Thursday and Friday were spent volunteering for the Iowa FFA State Leadership Conference in Des Moines. I run the Convention Office and so spend a lot of time with collegiate FFA members and the conference photographer. Somehow during a slow period we ended up discussing the Iowa State Fair. It's amazing how many of us had been exhibiting or participating at the ISF since we were 8 or 9 years old. That probably says something about how addictive participating at the ISF can be.
Our photographer (also a good friend) mentioned how last year was the first year since he was about 8 that he hadn't exhibited or participated in some way at the ISF. He mentioned how that really made the fair a different experience. I would agree! The fair is a great event in and of itself; however, when you an active participant you become part of something grand and that takes going to the fair to a whole new level! There is more excitement, more anticipation and I think makes it even more enjoyable!
I did ask my friend if he planned to take any photos to the fair this year -- he isn't sure yet. He has never had one selected for exhibit yet (this is a very difficult arena to do - there are thousands of entries and only 1000 are chosen). But he does have a special place when he goes to art shows and exhibits on his table that says "State Fair Rejects" and they sell very well! So, see he needs to continue so he has new photos for this part of his sales! I have taken a lot of entries that have never received a thing - but you know what, that adds to next years challenge to improve and try that same area again to see if you can get closer to a winner. Plus, that one ribbon or being selected for display is very encouraging to bring back more the next year!
There are so many different areas to participate - why not get the whole family involved. Even young children have their own classes in open class foods and floriculture (I am sure in other areas as well but these are ones I am familiar with). See how much fun the whole family can have by exhibiting. Reminds you of the musical "State Fair" the way the whole family is excited about the various entries.
Want to take your Iowa State Fair experience to the next level? Well, if you have never exhibited try it out! I bet you'll agree it makes the fair that much better!