Audio Postcard From Three Midwest State Fairs

Sep 2, 2013
Originally published on September 2, 2013 4:55 pm

State fairs in Maryland, Alaska, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Minnesota and Michigan wrap up today.

Harvest Public Media reporters Amy Mayer, Abbie Fentress Swanson, Bill Wheelhouse and Jeremy Bernfeld sent us this audio postcard from the state fairs in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.

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And time is running out to grab a deep-fried Twinkie or a weird thing on a stick because today marks the last day of state fairs in Alaska, Nebraska, New York, Oregon, South Dakota, Minnesota, Michigan and Maryland. Harvest Public Media, a HERE AND NOW contributor, sent us this sounds of summer from state fairs in Iowa, Missouri and Illinois.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #1: Oh, say can you see by the dawn's early light...

GARY SLATER: I'm Gary Slater. I'm the manager and CEO of the Iowa State Fair. You know, the Iowa State Fair is what I think is an American classic state fair. I always say that Colorado has the Rocky Mountains, Minnesota has the lakes, we have the Iowa State Fair. And that's what the people really love.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #1: I'll have a deep-fried brownie on a stick please.


DALE MORELAND: I'm Dale Moreland(ph). I live in Dexter, Missouri. And I show draft mules, halter class, as well as hook for the wagon, hitch classes. I've been coming to the Missouri State Fair since I was a child. I came here with my grandpa, so the fair is very special to me. And my dream was to show mules here. My job didn't allow me to show mules. So I came to watch the mules and help other people show, but I couldn't bring my mules. So two years ago, when I retired, I was able to come and show my own mules. And I - it's - like I say, it's just been my dream to show mules here at fair and here I am, and I love it.


CHRIS HUGHES: My name is Chris Hughes(ph), and I can remember going down to the fair as a little boy with my parents and going to see Auto the Car(ph), the talking car and the locomotive, riding the trams, you know, going to all the Cadillac expositions. And it just brought back a lot of memories doing that again, when you bring little ones down. And I weighed 97 pounds before I came to the fair the first time. And now, look at me, you know, it's because of the Missouri State Fair.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #2: Those $2 corndogs.

HUGHES: Those $2 corndogs, you bet you. You know, there's nothing better than the Missouri State Fair corndog.

UNIDENTIFIED WOMAN #2: Hey. I'll have bacon-wrapped rib on a stick.

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #3: Special attraction at the Iowa State Fair. Check out the twilight ballroom and taste wine from 20 Illinois wineries while dancing the night away through a number of talented jams...

UNIDENTIFIED MAN #4: The bid's up around 40,650. You got to beat 40,750, where, I got 40,650. You got to beat 40,750, 40,750. Yes, sir, no. All done. Sold $40,650 right there.


UNIDENTIFIED MAN #5: And I always say, you cannot see the Iowa State Fair in one day. It takes - you got to come back more than once.

YOUNG: That postcard from state fairs in Iowa, Missouri, Illinois, came to us from Harvest Public Media reporters Amy Mayer, Abbie Fentress Swanson, Bill Wheelhouse and Jeremy Bernfeld. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.