We’ve never actually been to the Iowa State Fair, but we really like listening to the Iowa Public Broadcasting TV shows about it.
The first show covered a lot of activities. Food at the Fair is always intriguing. We know there are a lot of foods on a stick, but we didn’t know you could get a rattlesnake corn dog—with venom sauce! It’s pretty good according to the food guy, Travis Graven. You probably won’t find it in your local grocery store.
The big animals are impressive. I always wonder why the handlers sort of guide some of the animals (like that huge boar) using those little boards.
The lemonade stand was a little thought provoking. Dad’s Old-Fashioned Lemonade stand sellers aren’t out there to make money. They do it for the nostalgia. I’m sure they do it for the tradition as well.
That’s a nod to keeping tradition alive. One of those is the 4-H program. According to the Iowa State University 4-H Youth Development web page, the 4 H’s stand for:
Head for thinking, planning, and reasoning
Heart for being kind, true, and sympathetic
Hands for being useful, helpful, and skillful
Health for taking care of yourself and your community
The Iowa State Fair is a longstanding tradition. It started way back in 1854. It was on hold in 2020 because of the Covid-19 pandemic and that was the first time since World War II it was cancelled and only the sixth time in the Fair’s 166-year history.
A tradition is defined as the transmission of a culture’s customs, beliefs, knowledge, skills and more from generation to generation. In order to do that somebody has to do the passing down of all of that. And somebody has to pick it up.
You can store some of it in electronic archives, but a critically important part of it relies on institutional knowledge in the hearts and minds of the culture’s older people. It’s a two-way street; the young listen, accept some, and improve more if we’re lucky. It’s more than facts and figures—it’s the wisdom we want to preserve.
And we want to keep the rattlesnake corn dogs, with venom sauce.