Fair 2023 – Tuesday, August 15

Fair | Episode
Aug 15, 2023 | 56 min

Fair Highlights for Tuesday, August 15, 2023 include:

  • Queen Coronation
  • iFlip
  • New Fair CEO
  • Food Judging - Pickles
  • Big Animals
  • FFA Breeding Sheep
  • FFA Ag Mechanics
  • Floriculture Shows
  • Little Hands on the Farm
  • Youth Rooster & Ladies Chix Callin'
  • Blake Guyre Part 1


[Announcer] Funding for Fair 2023 is brought to you by Friends, the Iowa PBS Foundation. And by,

For more than 110 years, EMC Insurance Companies has served policyholders, independent agents and local communities. Providing insurance products for both business and life. Count on EMC.

My name is Dr. Cara Haden. I’m super passionate about animal welfare. There’s a lot of pigs that rely on me to train their caregivers. What we focus on in our training is encouraging our caregivers to understand that what they think and what they do matters.

Iowa PBS presents "Fair 2023." Here is your host, Bill Riley.

Hi, I'm Bill Riley.

Welcome back to Iowa State Fair Highlights on Iowa PBS. We're going to be here every night this week with a full hour of captivating coverage.

The fair offers a chance to come together to celebrate, with contests and exhibits that are as unique as we are. There's something for everyone in tonight's show. They're big, they're bulky and beefy. We'll see where these enormous animals tip the scales. We'll get to meet Jeremy Parsons, the new CEO and fair manager. We'll hear some ear-catching rooster and chicken calls at Pioneer Hall. Tonight an annual competition that showcases the hard work of young women from across the state. Let's head to the Riley Stage for the crowning of the 2023 Iowa State Fair Queen. 

(audience cheering)

  • Adair County, Kerigan Brown
  • Adams County, Emily Lauer
  • AllamakeeCounty,  Natalie Byrnes
  • Appanoose County, Chloe Potter
  • Audubon County, Sienna Albertsen
  • Benton County, Izzie Birker
  • Black County, Hawk Sofia Brown
  • Boone County, Erin Barnes
  • Bremer County, Lily Mayo
  • Buchanan County, Addison Gericke
  • Buena Vista County, Madalyn Forbes
  • Butler County, Brooklyn Wix
  • Calhoun Ashley County, Westering
  • Carroll County, Molly Freese
  • Cass County, Natalie Behnken
  • Cedar County, Molly Chapman
  • Cerro Gordo County, Hadley Shatek
  • Cherokee County, Carlynn Fuhrman
  • Chickasaw County, Tori Bearman
  • Clarke County, Kelsey Benda
  • Clay County, Kamdyn Van Gelder
  • Clayton County, Reagan Stelken
  • Clinton County, Fayeth Henningsen
  • Crawford County, Payton Henningsen
  • Dallas County, Celia Kreifels
  • Davis County, Clara Smith
  • Decatur County, Hailey Burton
  • Delaware County, Dannielle Burkle
  • Des Moines County, Caroline Nealey
  • Dickinson County, Amy Martin
  • Dubuque County, Kayla Donovan
  • Emmet County, Emily Paulson
  • Fayette County, Anna Egan
  • Floyd County, Josette Benning
  • Franklin County, Kierra Dodd
  • Fremont County, Lillian Howe
  • Great Jones County Fair, Emily Meyer
  • Greene County, Elise Badger
  • Grundy County, Cora Berends
  • Guthrie County, Kiersten Knobbe
  • Hamilton County, Amanda Ostrem
  • Hancock County, Sydney Tue
  • Hardin County, Kaci Bradshaw
  • Harrison County, Marki Bertelsen
  • Henry County, Kalayna Durr
  • Howard County, Ava Ferrie
  • Humboldt County, Ava McIntire
  • Ida County, Margo McMillen
  • Iowa County, Mariana Stevenson
  • Jackson County, Meghan Klemme
  • Jasper County, Jocelyn Harder
  • Jefferson County, Briana Steele
  • Johnson County, Kelly Marshek
  • Keokuk Expo, Autumn Belvel
  • Keokuk County Fair, Chloe Zittergruen
  • Kossuth County, Emily Meyer
  • Lee County, Olivia Tennant
  • Linn County, Genevieve Scott
  • Louisa County, Jacie Hoeg
  • Lucas County, Sydney Cain
  • Lyon County, Alexis Landis
  • Madison County, Emma Deppe
  • Mahaska County, Aliveah Brinegar
  • Marion County, Carly Cox
  • Marshall County, Lily Fischer
  • Mills County, Emerson Griffin
  • Mitchell County, Katelynn Huebsch
  • Monona County, Addison Halverson
  • Monroe County, Janelle Clark
  • Montgomery County, Cloie Bruce
  • Muscatine County, Kiley Langley
  • National Cattle Congress, Emily Ingalls
  • O'Brien County, Ellen Hunt
  • Osceola County, Hallie Pedley
  • Page County, Allyson Johnson
  • Palo Alto County, Adrianna Krieger
  • Plymouth County, Abigail Tilberg
  • Pocahontas County, Nicole Panbecker
  • Polk County, Emma Lihs
  • Pottawattamie County, Jayden Bates
  • Poweshiek County, Jordan Ranfeld
  • Ringgold County, Aubrey Reed
  • Sac County, Anna McCollough
  • Scott County, Cassi Paustian
  • Shelby County, Ryleigh Obrecht
  • Sioux County, Anaka Dekkers
  • Story County, Callie Kohlwes
  • Tama County, Adelyn Sienknecht
  • Taylor County, Amanda Ogle
  • Union County, Marcey Bailey
  • Van Buren County, Emma Yoder
  • Wapello County Expo, Heidi Wemmie
  • Wapello County Fair, Savanah Chickering
  • Warren Hanna Bedwell
  • Washington County, Taylor Bartholomew
  • Wayne County, Hallie Ingram
  • Webster County, Althea Ball
  • West Pottawattamie County, Natalie Ausdemore
  • Winnebago County, Allison Rygh
  • Winneshiek County, Brynn Storhoff
  • Woodbury County, Maria McGowan
  • Worth County, Sydney Schilling
  • Wright County, Makayla Beisel
  • Wyoming County, Paige Peasley

And your 2023 Iowa State Fair Queen hails from Henry County, Kalayna Durr. 

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ 

[Dana Lain] Some of the best entertainment comes from watching others do things you can't. Let's meet two performers from iFlip. 

[Felix Di Pasquale] Yes, we do need muscle but the timing is what's really important. Your weight is going to bring the trampoline to a certain level, but that precise moment, you got to push it down so it pushes you back higher. So every time you hit the bed, you push it down, push it down, further down, then it's going to give you back what you give. We're fighting with the trampoline bed all the time. We push her, then she pushes us. When somebody watches this show, I think they're going to see that we're having fun. They're going to have a laugh because we put some comedy in there. Then we put some acrobatics. It's not just about performance, it's about having fun with each other and playing with the people. 


[Nathaniel Weber] The show, let me just first say, it's so much fun. So we have so much to do. It's not like an ordinary show where it might just be one thing. We have trampoline, we have tumbling, we have hula hoop. You really get to experience everything when you're doing the show. And it really just feels like a family having fun together doing it. 

♪♪ ♪♪ 

[Felix] My favorite part is the trampoline wall. It's my favorite. It's where we're all together and we're jumping, and sometimes, "oh, I'm going to do one more flip here." So we try to impress each other and just, like, say, "You know what? I'm going to do this today. I feel good, my body is great." We're just there having fun, a bunch of us that love and have patience with the trampoline wall. 

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ 

[Dana] Wow, iFlip is a wonderful show. But please, kids, don't try these tricks at home. 

[Scott Siepker] I'd like you to greet the CEO and Manager of the Iowa State Fair, Jeremy Parsons. Come on down! 

♪♪ ♪♪ 

How has it been so far, becoming the new grand Poobah of the Iowa State Fair? 

[Jeremy Parsons] It's been a great experience so far. It started on March 6. 

Like many Iowa kids, growing up here at the fair, attending with my family. I worked here through high school and college. It's great to be back in this role for sure. 

Well, it's kind of a fascinating story. There was this project of, "What do you want to be when you grow up?" And so, I love the Iowa State Fair. I assumed somebody had to be in charge of it. How does that work? So the letter went off to Marion Lucas, who is the CEO of the fair at the time. He responded with, "Here's what I do for a living." I gave my school presentation, but he also said, "Next year, come meet me at the fair, you can really see what I do." 

[Marion Lucas] There's a lot of involvement. It's not just, as most people think, you work 30 days for the 11-day fair. It's a big business. 

[Jeremy] So I had the opportunity to do that as a 10, 11, 12-year-old. That continued every year until I turned 17 and a job opportunity was presented to me by Marion to be here in the summer in the special events office. And that really started several years of being here through high school, college, even my first few years of teaching school. So it was a great summer gig for a long time, for sure. 

You can attend a lot of state fairs and maybe the agriculture influence or sphere is not as big at that fair as it is at the Iowa State Fair. A lot of fairs really have kind of lost some of that homegrown feel. I think of the competitions at Pioneer Hall or the Bill Riley Talent Search. That's something that keeps the Iowa State Fair unique, is the fact that all of Iowa is represented here somehow. It's the anticipation of everything building. Just kind of managing all that. Again, being there as a resource for the staff and then the board and really everyone involved with the fair to put on the best possible event. 

[Jeremy] I'm glad you're here. I'm really proud and honored to be with the Iowa State Fair.

[Concessionaire] Good to see you. 

[Jeremy] Good to be here. 

I think, first of all, there's a tremendous staff here at the Iowa State Fair. Nearly 70 full-time employees. Then that number expands to close to 200 throughout the summer. Then we add another 1,400 at the fair. So you know, 1,600 employees. So obviously, managing people is a lot of what I do and the great staff that puts on the fair. 

[Scott Siepker] Let's hear it for Jeremy, everybody. I'm going to hand the microphone over to you, you take it away. 

[Jeremy] I really think the job of the CEO is to serve as caretaker for the fair. I use that word caretaker because the Iowa State Fair has existed for nearly 175 years. It's hopefully going to exist for hundreds of years after me. So there's been people in my role before, people in my role after. But it's my job right now to take care of it, to take care of it for right now. And so that's really, I think, the job of the CEO is to protect this great Iowa institution. And protecting it means preserving the traditions of the fair. But that also means making those changes as Iowa continues to change. So I just get to take care of it for a few years. Then down the road, somebody else will come in after me. 

[Bill Riley] All right, it's time for a little trivia, ladies and gentlemen. Celebrating our history and preserving our past has always been an important component of the Iowa State Fair. Time capsules are a fun way to take a snapshot of a certain point in time and create a connection with the future. Now here it is. 

There are two time capsules located on the fairgrounds. Where are they? And when do you think they're supposed to be opened? 

I'm not sure if I know the answer to that one. But we'll have that answer coming up a little later in the show. But for now, a food contest that combines the art of creating complex flavors and textures with the science of canning. It's the Pickles Competition at the Elwell Family Food Center. 

[Contest Emcee] Good morning everybody and Welcome to Class 33 Famous Dave's Famous Canned Pickles. I think we have like 129 jars this year. We're going to be scoring these on flavor, 35%. Consistency, 25%. Appearance, 20%. Food safety, 20%. 

[Claudette Taylor] The criteria on the scorecard is the absolute perfect exhibit. And we're looking for the visual. When we look at that exhibit, you know, we eat with our eyes before we start to taste. 

[Contest Emcee] Isn't that a beautiful product? 

[Claudette] We're looking for the complete package. It's properly prepared. Good quality product in the beginning. 

[Judge 1] I was looking more for a crunch. 

[Claudette] And when we taste that sample, everything's right there. 

[Judge 2] Dash, wow. 

[Judge 1] Nice sour taste. Mmm-mmm, mmm-mmm. 

First place went to George Ellerbach. Is George here? George, very good. I mean, you know, when you look at the description. Reduced sodium sweet, you know pickles are going to be vinegary. But you gave us a nice balance between the sweet and vinegar. Thank you so much. 

[George Ellerbach] I got really interested right before the pandemic, fall 2019, started canning. Then the pandemic upended everything. Then I started doing pickles. 

[Claudette] George Ellerbach. 

[George] I had 152 this year. All water bath categories. Pickles, relishes, jams, jellies, conserves, preserves, butters, marmalades. I think we said, "we're all sticky all summer." 

[Judge 2] First place is going to Rod Zeitler. It's perfect. The taste is wonderful. 

[Rod Zeitler] I have 179 canning entries. 

[Judge 2] Canning is art. You're the epitome of that, so thank you. 

[Rod] I started out sort of slow. Then in terms of number of entries, that accelerated. It's almost out of hand now. 

[Claudette] First place is going to go to Michelle Westphal. Michelle? You're what? You're shocked? 

[Michelle] Well, I won kosher dill whole. 

[Claudette] This is one of the most complete exhibits I've seen for a long time. Everything was here. The texture was wonderful. Nice and crisp. But the flavor is just excellent. So congratulations. You've got a first prize winner. 

[Michelle] I have an aunt in Minnesota, my Aunt Fern, who made the best bread and butter pickles and refrigerator pickles. She was the pickler. She's no longer with us, but I hope I've done her proud. 

[Frank Rankin] I've got a pie filling. Apple pie. Got some cherry. I've got a cherry tree. Got apple jelly, grape jelly, coffee jelly, and a corn cob jelly. In my whole life, I've never done anything like that. Now my mom did. We were born and raised in Bedford, Iowa. A little old farm. So my mama, she had to can things. 

[Judge 1] I'd be proud to take any of these jars home. They were all very, very good. 

[Frank] This is a fun deal. It shows what you can do with things, you know. Just be creative. I expect there's a lot of people that do that, you know, creative stuff. 

[Blair Ryan] Here at the Iowa State Fair, a few things are guaranteed. Big fun, big food, big blue ribbons, and big animals. 

So who is this? And how did they get so big? 

[Abby Willson] His name is Rascal. And he just eats a lot of corn. He likes corn. 

[Blair] When did you know that this particular sheep was going to be enormous? 

[Abby] I got him a couple of years ago, and he just kept putting on weight. Then I thought that he would be the one to bring to the fair. 

[Blair] How much total in a day? 

[Abby] Probably 15 pounds of grain. And a quarter bale of hay. 

[Blair] If you had to eat Rascal's breakfast, how long would it take you? 

[Abby] Oh, forever. 

[Don Hummel] Nothing other than just weight. People will enter the rams ahead of time and bring them in. Then we'll go weigh them. And the biggest ram is the champion ram. 

[Blair] Who is responsible for this fine, large animal? 

[Carson Hoff] I am. 

[Blair] How did you get here today for the big sheep competition? 

[David Hoff] We had one a few years back, his dad, he was about 400. We ended up fourth that year. So he ain't quite there yet, but we're just going to have fun doing it. 

[Blair] Who is the big guy behind you today? 

[Jack Theobald] His name's Big Joe. 

[Blair] What goes into taking care of Big Joe? How did you get Big Joe so big?

[Jack] I gave him cake mix. Nursery feed. 

[Contest Emcee] Here's Big Joe. He's a 4 1/2-year-old by Jack and Jesse Theobald of Muscatine. Their farm name is Pork 360. 

[Blair] Tell me who you have here, your big animal. 

[Wilbur Kehrli] How do you pronounce that? 

[Blair] Sasquatch? 

[Wilbur] Yes. My son named him and that's his name. 

[Blair] If he had to run the State Fair 5K, how far do you think Sasquatch would make it? 

[Wilbur] It would take a little time, but he would make because he is good on his feet. 

[Blair] What is this event? 

[John Putney] Well, this is the Super Bull contest. I believe it's the 41st one. You know, it's become quite an event as you can see. All the people that are here already. 

[Contest Emcee] Here comes Mean Gene.

[John] Which it's just kind of a tradition at the state fair. 

[Emcee] 2,762 pounds. 

[John] My family had the first super bull 42 years ago. Subsequently we had, I don't know, five, six years ago, another super bull. He weighed about 2,900. Tonight we may see some larger than that. 

[John as Emcee] Mean Gene weighs 3,060 pounds. 

[Blair] What have we learned? Cake mix, grain, and really, any other snacks you have lying around the house are the key to raising a big animal if you want to be a big winner next year at the Iowa State Fair. 

[Hannah Frahm] I am showing sheep at the Iowa State Fair. 

[Paul Yeager] What do you have? Who are these two? 

[Hannah] This is Rosie and this is Ebony. 

[Paul] What kind of sheep are they?

[Hannah] Blackfaces. 

[Paul] My understanding, it's your first time showing?

[Hannah] Yes.

[Paul] What do you think of this whole state fair experience? 

[Hannah] It's pretty interesting. 

[Paul] Why? 

[Hannah] Everything. The hurry up and wait aspect. 

[Paul] What did you just do? We just watched you wash. Why do you have to that do that? 

[Hannah] To keep them nice and clean and get their legs fluffed up for the show. 

[Kendal Pugh] Make them all pretty, get them all cleaned up for the show so the judge likes them. 

[Paul] What makes a good show animal? 

[Kendal] Well, really, it's all leading up to what you feed them, how much you work with them. Exercise is pretty big. Also depends a lot on genetics and what kind of strand you're using for your DNA. 

[Paul] What do you have here? 

[Kendal] I have a crossbreed of this Suffolk and Hampshire. 

[Paul] So in a breeding show, what are you hoping the judge is looking for? 

[Kendal] In a breeding show, you want to make sure that they're feminine. Especially for a breeding show. You want to separate market and breeding. So you want to make sure it looks like a female. It's pretty important that they have a really good ability to have lambs later on. So moving around the ring is important. They should be able to walk. Especially having wide hips so they can have lambs easier. 

[Paul] After all of that washing and prepping with your animal, it's time to get inside the waiting game before your name is called over the speaker. And it's time to go into the ring. 

Showing animals, it's kind of in your DNA. Your mom is showing here. What's it like to keep doing, we'll call it the family business? 

[Elsie McIntosh] I like keeping on growing our family farm, and doing new types of sheep. Like the Suffolk, the one I got grand champion with. It's my own Suffolk herd that we just started. Adding stuff on to our sheep herd. 

[Paul] Now, you're off your foot right now because you had knee surgery. What happened? 

[Elsie] I tore my meniscus in track. 

[Paul] That kind of impacts how you can show. How has that transition, rehab, gone? 

[Elsie] Pretty good. For most of the summer, my siblings have had to help do my sheep. I'm glad that they've been able to do stuff. Then I got out as soon as I could to help do my sheep and done what I can with my sheep. 

[Paul] Now, you already kind of spoiled it. You won. What did you win today? 

[Elsie] Grand Champion, Suffolk Breed Ewe. 

[Paul] Your mom has a picture of her last day of showing. You are a tiny little person. You don't remember that day. But what does it mean to come full circle from, like I asked you about, connecting families from another generation to another? 

[Elsie] I'm grateful that I get the chance to, like, show sheep and stuff. And kind of like a family tradition. Come to the state fair and show sheep. So I'm glad I get to do that, have the opportunity to do that. 

[Paul] Hanna, how did that experience go? 

[Hanna] It went really well, better than expected. That was a hard class. 

[Paul] It was a hard class. Is that what you expected? 

[Hanna] Yeah. But there were some good lambs in there. 

♪♪ ♪♪ 

[Bill Riley] State fair time is unique opportunity to show off your talents. Folks just like you take part every day. Let's check out the results. 

Vegetable Pickles - Mild to Medium Peppers

  • 1st Place - George Ellerback, Iowa City
  • 2nd Place - Martha Kunkle, Carlisle
  • 3rd Place - George Antolik, Urbandale

Fruit Pickles - Spiced Peaches

  • 1st Place - Jacqueline Riekena, West Des Moines
  • 2nd Place - Rod Zeitler, Iowa City
  • 3rd Place - George Ellerbach, Iowa City

Fine Art - Youth Drawing

  • 1st Place - Ashlan Pearson, Ankeny
  • 2nd Place - Lydia Lee, Ankeny
  • 3rd Place - Elijah Roth, Norwalk

Fine Art - Youth Painting

  • 1st Place - Emma Fust, Prairie City
  • 2nd Place - Emma Fust, Prairie City
  • 3rd Place - Emily Godnai, Altoona

Fine Art - Youth 3-Dimensional

  • 1st Place - Kenton Niehouse, Marshalltown
  • 2nd Place - Kenton Niehouse, Marshalltown
  • 3rd Place - Lily Capon, Des Moines

Fine Art - Youth Other

  • 1st Place - Eliza Gagen, Des Moines
  • 2nd Place - Emma Anderson, Ankeny
  • 3rd Place - Sydney Nickelson, Indianola

Oenology - Wine

  • Best of Show, Grape Wines - Donald Priebe, Mason City
  • Best of Show, Non-Grape Wines - Grand Vine, Newton

Oenology - Wine, Dry Red

  • 1st Place - Ken Reimer, Elkader
  • 2nd Place - Bob Siegle, Burlington
  • 3rd Place - Ken Reimer, Elkader

Oenology - Wine, Dry White

  • 1st Place - Ken Reimer, Elkader
  • 2nd Place - William Witt, Burlington
  • 3rd Place - Ken Reimer, Elkader

Oenology - Wine, Sweet Red

  • 1st Place - Mary Hackman, Mason City
  • 2nd Place - Donald Priebe, Mason City
  • 3rd Place - Thomas Walddschmidt, Mason City

Oenology - Wine, Sweet White

  • 1st Place - William Witt, West Burlington
  • 2nd Place - Bob Siegle, Burlington
  • 3rd Place - William Witt, West Burlington

Backgammon - More Experienced

  • 1st Place - Jim Peterson, Pleasant Hill
  • 2nd Place - A. J. Duchene, Norwalk
  • 3rd Place - Kosta Lekkos, Urbandale

Backgammon - Less Experienced

  • 1st Place - Dan Pomeroy, Coon Rapids
  • 2nd Place - Jared Waddle, Waterloo
  • 3rd Place - Jeff Stangl, Papillion, NE

It's time for a very short break, but when we come back, we will delight in the floral abundance in the ag building. We'll see some sophisticated problem solving at the FFA Agriculture Mechanics and Technology Show. And we'll learn about what was happening with the fair after it returned after World War II. Stick around for more state fair fun on Iowa PBS. 

The Riley stage was the place to be for talent today. Here are the performers advancing. Nice job, everyone. 

Sprouts Semifinalists

  • Reese Freml, 9, Johnston, Tap Solo
  • Brighton Greim, 11, Davenport, Musical Theater Vocal
  • Katelynn Larson, 13, West Des Moines, Lyrical/Contemporary Dance Solo
  • Maria Steinkamp, 5, Wall Lake, Vocal Solo
  • Madison Veach, 11, Norwalk, Lyrical/Contemporary Dance Solo

Senior Finalists

  • Nelley Pelzer, 14, James Brown, 17, Kylie Templeton, 16, Drayce Moore, 16, Atlantic, Clogging Dance Quartet
  • Aniyah Schabilion, 16, Davenport, Hip-Hop/Acro Solo
  • Brooklyn Frantz, 17, Walcott, Tap Dance
  • Elle Clark, 18, Humboldt, Vocal Solo
  • Riah Schrage, 15, Grundy Center, Vocal and Piano Solo

Don't forget, we'll bring you the talent championships here on Iowa PBS Sunday, August 20, 8:00 pm. Welcome back, everyone, to our second night of fair 2023. 

We're so happy to be here every night this week to bring you a full hour of state fair highlights. The fun continues tonight with the FFA Ag Mechanics and Technology Show. It's a great opportunity for young people to display their knowledge and their skills. Brooke Kohlsdorf tells us more. 

[Brooke] We're here at the state fair's FFA Ag Mechanics and Technology Show where students from all over the state have brought their entries for judging. Let's take a look. 

[Carlton Ness] This event is our ag mechanics contest. This is an event for students to be able to show off their ag mechanics projects ranging from restored tractors, farm equipment, welding projects, woodworking and computer design projects. We have 115 entries this year, up from previous years. We have 105 exhibitors ranging from 36 schools. 

[Brooke] Tell us about your entry. 

[Caleb Mader] This is my John Deere X-485 that I worked on with the Nevada FFA. It wasn't in very good condition, so it got new parts for it and whatnot. Then we started using it around the school. 

[Brooke] Did you know already a lot about this? 

[Caleb] No, this was something new to me. Yeah, I learned a bunch with it. 

[Carlton] It's really interesting. These kids have really innovative ideas. They're doing a lot of cool stuff in their school shop programs. Every year there's new things that come. It's been really exciting this year. A lot of neat projects kids have brought. 

[Jack Englin] I made a welding table out of an old hog waterer that had been sitting around our family shop for a couple of years. I also made a plasma cutting grate to cut through anything you needed to before you wanted to weld it back together. 

[Brooke] What did you learn putting it together, bringing it here? 

[Jack] This is galvanized steel and it's harder to weld on. I had to ventilate it, and the splatter was a lot more. That was overcoming that challenge. Then probably the wiring that I did down here. That was probably the most time out of anything. 

[Brooke] Tell me about this entry that we're sitting on. 

[Calleigh Vander Wilt] So this is a table that I built, mostly by myself, but my dad helped me a little bit, to put somewhere in our yard that we're going to set a fire pit next to. Have a nice outdoor sitting area. I like working with my hands. My dad's always been pretty good at it. He just kind of helped me. 

[Brooke] What's this behind us?

[Nathan Kroeger] This would be a family heirloom tractor. My great great uncle bought it new in 1947. 

[Brooke] How long did it take? This is beautiful. 

[Nathan] There's probably a little over 500 hours I worked on it steadily every weekend since last September, off and on. Not a lot of people have opportunity to bring it to the fair and have this good experience with the FFA program, having this tractor division. That motivated me because I'm able to talk to many people down here that know lots about this tractor. It was very much of a communication project, even. By calling people who knew people who knew parts. They're always willing to help you. Being an FFA project, they know you want to learn. They know you're trying to build your skill level. Relying on people, making phone calls was a lot of the skills I used in completing this project. 

[Carlton] It's just a great opportunity for kids to show what they're learning in their classrooms. This is kind of the opportunity for the public to see all the hard work these kids have put in over the last school year. So this is a great example of all the great things that ag education is doing in Iowa. 

[Charity Nebbe] A beautiful garden has sprung up in the agriculture building for the FFA Floriculture Competition. All of these flowers have been grown, cut, and exhibited by high school students from across the state. Tell me a little bit about the competition. 

[Alan Spencer] FFA members across Iowa, we have many kids out here who raise flowers. And some of them, they raise in school, some of them they raise at home in their gardens. We have a huge variety to allow the students to be able to show the versatility of what they can raise. But it's really fun for the kids. We probably have, I don't even know, we probably have over 600 that are being exhibited today, I would think. 

[Charity] Well, and things have been really busy here this morning. Tell me a little bit about the chaos of checking in, getting all these flowers distributed. 

[Alan] We have some kids that travel from all parts of the state to be able to bring everything. We had so many students this morning at all the different tables. It was a constant flow of students putting the tags on, trying to get them set up right. And it really was intense this morning, because you got to witness when I was kind of moving around, trying to put out every fire. It's a great opportunity to see how quickly these kids can put stuff in. They really only had from 7:00 to 10:00 to put all these things in. 

[Charity] This is your second year entering this competition. How many entries do you have? 

[Chloe Zittergruen] So for my second year, I have roughly 57 entries. 

[Charity] 57? Wow. 

[Chloe] 57. So I'm really hoping for the dahlias again. We've got really good contenders. There's some really, really good competition here, just like there is about every year. 

[Charity] What's the most stressful part of this process for you? 

[Selena Killham] In floriculture? 

[Charity] Yeah. 

[Selena] The tags. 

[Charity] Why? 

[Selena] Filling out the tags and knowing the division and the variety you're in. That's tough. 

[Charity] And what makes you want to be a part of this? 

[Selena] My mom's really into gardening. She has her own greenhouse. She grows vegetables. I help out there. So I'm also interested in flowers, and I actually want to be an ag teacher. So this is actually a good thing for me to get into and learn about. 

[Charity] Well, I can imagine it's incredibly challenging to judge so many entries. How do you do it? 

[Andy Tygrett] You got to stay consistent. I mean, you got to be able to look at quality. Make a real fast decision. And consider all factors. The main thing you got to look at is uniformity. Freshness. That's just different things we look for. 

[Alan] People should come by and see this. Because later today, we'll have everything set up with all the ribbons. And it's going to look awesome. 


[Bill Riley] Our great state fair was canceled during World War II. When it returned in 1946, America had changed and it was an exciting time in Iowa. 

[Leo Landis] All heck breaks loose because A, it's the centennial of the state year, but also, we are now at peace. The musical "State Fair" is released that year too. 

[Bill] Rodgers and Hammerstein won an Academy Award for the musical adaptation of Phil Stong's novel "State Fair." 

♪ Our state fair is a great state fair ♪ 
♪ Don't miss it don't even delay ♪ 

[Leo] There's excitement and there's also, again, transformation. You haul your livestock not by train, but you might take them on your own in a truck to Des Moines to exhibit at the State Fair. More and more farm families are finding leisure time because they're starting to specialize a little bit more. You've got electricity in your farmhouse. 

[Reporter] We take you now to the Iowa State Fair, a great fair celebrating the centennial of a great state. 

[Bill] With electricity came radio and a connection to the outside world. The media began to play a bigger and bigger role at the fair. 

[Reporter] The midway is packed with activity.

[Bill] My dad had a hand in bringing a new and even more powerful medium to the 1946 state fair. 

[Bill Riley Sr.] We brought television to Iowa for the first time. We had the International Harvester tent. It was a great, big, beautiful tent right by the Varied Industries Building, just south. And inside the tent were television sets. Big consoles with about a 9-inch black-and-white screen. So the people would come in, they'd look at the television said, "Miracle." We'd never seen television. 

[Bill] 200,000 people went through the International Harvester tent that year. 1954 was another big year. It was the 100th anniversary of the state fair, and they celebrated with a horse caravan. More than 500 people made the trip from Fairfield to Des Moines on horseback and in covered wagons, camping along the way. 

[Mark Shafer] And for the whole town basically to put on their buckskins and bonnets and hit the road with the horses and buggies.

[Mike Carlson] It was extremely hot. One of the few things I remember is the clackety-clack of the horses because there were hundreds of horses. 

[Bill] A crowd gathered in the grandstand to honor the wagon train's arrival, officially opening the 1954 state fair. Throngs of people, unprecedented media attention, an Academy Award-winning musical. The Iowa State Fair had found its place in the national spotlight. 

And now for the answer to tonight's trivia question. Where are the fair's time capsules located? And when are they to be opened? The time capsules are located to the east and west of the Anne and Bill Riley Stage. The first time capsule was buried to mark the fair's 100th birthday in 1954, and it's slated to be opened in 2054. The other, buried in 1986, to commemorate the 100th birthday of the fair's current location. It will be opened in 2086. Hm, I wonder what's inside?

Well, our next segment, it's another way of looking towards the future of our state. It's "Little hands on the farm." 

♪♪ ♪♪ 

[Monica Friday] Little Hands on the Farm teaches kids that agriculture is part of their life. The food that they go to the grocery store and eat is actually grown on farms. And a lot of that is grown on Iowa farms. 

[Alana Knutson] It's where you get to experience how to be a farmer. 

[Producer] What is it like being a farmer? 

[Alana] It's dirty work. Because you have to milk cows, you have to take care of pigs. And you have to do a lot of things like pick apples and get all the fruit and vegetables. 

[Monica] There are 12 different interactive stations, from the pig barn to the garden to the grain bin, chickens where they get to gather things, then they get to sell that at the market. They get a dollar that they can go in and purchase something at the store. 

[Producer] What did you win? 

[Lytt Pienta] A super tomato. 

Double rake. Tomatoes. Tomatoes. Bury the tomatoes. It's going to be very hard for the super tomato to grow if it doesn't have all the dirt in the world. My super tomato's going to be 15 million tons at the least. Whoosh, whoosh! You need a lot of water to make solid gold. 

♪♪ ♪♪ 

[Braelyn Knutson] It's very fun to milk the cows and get eggs from the chickens. You get to see how it works and how farmers actually do it. 

[Producer] Do you think farming is hard work?

[Braelyn] Yes. 

[Child] I don't know if I can -- this might be hard. Argghh! 

[Alexa Kajewski] What I like about it is going into the cow -- the barn full of cows. I've never actually milked a cow before, but I've seen cows because we have friends, our parents have friends that have cows. The utters feel so realistic, you feel like you're actually milking a cow. 

[Monica] It's a really good family activity. This is a great place for parents or grandparents to bring their kids. It's fenced in, relaxed atmosphere. Everything is for the kids so there's nothing they can hurt. It's a very safe area, and they're getting educated on agriculture. 

[Alexa] We were here last year and this year, and we're going to be back next year. 

[Travis Graven] Cock-a-doodle-do! I don't think I'm going to be winning state fair blue ribbons, but lucky for us, we have real competitors inside Pioneer Hall to show us how it's done. Let's head inside to listen to the Youth Rooster Crowing and Ladies Chicken Calling contests. 

[Emcee] One, two, three! 

[Children] Cock-a-doodle-do!

(Children making rooster crowing sounds)

[Travis] Were you nervous to enter a competition at the state fair? 

[Child 1] No, I did this last year. 

[Travis] Oh, so you're an expert rooster crower? 

[Child 1] Yeah. Kind of. Pretty much. 

(Women calling and impersonating chicken sounds)

[Travis] Co-winners of Ladies Chicken Calling Contest. How did you learn this talent? 

[Kristen Massa] Last year we came on a whim. I thought it would be fun. Now it's a tradition for us. I actually learned from watching PBS on YouTube. From previous chicken calling contests. 

[Travis] How about you? 

[Cala McGregor] I grew up on a farm. I've been talking to my chickens since I was 8. 

[Travis] You have practice, then. 

[Cala] Yes, lots of practice. 

[Bill Riley] From the Knapp Stage, Blake Guyre treats us to the talent and showmanship of Billy Joel and Elton John. Take it away, Blake! 

♪♪ ♪♪ 

♪ I remember when rock was young ♪ 
♪ Me and Susie had so much fun ♪ 
♪ Holding hands and skimming stones ♪ 
♪ Had an old Chevy and a place of my own ♪ 
♪ But the biggest kick I ever got ♪ 
♪ Was doing a thing called the Crocodile Rock ♪ 
♪ While the other kids were rocking down the clock ♪ 
♪ We were hopping and bopping to the Crocodile Rock ♪ 

♪ When your feet just can't keep still ♪ 
♪ Never knew me a better time and I guess I never will ♪ 
♪ Oh, lawdy mama those Friday nights 
When Susie wore her dresses tight ♪ 
♪ And the Crocodile rocking was out of sight ♪

Let me hear ya.

[Crowd] ♪ Laa, la-la-la-la-laa ♪
♪ La-la-la-la-laa ♪
♪ La-la-la-la-laa ♪

♪ Well the years went by and rock just died ♪ 
♪ Susie went and left us for some foreign guy ♪ 
♪ Long nights crying by the record machine ♪ 
♪ Dreaming of my Chevy and my old blue jeans ♪ 

♪ Never killed the thrill we got ♪ 
♪ Burning up to the Crocodile Rock ♪ 
♪ Going fast as the weeks Wil went past ♪ 
♪ Really thought the Crocodile Rock would last ♪ 

♪ When your feet just can't keep still ♪ 
♪ I never knew me a better time and I guess I never will ♪ 
♪ Mama those Friday nights when Susie wore her dresses tight ♪ 
♪ Rocking out of sight ♪ 


[Bill Riley] And that wraps up our coverage for tonight. We'll be back with you tomorrow night for the rest of the week. In the meantime, we've got state fair fun ready for you whenever you want it. There are several ways to engage with us as we celebrate fairs past and present. On our website and our YouTube channel, in addition to Facebook and Instagram. Make sure you check it out any time, anywhere. Back at the studio, hey, they're already working hard on tomorrow night's show. And we've got some fun and excitement in store for you. 

First, you'll want to hold on tight for monster arm wrestling. Then let it all go and enjoy some sweet sounds up at Pioneer Hall. And of course, it wouldn't be the fair without the Butter Cow. It's such a thrill for us to bring you all the traditions you look forward to and some new events, too. We can't wait to see you again tomorrow night for more highlights from the amazing, the incredible, the glorious Iowa State Fair. Right here on Iowa PBS. Until then, I'm Bill Riley. Remember, have fun at the fair. 

♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ ♪♪ 

(Fair 2023 Credits Roll)

  • Host - Bill Riley
  • Executive Producer - Cameron McCoy
  • Producer - Theresa Knight
  • Editors/Production Assistants - Julie Knutson, Sean Ingrassia
  • Segment Producers - Judy Blank, Patrick Boberg, Dan Bolsem, Laurel Bower, Tyler Brinegar, Josh Buettner, Andrea Coyle, Travis Graven, Deb Herbold, Emily Kestel, Colleen Krantz, David Miller, John Torpy, Peter Tubbs, Paul Yeager
  • Videographers - Matt Clark, Darrin Clouse, Scott Faine, Eric Gooden, Kenny Knutson, Adam Welch
  • Editors - Neal Kyer, Kevin Rivers
  • Audio - David Feingold, Sean Ingrassia
  • Technical Director - Neal Kyer
  • Camera - Melanie Campbell, Sarah Currier, Joshua Woolcott
  • Engineer in Charge - Kevin Rivers
  • Field Reporters - Abby Brown, Travis Graven, Brooke Kohlsdorf, Dana Lain, Charity Nebbe, Blair Ryan, Aaron Steil, Paul Yeager
  • Motion Graphics - Brent Willett
  • Production Assistance - Tiffany Clouse
  • Production Supervisor - Chad Aubrey
  • Graphics - Kate Bloomburg, Joe Bustad
  • Creative Director - Alisa Dodge
  • Digital Team - Danny Engesser, Abby Friedmeyer, Randy Garza, Bryon Houlgrave, Emily Peterson
  • Communications Team - Caryline Clark, Matt Clark, Bo Dodge, Laura Noehren, Hayley Schaefer, Dan Wardell
  • Communications Manager - Sarah Lewis
  • Engagement Manager - Caryliine Clark
  • Programming & Operations Manager - Matthew McPike
  • Director of Communications - Susan Ramsey
  • Director of Emerging Media - Taylor Shore
  • Director of Programming & Production - Andrew Batt
  • Executive Director & General Manager - Molly Phillips

[Announcer] Funding for Fair 2023 is brought to you by Friends, the Iowa PBS Foundation. And by,

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