A little of this, a little of that

A week ago, my mom and I were at the Iowa State Fair, admiring quilts, cross-stitch and cute goats.

We watched a grape stomp, rode the fair tram and photographed the butter cow.

We also saw a whole lot of guys in bib overalls. I think it must be an Iowa thing!

It was our first visit to the Iowa State Fair and, for the most part, I’d say it’s almost on par with the Minnesota State Fair. It lacked a foot-long hot dog stand on nearly every corner, and it doesn’t have a DNR pond filled with big fish. Yet, it did offer a Parade of Breeds in the livestock barn, which was really cool.

My favorite fair activity is to see the projects — the needle arts and the photography, especially — and I was not disappointed. There are some talented people in Iowa. (Yes, I said it in print!)

Anyway, it was a fun day away from the office. We did a lot of walking and only a little sampling (no fried foods — not even the Red Velvet funnel cake, one of the new foods featured at the Iowa State Fair this year).

If you plan a trip there next year, be sure to check out the butter cow exhibit. I looked everywhere to find out how many pounds of butter were used in the display (it features a cow, calf, boy and girl — all carved out of butter), but I couldn’t find any details until after I returned home and looked it up on the Internet.

As it turns out, Iowa uses a metal, wood and wire-frame in the shape of a cow and then smears on approximately 600 pounds of butter to make it look like a cow.

Those of us Minnesotans familiar with the Princess Kay of the Milky Way butter head display at the Minnesota State Fair might say they’re cheating.

Here in Minnesota, our display features Princess Kay (Mary Zahurones of rural Pierz was crowned Wednesday night) and the 11 Princess finalists. Each of them will get their likeness carved out of a 90-pound block of butter during the Minnesota State Fair.

If you recall, we have a pair of sisters from rural Heron Lake who were selected as Princess Kay finalists this year. Chelsey and April Johnson are the first sisters to be named finalists in the same year in the history of the Princess Kay program.

April, who was named a Princess Kay scholarship winner during Wednesday evening’s ceremony, will get her likeness carved in butter on Sunday, Sept. 4, while Chelsey’s turn is on Monday, Sept. 5, the final day of the Great Minnesota Get-Together.

If you make the trek to the State Fair on Labor Day weekend, be sure to visit the butter sculptures in the Dairy Building, located at the corner of Judson Avenue and Underwood Street.

* With Hurricane Irene set to hit North Carolina this morning, I’m a bit worried about how the Outer Banks will fare.

The Outer Banks has been at the top of my dream vacation list for more than a decade. Anyone who has watched the chick flicks, “Message in a Bottle” or “Nights in Rodanthe” surely has developed a love for the beautiful scenery offered off the North Carolina coast.

In addition to experiencing the Atlantic Coast, I want to visit the five lighthouses that grace the Outer Banks, including Cape Hatteras, the tallest lighthouse in North America.

Ideally, I’d prefer to journey to the Outer Banks in September. There are two problems with that — it’s hurricane season, which makes planning impossible; and it’s a busy time at the office.

I keep saying, maybe next year, and I’ll keep hoping that hurricanes like Irene don’t completely demolish the Carolina coast.

* Just an update from last week’s blog: St.Anthony hasn’t helped me find my lost hardanger embroidery pattern book yet. I have given up my search, finished my only other UFO (unfinished object) in my hardanger stash, and have now moved on to a new pattern from a hardcover book.

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