Fair 2023 – Wednesday, August 16

Fair | Episode
Aug 16, 2023 | 54 min

Fair Highlights for Wednesday, August 16, 2023 include:

  • Kids Chef Baking Championship
  • Monster Arm Wrestling
  • Fair Prep - Pork Tent
  • RoboCars
  • Butter Cow
  • Bonsai Show
  • Banjo, Guitar & Mandolin Competition
  • Photography Salon
  • Activated Graphic Fair Murals
  • FFA Parade of Champions
  • Son Peruchos Part 1


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

[Announcer] For more than 110 years, EMC Insurance companies have served policyholders, independent agents, and local communities. Providing insurance products for both business and life. Count on EMC. My name is Cara Hayden. 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 what they think and what they do matters. (music)

[Announcer] Iowa PBS presents Fair 2023. Here is your host, Bill Riley. 

Hi, I'm Bill Riley. Welcome back to our third night of Iowa State Fair highlights. When the fair was founded in 1854, it was strictly educational and dedicated to improving agriculture. Nowadays we have many ways to enjoy ourselves, but that spirit of self-improvement, it's still very much alive at the Iowa State Fair today. It's on display with these hard-working FFA champions. It's apparent in the competitiveness and intensity of monster arm wrestling. And you'll see it in the history and artistry of butter sculpting. We'll find out what Sarah Pratt has whipped up for 2023. Our determination and capability is something we Iowans should really be proud of. We're going to kick off our show tonight with some young bakers competing for a blue ribbon. Charity Nebbe has all the details.

[Judge] One, two, three, four. Is Phil judging?

[Charity Nebbe] Throughout the Iowa State Fair, Iowa's best home cooks come to the Elwell Family Food Center to compete for that coveted blue ribbon. Many of these cooks have been cooking for decades, but the competitors we're going to meet today have a little less time under their belts. We are at the kids Chef Baking Championships, and these kids are suited up and ready to go. 

[Male Speaker] So we started this program last year as a way to recognize kids that are here in Iowa who have a passion for cooking. And just need a platform in order to shine. And that's what we're here to do today. 

[Charity] This is your first time entering this competition. What made you want to enter?

[Arden Fortney, Des Moines] Well, a lot of family members and people that I know that are friends of my mom's always loved entering the Iowa State Fair. So I've gotten real interested in it the past couple of years. But this year I finally got in, too.

[Charity] What did you make for the competition?

[Arden] I made a Banana Butterscotch Cream Pie.

[Volunteer] We'll see how you cook pie.

[Judge] Holy moly. 

[Charity] Tell me what you made for this competition

[Emery Nordhagen, Ankeny]. I made a chocolate cake with vanilla frosting.

[Charity] Very nice. Classic combination. I've heard there's a secret ingredient in your cake?

[Emery] It's just coffee.

[Charity] It's coffee. Why coffee?

[Emery] Because it makes it really moist. And it makes it really chewy.

[Charity] Nice. Do you like the taste of coffee?

[Emery] No.

[Charity] No?

[Nash Roe, Nash's Confections] Last year, I got to be on Food Network's Kids Baking Championship, which was the best experience of my life. I can't wait to try your desserts.

[Nash] My family has always been super involved in the fair, and I felt it was a good thing to keep going with it. Last year was my first year. When Phil asked me to come back and judge and other people have asked me to judge, I thought it would be the perfect way to repay my community, I guess.

[Charity] The judges have been trying your cake.

[Emery] Yeah.

[Charity] And you've been watching them try your cake.

[Emery] Uh-huh.

[Charity] What does that feel like?

[Emery] It's nerve-racking. Because I don't know what they're saying at all. So, yeah.

[Charity] You've been watching people eat your pie. What does that feel like?

[Arden] I'm so far really pleased with myself. Because everyone I've watched has finished all of it and is, like, kind of nodding and giving it a smile. 

[Charity] So what do you hope the kids that enter this contest take away from this experience?

[Dianna Sheehy, Judge] To keep on trying. It's experience. And they enjoy it, and they want to keep doing it. Keep doing it. It's all practice.

[Charity] You really dressed the part today. I love your baking outfit. Do you wear your baking outfit when you bake at home?

[Sammi Riley, Urbandale] Yeah.

[Charity] Yeah? That's nice. What's your favorite thing about baking?

[Sammi] I just like it because it... I like to bake with my family. And it's just really fun for me. And I get to use my creativity.

[Charity] Thank you so much. There are a lot of brave and talented young bakers here today, and in my book, they are all winners. They also make me think I need to brush up on my skills a little bit.

[Dana Lain] Strength, courage, and grit all come together for Monster Arm Wrestling. What's on the line? Trophies and bragging rights.

[Judge] Two, one, wrestle! 

[Jason Krough, Head Referee] First you want to sit down at the table, get yourself centered on the table. Position your elbow on the pad first. Then you place your hand on the grip. You get your lock set in, grab the peg to hold yourself in position. So it's a three-minute match. To win the match you've got to keep advantage, 30 seconds out of the minute to your side. Each point is counted towards the match. If you win 2 points out of the 3, you win. Or, if somebody pins. Keep your elbows on the pad, seats in the seat, and your hands on the pegs at all time. 

[Lee Ann Krough, "Mother Monster"] You have to want to more than the other person. We'll show you the technique, you have to have the want to. 

[Lee Ann] It's probably 50/50. We've got a lot of guys. We've got Randy McClure, he wrestled 40 years ago. Johnny Johnson. They're from the old-school. We've got some guys that have never done it before, maybe two tournaments, and they're here today because they're going to see if they can get it done. 

[Timer] 45 seconds.

[Judge 1] 45 seconds. 

[Crowd counting down] Two, One

[Competitor] Good Match 

[Judge 2] Shake hands.

[Judge 3] Three, Two, One Wrestle! 

[Judge 4] We have a winner right here. 

[Judge] Three, Two, One Wrestle. 

[Dana] There are dozens of competitions here at the Iowa State Fair. You can walk right up and sign up the day of. And sometimes you'll get a participation ribbon, and sometimes you'll take home the trophy.

[Narrator] Hog farming in Iowa has always had a large impact on the economy of the state. But prior to the 1980s, that impact wasn't always obvious.

[Narrator 2] We're looking at the one bright spot in Iowa agriculture, and that's the pork industry. The area where we see a profit now.

[Narrator 1] For the Iowa pork producers, one of the clearest ways to showcase pork production, connect with consumers, and demonstrate the impact the industry has on the state is by firing up the grill each year at the Iowa State Fair.

[Morgan Halgren] You know, day after day, year after year at the state fair, long lines form at the pork tent. Come on let's go inside and see what's cooking.

[Doug Rice, Pork Tent Chairman] In the early '80s, '81 is when the first pork tent actually came. And it was actually a tent. Back then, there was no pork at the fair. And they wanted to promote pork. We needed more pork in the fair. And so then '87, the late '80s is when they actually put up a permanent structure which everybody that's come to the fair would recognize, right?

[Narrator 1] The pork tent is as much a part of the state fairgrounds as the agriculture building and grandfather's barn, and it continues to be an annual must-visit location for a great number of fairgoers.

[Fairgoer] And I'm going to do it for a pork chop. That's how sincere I am. And I'm all the way from Kansas to do it. In its 40-plus-year history, the tent has provided more than 2.25 million servings of pork. Including more than 500,000 Iowa chops.

[Man] It is like putting a puzzle together.

[Scott Siepker] One of the most-desired photo ops of any president or presidential candidate is right here at the Iowa pork producers tent.

[Man] You have done this before.

[Narrator 1] The grill is maybe just as popular as the pork tent itself. Thousands of chops have been prepared by a wide range of guest chefs. You never know who might show up to flip chops for a few hours.

[Doug] Since Ronald Reagan was president, we've had every president been here at the pork tent for a chop on a stick. So we're pretty famous.

[Narrator 1] With the thousands of people who come to sample the foods, it became clear the pork tent building needed an update. A larger kitchen, more seating, and a front and center grill. Following the 2022 fair, the pork producers broke ground for a new structure.

[Doug] Yeah, so we've been - this is a five-year project for us. It is our new pork tent that's coming this year at the fair. It's getting old. We want to kind of update. We'll have a wide-open seating arrangement here. With our doors up we'll have some patio seating on the outside. Plenty of spaces to sit with your family. So basically, the footing actually doubled the seating area a little bit. But it's going to be a lot more user-friendly, family-oriented in there.

[Narrator 1] Doug has spent his whole life watching the pork tent evolve. It not only serves as a promotional venue but also contributes to the festive atmosphere of the fair. It may be a new building, but the tent is still first and foremost about Iowa pork.

[Bill Riley] Okay, everyone. After that feature, it has me thinking of pork. So tonight's trivia question is -- how many pork chops are sold over the course of the fair? Just take a guess. We'll have the answer later in the show. Surprises converge on the fairgrounds every year. You just never know what you're going to find. Up next, Brooke Kohlsdorf introduces us to a rolling attraction that's more than meets the eye. 

[Brooke] This is one of the strolling acts at the Iowa State Fair. As you can see. Tell us a little bit about it.

[Jeremiah Trippett, "Dino Drive"] So as you see, we do morph or change, from a car into a robot form. We are entertainment, we like to drive around, take pictures, We like to high-five. We dance. We do anything to create memorable events for people at the fair, kids and adults alike. 

[Brooke] Walk us through all of the parts.

[Jeremiah] Okay, so what we have here at the bottom is what's considered boots. This is essential to the suit because it helps us drive around. We have to make sure every part of it from the bottom to the ankle to the calf almost always to the high knee is secure so we're able to drive. Next the axle, another controlling part of the suit where you turn left, turn right. Sometimes do doughnuts, do different tricks that amaze the crowds.

[Brooke] Just like that.

[Jeremiah] Right. In here we have the hood, which allows us to actually shift and morph into the car. Go down and go up. Always try to do safety before entertainment. So we usually put our hoods up so we make sure there's no kids around us, before they run up. so when we drive no one gets hurt. 

[Man] That's awesome. 

[Brooke] If you're at the fairgrounds this year, keep an eye out for my two new friends. You never know what they might morph into.

[Bill] Tonight we're celebrating our great state fair by remembering the butter cow. The beloved and iconic symbol of the Iowa State Fair. The butter cow has been a feature of the fair since the early 1900s, but the tradition of creating figures out of butter goes back even further.

[Sarah Pratt, Butter Sculpture] There was a woman named Carolyn Shockbrooks that just started sculpting her butter to sell it. She was an artist by nature. She just loved sculpting. It just became quirky enough that she gained fame. And then she toured the world. Like, she became very famous in that sense.

[Bill] Other industries have used their products to make art, but nothing became as popular as the butter cow. And for lots of people, a visit to the fair, well, it's not complete until they've seen it.

[Host] We're in one of the freeze lockers at the Iowa State Fair with Mrs. Norma Lyon and the cow.

[Mrs. Norma Lyon] Yes, All 350 pounds of her.

[Host] You, I understand, make this butter cow every year for the fair?

[Norma] Yes, this is the 15th one I've made for Des Moines.

[Host] Why?

[Norma] Oh, I like to do it.

[Bill] For 46 years, Norma Lyons sculpted the butter cow at the Iowa State Fair. She also sculpted Elvis, American Gothic, and The Last Supper. Norma, also known as Duffy, was a Dairy Farmer and studied animal science and sculpture at Iowa State University.

[Norma] In '59, I saw a picture of the fellow just before me. I went in, and I can do better than that. And I didn't. I wasn't thinking about taking the job or anything. I was still raising my family. Then in '60, it was all my job.

[Sarah] Norma definitely emphasized the details. And very much wanted the butter cow to be the ideal show cow. If you marched the butter cow through the champion ring, it should win. She was very particular about all the anatomy that made a dairy cow good and strong and healthy.

[Norma] The heads are the hardest for me to do. And to get that eye just right is real painstaking. And I have to go outside and see what it looks like.

[Host] For the past six years, Duffy has had a willing butter-carving apprentice, Sarah Doyle. What do you like about butter sculpture?

[Sarah Doyle] I just like spending time with Norma. Learning about sculpting. I love art. It was a very gradual process, which I needed, because she would tell people, this is Sara, she's going to take over someday. I'd say, oh, no, no, no. So I think that she instinctively knew, would prove it to me little by little, giving me more responsibility. The last time the butter was replaced was 2005, which was her last year. So a lot of the butter, we've added to it. But a lot of the butter has been touched with her hands as well. I do feel like there's a part of the cow specifically that is nostalgic, that's somewhat unchanging. Even though it's a different cow each year. I really see that being parallel to what the fair is about and what we do, like in every quadrant of the fair. Celebrating the past, but bringing in what's new and good and exciting about Iowa now.

[Paul Yeager] Inside the agricultural building at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in the days before the fair can be a moderately busy place. This barn, for instance, is being created from the ground up. Other displays are being added. Soon we'll see food projects and horticulture and flowers. But it is what is inside here at the cooler that is a fair tradition for so many. It's seeing what Sarah Pratt has created in the Iowa State Fair butter cow.

[Sara] In talking with dairy farmers and looking at how cows have changed and how they've changed over the past 100 years, certainly, but even in the last in the way that they are promoting stronger, more muscular cows.

[Paul] But it's a Jersey?

[Sarah] It's a Jersey with maybe a little bit of Holstein characteristics. I'm told some farmers breed Jerseys and Holsteins. Jerseys traditionally have the highest percentage of milk fat. Holsteins produce typically the highest milk production. So together they're a powerhouse.

[Paul] Why the athletes this year?

[Sarah] Well, it really just started, of course, with the 100th anniversary of Jack Trice. Of course, Kurt Warner has been on the list for several years. I put him on the list before he was in the hall of fame. And kind of said, when he makes the hall of fame that would be a great thing to celebrate. Of course, Caitlin Clark is at the pinnacle of what she's doing, and we're just only going to see greater things from her. It seemed the perfect time to bring them all together.

[Paul] What has been a challenge this year with creating a football player, a basketball player, and another football player?

[Sarah] Well, it's gone really interesting. We have three windows to fill. And of course the cow filled an entire window. Then you have three large, tall, strong athletes to fill up. And there's two windows. So a lot of moving around of how to view the athletes from those windows so that they are in action. That was a challenge in making them show off their talent. One specific challenge about Caitlin Clark, trying to catch her in a pose. We're watching slow motion footage to try to catch that pose in action. She moves so fast.

[Paul] What type of photo do you like to see best from people when they're outside?

[Sarah] I love seeing people's photo where they have their whole family, generations. They have grandparents, they have the parents, they have the little kids, and they're all in a crowd. And, they are doing the selfie. Or, they convince someone behind them to take a picture. It's hard to take a photograph of the butter sculpture. You have a lot of glare in the window. It's really the interaction between the people coming and what they're seeing that brings me joy. 

[Bill] It takes a little courage to put yourself out there and enter a contest at the Iowa State Fair. Here are some fairgoers who went for it and won. 

Fiddlers Contest

  • Grand Champion - Kat Schmidt, Des Moines
  • Runner-Up Grand Champion - Bettie Swarts, Indianola

Fiddlers Contest - 50 and Over

  • Bettie Swarts, Indianola
  • Mike Bergman, West Des Moines
  • Leon Johnson, Mitchellville
  • Bruce Gardner, Madrid
  • Jerry Hand, Ames

Fiddlers Contest - Ages 18 to 49

  • Kat Schmidt, Des Moines
  • Lacey Partlow, Papillion, NE
  • Ben McClure, Des Moines
  • Elaina Steenson, Des Moines
  • Sam Alexander, Indianola

Fiddlers Contest - Ages 13 to 17

  • Ania Naso, Iowa City
  • Olivia Vaughn, Ankeny

Fiddlers Contest - Ages 12 and Under

  • Afton Fincham, Ankeny
  • Eleanor Guerra, Altoona
  • Grace Malanaphy, Ankeny
  • Nolan Knupp, Minburn
  • Kamsyn Grow, Bondurant

Big Pumpkin Contest

  • 1st Place - Don Young and Tommy Rhodes, Des Moines, 1,221 Pounds
  • 2nd Place - Pete and Alba Casper, Peosta, 1,195 Pounds
  • 3rd Place - Chad Meyer, Indianola, 584 Pounds

Oenology, Beer - Standard American

  • 1st Place - Nicholas Merfeld, Milo
  • 2nd Place - Randy Daniels and KC McKinney, Des Moines
  • 3rd Place - Richard Mueggenberg, Norwalk

Oenology, Beer - International and Czech Lager

  • 1st Place - Randy Daniels and KC McKinney, Des Moines
  • 2nd Place - Randy Daniels and KC McKinney, Des Moines
  • 3rd Place - Mark Flackenstein, North Liberty

Oenology, Beer - Pale Malty Euro Lager

  • 1st Place - Aaron Reif, Pleasant Hill
  • 2nd Place - John Tebockhorst, Washington
  • 3rd Place - Aaron Reif, Pleasant Hill

Oenology, Beer - Pale Bitter Euro Beer

  • 1st Place - Randy Daniels and KC McKinney, Des Moines
  • 2nd Place - Nicholas Wilkening, Urbandale
  • 3rd Place - Jeff Moyer, West Des Moines

Oenology, Beer - Kolsch

  • 1st Place - Aaron Reif, Pleasant Hill
  • 2nd Place - Roy Ventullo, Waverly
  • 3rd Place - Drew Templeton, Mitchellville

Oenology, Beer - Amber and Dark Euro Lager

  • 1st Place - Jason Cascio, Ames
  • 2nd Place - Drew Templeton, Mitchellville
  • 3rd Place - Aaron Reif, Pleasant Hill

Oenology, Beer - Wheat Beer

  • 1st Place - Victor Svecs, Clive
  • 2nd Place - Drew Templeton, Mitchellville
  • 3rd Place - Taylor Norland, Des Moines

Oenology, Beer - Scottish and Irish Ale

  • 1st Place - Aaron Reif, Pleasant Hill
  • 2nd Place - Michael McGuire, Polk City
  • 3rd Place - Scott Hunter, Des Moines

[Bill] We're going to take a quick break. When we come back, we've got a collection of creativity in store for you, including some lively tunes from Pioneer Hall. The harmony and artistry of bonsai. And the elegance of the photography exhibit. It's going to be a real treat, so stay tuned for more state fair fun on Iowa PBS. 

[Bill] Here's a look at the acts advancing after today's talent competition at the Riley stage. 

Sprouts Semifinalists

  • Brylee Merritt, 12, Onawa, Clogging Solo
  • Sophia Smith, 11, Lake City, Jazz Dance Solo
  • Briaunna Ackerman, 12, Ida Grove, Lyrical Solo
  • Harper Morris, 11, Manning, and Landon Burkhalter, 12, Harlan, Tap Dance Duet
  • Mya Burns, 12, Sioux City, Vocal Solo

Senior Semifinalists

  • McKenzie Lofgren, 21, Muscatine, Musical Theater Vocal Solo
  • Lake Schrage, 13, Grundy Center, Vocal and Guitar Solo
  • Claire Southard, 15, and Andre Johnson, 16, Des Moines, Contemporary Dance Duet
  • Ben Hemsworth, 21, and Gabe Hemsworth, 17, Mount Pleasant, Vocal and Instrument Duet
  • Britt Swanson, 18, Des Moines, Xylophone Solo

Be sure to tune in for the talent championships here on Iowa PBS, Sunday, August 20, at 8:00 p.m. 

Welcome back, everyone. I'm Bill Riley. Bonsai is an ancient horticultural practice that is captivating to watch. Aaron Steil is going to help us learn more about these living works of art.

[Aaron] It's often said that gardening is both an art and a science. And we definitely see that here at the Bonsai Show at the Iowa State Fair. 

[Aaron] Scott, what is bonsai, exactly?

[Scott Allen President, Iowa Bonsai Association] Bonsai is an art. But the definition just is, a tree in a pot. So any tree can be a bonsai. We put wire on the tree to allow training of branches. We use that wire to set the branches until we actually - the branch lignifies, and hardens off, then we can take the wire off. If you look at this tree really in-depth, you can see a lot of the branches have wire, but some of the branches don't. Because they set, and I can take the wire off of them. We'll do scissor work, and we'll actually come in and prune back at certain times of the year. Now what we do with bonsai to style bonsai varies by variety of tree.

[Aaron] You're judging the bonsai show here today. What are you looking for when you're judging?

[Julian Tsai, Los Angeles County California] Bonsai is a very kind of interesting multifaceted art. On the kind of surface aesthetic, we have this kind of living plant, and we can appreciate how it looks, different shapes and forms. Mainly for the scope of the show, I'm looking at three criteria. One, I like to call just kind of this base quality of the tree. We look at the trunk lines, the dead wood, the movement. It's kind of the intrinsic character of the tree. We can look one step beyond that, and we can see, well, how old is this tree as bonsai? So I look into the branches, which tell the history of how long the owner may have developed it, how many years of training it has underwent. That's another aspect that gives the tree kind of quality and age. Lastly, and because it's a show, we're looking at the composition. So we have like the stand, the pot, the accent pan which pairs with it. I look at these things together. Is the tree displayed well in its presentation? I kind of have a tier list between these three categories, and just with all those together, we can get a basis for how trees are judged.

[Hoodjer Family, Polk City] It's really amazing to see what kind of detail people put into this type of stuff. Very cool.

[Susan Daufeldt, Conroy] There's a woman that was in Iowa who was very, very active in rescuing trees when the Japanese were being interred during World War II. So this has been an Iowa art form for a long time. You can take trees that grow in the ground in Iowa, like a mulberry, and make a great bonsai out of it.

[Abby Brown] At Pioneer Hall, there are musicians competing on a whole range of stringed instruments, including banjos and fiddles. But today we're going to catch up with those playing guitar and mandolin. Let's go see if we can get some toes tapping. 

[Abby] How long has this contest been going on?

[David Bellegante, EMCEE for Guitar, Banjo & Mandolin] The mandolin, banjo, guitar, this is a 40th year for that.

[Abby] That's a lot of years. That's a pretty big deal.

[David] A lot of years, yes.

[Abby] What do you think about that?

[David] It's -- I've been here for I think all 40 of those years.

[Abby] Wow. 

[Abby] Those people like you and contests like this make the fair so special. What does that mean to you?

[David] It is special. Because a lot of these people, we only see once a year. They're from all over Iowa, they come in here for the contest. You know, it's like a little mini family reunion. (applause)

[Abby] Tell me about the rules of the contest.

[David] The rules are fairly simple. It's for the guitar, banjo, and mandolin, three tunes.

[Abby] Okay.

[David] Doesn't have to be a hoe down, waltz, or tune of choice like the fiddle contest. 

[Abby] What's it like to be on stage?

[Bill Sturtz Accompanist and EMCEE] It's full of surprises. It's very draining. Because it's not physical so much, but mental. (music)

[Abby] What are you going to be performing?

[David Green, Avoca] Well, old fiddle tunes, basically. Old-time fiddle tunes. Because that's what I learned to play when I was very young. My dad taught me old fiddle tunes because my grandfather was an old fiddle player.

[Abby] How's that work, a fiddle tune on a guitar?

[David G.] Right, exactly. They call it flat picking.

[Abby] Tell me about it.

[David G.] You pick the individual notes to the song.

[David Wayman, Judge - Des Moines] We're always looking for a winner that speaks very good into the mic and plays very clean music. The music is always played different by everybody. That same song can be played 20 different ways. If it's played the best way, they win. 

[Woman 1] It's like Iowa State Fair, best day ever.

[Woman 2] It's like animation. It's really cute.

[Andy Lashier, Lashier Graphics & Signs] Our company has done murals on buildings for several years now. But we came up with the idea that it would be great to look at what's the next generation of printed graphics and signage? And augmented reality and hybrid reality are just something that seemed really intriguing. Unfortunately, we didn't have those resources at our company to be able to do something like that. But the fair put us together with a company that did. And so we worked with Zirous, a West Des Moines company, to take our digital created file and create something that comes to life once you activate it. So we're calling this an activated graphic. All it takes is capturing a QR code. Doesn't capture any data from your phone or any information, doesn't require download of an app. It's basically allowing your phone's camera to hit a website, then it will activate the graphic, and the graphic will come to life.

[Man] There we go, yep. Oh, that's cool.

[Luke McDermott, Vaezr Studio - Zirous Inc.] A giant mural, obviously people love taking pictures in front of it. We thought, what a better way to introduce more people to augmented reality than to have an augmented reality activated picture? On our side, what we do is go through a design process where we brainstorm, we get just a bunch of ideas out there to think of, what visuals might we want to bring to it? What are we working with? Then we've got a large - I think it was a quarter-scale proof from Lashier to really start testing our designs on. But what to animate really came from the digital design itself. We have a lot of Iowa traditional factors. We said, bring those out, make those front and center. Really bring those to life so that people can feel like it's part of their culture.

[Mary Funk, West Des Moines] It was great. It was like a 3D thing. It had additional language, like Best Days Ever that popped out, looked like sparklers. Some of the foreground crops came out at you as well.

[Henry Funk, West Des Moines] To me it reminded me of one of those snapshot filters.

[State Fair Queens] Thank you.

[Woman 3] That's so cool.

[Woman 4] Okay, I've got one live and one non-live.

[Woman 5] That is so cool.

[Woman 6] Yeah, isn't that cute?

[Andy] One of the toughest things in our business is freshness. That when we put up a vinyl or a material on a wall, it's usually staying for a while. Because people have made an investment in that. But after a while, people start -- it starts blending into the surroundings. People don't notice it as much. What activation allows us to do is actually change the image that happens in the background. So while in real life the image doesn't change, what it does when you hold your phone up to it and eventually your glasses, it can change daily, it can change hourly. It keeps the signs and the graphics fresh so that the message will always be new to the people that see it. And in the future will be individualized to them. So rather than seeing a message for many eyes, you could see a message just dedicated to you.

[Bill] Tonight's trivia question asked, how many pork chops are sold over the course of the fair? The answer is a lot. Pork lovers gobble down, get this, 5,000 to 6,000 chops a day during the fair's 11-day run. That amounts to over 48,000 pork chops for the course of the fair. Wow. And I want to let you know, I do my part to help those numbers. Our next segment takes us to the Cultural Building and introduces us to some very talented photographers. Let's take a look. (music)

[Woman] We are at the Iowa State Fair Photography Salon.

[Jen Cannon, Competitive Events Director] This is probably one of our fairgoers' favorite locations as well as my favorite location. It's located on the third floor of the cultural center on the north side, which is now an air conditioned building, so it's easy to come visit. 

The 2023 theme was "shadows." It encouraged people to look at the shadows and how those play into different parts of their world, then to take images of that.

[Christina Young, Co-Superintendent] Our judges did a tremendous job of choosing 810 photos from 2,536 that were entered, by 802 photographers, from 76 counties in Iowa and 15 other states.

[Jen] The fairgoers enter in June, then we have three jurors that will go through all the photos then decide which ones actually get on display here at the fair.

[Christina] The competition is fierce, let me tell you. You know, like I said, we had 802 photographers. They can only enter four photos. A photographer can only enter 4 photos and we had 2,536 photos. There's 810 on display. So, you know, it is pretty fierce.

[Alyssa Striegel, Mount Pleasant] What do you think? How do they take that picture? That's really pretty.

[Alyssa's friend] The colors just come together.

[Alyssa] Uh-huh. I do like to take pictures, but I'm no professional by any means. But I just - whatever catches my eye. I suppose I look for colors and different lines. Just whatever interests me, I suppose.

[Jen] I think it's just amazing how much different colors and textures and everything that you see from all of the different divisions of the photographs, we have a micro division that really focuses in on just the tiniest aspects of things. all the way to our panorama division that focuses on a wide width of a photo. So just to see the detail in each of those photos and how each is so unique I think is really what makes this exhibit exciting.

[Alyssa] I do like to take pictures. I was in 4-H a couple of years ago, and I like to enter pictures into the fair to get judged. I like to come back and look at what professionals get to do here.

[Jen] I think people get intimidated. And it's not an intimidating process. Every year we have new entrants that win blue ribbons. So don't feel intimidated to enter. It's a pretty easy process. The entry forms are all on our website. You can read the rules. The theme changes each year in photography.

[Christina] Next year's theme is "Leading Lines." We stand in them, we look at them everywhere. You're going to see them all over the place. Let those lines lead you into the subject in those photos. Photography is a passion. It's not just a hobby for some people, it's a passion. I think that being here grows the community and helps that passion grow. A lot of people don't think of photography as an art form anymore, but it really truly is.

[Blair Ryan] We are in the Livestock Pavilion for the FFA parade of champions. This parade has become a fair tradition celebrating FFA participants and their blue ribbon projects. Projects range from Ag mechanics to livestock to restored farm equipment. Let's celebrate all their hard work and success. 

[Blair] In the Ag Mechanics and Technology Show there were 112 exhibits shown by 102 members from 34 chapters. 

  • Champion Overall Tractor - Nathan Kroeger, Carroll
  • Restored Tractor 1959 & Later: Garrett Koffland, Benton
  • Restored Tractor by First Year Exhibitor: Levi Dehne, Sigourney
  • Restored Tractor (Group): Cade and Quintin Volesky, Benton
  • Woodworking (Outdoor): Ivy Eklund, Afton
  • Metal Working (Small): Caleb Zuercher, Monona
  • Champion Innovation Award: Luke Holdgrafter, Northeast at Goose Lake
  • Metal Working (Medium): Bryce Roquet, Eddyville
  • Restored Garden Tractor: Reed Kelly, Nevada
  • Metal Working (Large): Brock Thompson, Truro

[Blair] There are more than 19,200 Iowa FFA members. This year, over 2,100 exhibitors entered more than 8,800 projects. 

[Blair] This year, 937 photographs were brought to the fair by 355 exhibitors from 77 chapters. 

  • Champion Photography: Samantha Wilbur, Paullina
  • Champion Small Grains: Calli Stocker, Albia
  • Champion Forage, Grass and Legumes: Dakota Rohwedder, Calamus-Wheatland
  • Champion Wheat and Champion Rye Crops: Olivia McDermott, Maquoketa
  • Reserve Champion Farm Crops Display: Eliza Van Zante, Eddyville

In the Farm Crops Division, 69 students from 24 chapters had 373 exhibits that were judged here at the Iowa State Fair. 

  • Reserve Champion High Point Exhibitor - Skylar Hanford, State Center
  • Grand Champion Sweepstakes Winner - Trell Amoss, Albia
  • Premier Floriculture Exhibit - Brock Fisher, Mid-Prairie Wellman

There were 597 exhibits in the Horticulture Division shown by 59 FFA members from 25 chapters. 

  • Reserve Champion Premier Floriculture Exhibit - Bridget Fisher, Mid-Prairie Wellman
  • Grand Champion Gladiola - Gracie Williams, Tri-County at Thornburg
  • Champion Any Other Division Flower - Brooklyn Kilgard, Marengo
  • Champion Floriculture Showman - Chloe Zittergruen, Tri-County at Thornburg

65 students from 18 chapters brought 702 flower displays to the fair for judging in the Floriculture Division. 

The Rabbit Show had 242 exhibits that were brought to the fairgrounds by 31 members from 28 chapters. 

  • Best of Show Rabbit - Natalia Brown, Wayne at Corydon
  • Champion Meat Rabbit - Zayden Reffit, Boyer Valley at Dunlap
  • Reserve Champion Six Class Breed - Ella Peterson, Stanton

In the Poultry Show, 44 exhibitors from 28 chapters brought 300 exhibits to the Iowa State Fair for competition. 


  • Grand Champion Overall Market Bird - Preston Von Stein, Bondurant-Farrar
  • Reserve Champion Overall Market Bird - Garrett Von Stein, Bondurant-Farrar
  • Champion Market Broiler - Emma Wedeking, North Butler at Greene
  • Grand Champion Breeding Stock - Alina Goldie, West Marshall at State Center
  • Champion and Reserve Champion Breeding Duck - Colton VanderWiel, North Makaska at New Sharon
  • Grand Champion Egg Layer Pen - Chase Flowler, Mediapolis

We had a chance to catch up with Holly Schmidt this year's president of the Iowa FFA Association.

[Holly] The parade of champions is a great way for these members to show off their projects to the millions of fairgoers who come to the Iowa State Fair each year and receive some recognition for their extremely hard work throughout the year.

[Blair] The Avenue of Breeds is celebrating its 45th year at the fair. The North Polk FFA chapter at Alleman which is responsible for this exhibit, has over 85 animals on display. There were 1,001 exhibits in the Swine Division. In the Commercial Guild Division alone there were 206 exhibits shown by 165 FFA members from 94 chapters. In the Sheep Division, 667 exhibits were shown in four divisions. On its own, the Market Lamb Show had 306 animals that were brought to the fair by 172 exhibitors from 98 chapters. The Beef Division had 261 exhibits. Judges in just the Breeding Beef Show looked at 214 animals from 90 chapters exhibited by 160 members.

[Holly] I think something that is surprising about FFA is we changed our name in 1988 to the National FFA Organization. Some people hear that FFA strands for Future Farmers of America, and that is a rich part of our history. But we are known as the FFA now because agriculture includes farming and Agri research and marketing. so many different avenues of the agriculture industry. You can be in it even if you live in a town or urban area.

[Blair] The Dairy Cattle Show had 67 animals shown by 20 members from 13 FFA chapters. 72 FFA members from 44 chapters brought 404 entries to the Iowa State Fair in the Horse Division. Congratulations to all the winners and all the exhibitors.

[Bill Riley] Son Peruchos is a Des Moines band that plays a fusion of South American, Latin and Caribbean music. And they are joining us from the Riley Stage. Time to put on your dancing shoes. 

(Singing in another language)

[Lead Singer] Muchas gracias

[Bill] Well, my friends, we've come to the end of another hour of fair highlights. But there's so much more. We have three more nights of coverage for you, but if you can't wait till tomorrow night, you can check out our website and our YouTube channel as well as our Facebook and Instagram pages. That will give you a great dose of state fair fun. There are several ways you can engage with us about our beloved Iowa State Fair any time, anywhere. Of course, we'll be back tomorrow night. Here's what you can look forward to. Some seriously quirky cake creations. And that explosive ending that ties a bow on the fair every night. Hey, everybody, thanks for joining us as we take you on a journey through the great Iowa State Fair. It's an honor to be your guide. Until tomorrow night, I'm Bill Riley. 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:

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

My name is Cara Hayden. 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.