! We played a game that asked each of us several questions. When it was my turn, the question I was asked was: “What is your favorite thing about the Iowa State Fair?” I sat there with that same stunned look on my face when I finally said back, “Where do I even begin?”

The Iowa State Fair has left me with many wonderful memories that I will take with me for the rest of my life. I have been fortunate enough to meet some amazing people through it all as well.

Everyone has their own unique connection to the Fair that makes these days for them the Best Days Ever. What is yours?