Iowa 4-H CloverCast

The Iowa State Fair

August 12, 2020 Iowa State 4-H Council Season 1 Episode 6
Iowa 4-H CloverCast
The Iowa State Fair
Chapters
1:19
State Fair traditions
2:46
Day in the life of a 4-H State Fair volunteer
5:54
Favorite State Fair foods
9:38
Favorite State Fair memories
11:40
State Fair queen experience
13:19
First State Fair experiences
15:28
Opportunities for 4-H'ers
17:22
Favorite 4-H State Fair experiences
19:18
2020 4-H State Fair changes
21:01
Being 4-H ambassador at Fair
Iowa 4-H CloverCast
The Iowa State Fair
Aug 12, 2020 Season 1 Episode 6
Iowa State 4-H Council

Ella, Gabby, and Bekah are on the final episode CloverCast: Sunburnt to share their memories and experiences at the great Iowa State Fair. On this episode, they share about 4-H opportunities at the State Fair, Fair favorites and memorable experiences. They also talk about behind the scenes info of how 4-H runs at the State Fair, including the communications department and livestock. While speaking on their Fair favorites, they also share some of the best food spots. Thanks for tuning in to our podcast throughout the summer! 

Resources:

Goals of our podcast:

  1. To provide a safe opportunity for State 4-H Council members to engage with other 4-H’ers around the state in lieu of the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. 
  2. To reach current 4-H’ers and potential 4-H’ers through thoughtful, informational, and personal discussion centered around 4-H learning opportunities and experiences.
  3. To provide State 4-H Council members the opportunity to grow themselves personally and professionally as they take part in and learn about each step of the podcast production process.
Show Notes Transcript Chapter Markers

Ella, Gabby, and Bekah are on the final episode CloverCast: Sunburnt to share their memories and experiences at the great Iowa State Fair. On this episode, they share about 4-H opportunities at the State Fair, Fair favorites and memorable experiences. They also talk about behind the scenes info of how 4-H runs at the State Fair, including the communications department and livestock. While speaking on their Fair favorites, they also share some of the best food spots. Thanks for tuning in to our podcast throughout the summer! 

Resources:

Goals of our podcast:

  1. To provide a safe opportunity for State 4-H Council members to engage with other 4-H’ers around the state in lieu of the Iowa 4-H Youth Conference. 
  2. To reach current 4-H’ers and potential 4-H’ers through thoughtful, informational, and personal discussion centered around 4-H learning opportunities and experiences.
  3. To provide State 4-H Council members the opportunity to grow themselves personally and professionally as they take part in and learn about each step of the podcast production process.

“Hey” Theme Music by Bensound]

Haley Jones: Welcome to CloverCast: Sunburnt. In this podcast, council members discuss 4-H opportunities, insight, and stories relevant to current 4-H’ers. Each episode will be hosted by different State 4-H council members and you can tune in every other Wednesday throughout the summer on Apple Podcast, Spotify, or wherever you like to listen. This podcast is made possible by the partnership between the Iowa 4-H Foundation, and Iowa State University Extension and Outreach 4-H Youth Development. Now, here are today’s hosts:

Gabby McCoy: Hi, I'm Gabby McCoy. I'm from Warren County and I've been in 4-H for nine years. 

Ella Hommel: Hi, I'm Ella Hommel. I'm from Grundy County and I'm an eight-year 4-H’er.

Bekah Craighton: Hi, my name is Bekah, I am from Franklin County and I have been in 4-H for five years. Hi everyone. Thank you for joining us on Clovercast: Sunburnt. This is our last episode and we appreciate all the support you've given us the past couple months as we have launched this podcast. We've all had a fun time. To wrap up this podcast and summer, we are going to be talking about the Iowa State Fair. Which you guys know has been canceled this year. So what will you guys miss most about the Iowa state fair? 

Ella Hommel: I think for me, um, the State Fair is just such a traditional thing. Like my family camps in the campgrounds, and it's like our kind of family vacation for the summer. So just not having that, it's going to be super sad. And I think not seeing everyone in the 4-H building. Um, that's going to be sad too, but I know everyone's gonna be just as excited and super pumped for next year. So 

Gabby McCoy: Yeah, mine's kinda the same as Ella. My family has camped there for the past 20 years. So I've kind of been there ever since I was born. And missing the state fair and everyone in there, the  4-H building. Cause that is where like five years ago when I started, that's where I met some of my best friends that I still talk to on a daily basis today. 

Ella Hommel: What about you, Bekah? 

Bekah Craighton: I guess the thing I'm going to miss most about the state fair is just visiting with my family kind of like you guys. We're not really the camping type, but we still like to enjoy the state fair and, you know, go see everything and try all the new foods.

Ella Hommel: I think camping is part of the State Fair that maybe not like, like everyone gets to see if you just come for the day, but it's such a huge part of the state fair and those campgrounds are huge and they have so many people in them. So if you're not like inside that and haven’t seen that before. I feel like a lot of people don't know just like how big camping is at the State Fair. 

Gabby McCoy: So kind of a day in the life of a state fair starts when we get there at 7:30 in the morning, We I've been, I was the communications department assistant last year, so I was kind of running around crazy, trying to get all that ready. So first I started off with getting all the presentation rooms set up, so the computers on, the projectors on, so everythings working. So we don't have to waste time once the kids get there. And then after I do all that the kids start arriving for presentations and working exhibits. Mitch does his famous in the morning speech that  we all probably have memorized now because it has been the same for the past eight years. So that's kind of the welcome into the building. And then everyone will kind of check in and get their room assignments. So they'll all go to separate rooms. And we will take their flash drives for presentations. We'll take their flash drives before they check it out. And so we can start getting those downloaded on the computer or before they get in there. Cause we're trying not to make like issues arise. So we're trying to get it done before they come in. So those start right in the morning at  eight or nine, depending on the day. And then working exhibits are shortly after that. It's about two tables at a time. So the morning can be kind of slow because there's less people in the morning. So there'll be two at a time with about 45 minute increments, because it depends on if they're a junior, intermediate or senior for 4-H. And then there's kind of a break and that's when everyone gets to breathe because things are kind of starting to slow down before it all gets crazy again. And then in the afternoon, that's when share the fun starts their first session. So they kind of do that. And then the presentations and working exhibits pick up about an hour after Share the Fun is. So everything kind of gets crazy in the afternoon because it's all three communications events all at once. That's always fun though, to have kind of everything going on, because there's more for people to do that are coming in just to visit. And then after that, the communications and that is done, for the presentations and working exhibits. But Share the Fun, their last show is at five. So people who were still at the fair at night can come in and have something to watch and to like, appreciate all the work that these 4-H’ers have put in. So that's kind of the crazy day in the communications department at the state fair. 

Ella Hommel: I remember when I worked, um, at the beginning of the beginning and some of my favorite parts of the day, because I'm at the end of the day, like all, everyone goes up to the youth inn, after they walk around together and there might be like a card game on the deck or something like that. And so it was just a super fun bonding time. And then at the beginning of the day, um, if you work at the 4-H building or you're volunteering at all, you get these meal tickets and there's some people who like horde their meal tickets and strategically use them to like, get the best deals at the best time. And so that was part of the game for me is figuring out what's the best way to use your meal ticket. And so breakfast is always a great way to do that and just catch up with people in the morning before all the crazy starts. 

Bekah Craighton: Speaking of meals, what's your guys' favorite state fair food. 

Gabby McCoy: So mine isn't as much of 'em a food, but it's a drink. I am obsessed with the strawberry smoothies there. I have so many because the stand is right by the 4-H building and it really doesn't help me out because it's like right there. So I'll just go and get it like all the time. And also everyone loves the cookies. Those are always a favorite. So. 

Ella Hommel: I would have to agree with you with the cookies. They're so good. And the new building, they just built a whole new facility for cookies and you walk by there in front of the sidewalk and it smells like heaven. Oh my goodness. It's insane. Um, I'm a fan of the deep fried cheese curds too. Those are near and dear to my heart, especially with the ranch. And then, um, there's a specific lemonade. It's like the lemonade stand right between like the sheep barn and the hog barn. And special check. If you ask for a 4-H lemonade, they'll take like the price down like 50 cents or something like that. So ask for 4-H lemonade but that's the best lemonade on the fair. What about you Bekah? 

Bekah Craighton: I think mine is between two things. First of all, I've never actually tried the cookies. So I think now I have to, because you both love those so much, but my favorite thing, I think it's either the Methodist church or the Lutheran church over by the sheep bar,  and their biscuits and gravy are amazing. Last year when I went every single morning, I would use my tickets on biscuits and gravy. And then I think the other one it'd be fried Oreos because I'm definitely a dessert person. And I had never tried those before until two years ago. And somebody is like, you just got to try it, just do it. I was like, that sounds gross. Like, who would want a deep fat fry, like dessert? And then I tried it and I'm like, Oh my gosh, that's so amazing. So, those are definitely my top two. 

 

Ella Hommel: Can you explain like what the deep fried Oreo tastes like? Like I'm just confused on how that works. 

Bekah Craighton: I guess I really don't know how to describe it. Ella, you just kind of got to try it. It's like a softer version of the Oreo and it kinda just like melts in your mouth. Like it doesn't taste stale, but it just like, It's just  good. And then they put powdered sugar on top of them and just makes it sweeter. If you're not a sweet person, it's definitely not for you, but like recommend trying it at least once.

Ella Hommel: I don't know that scares me a little bit, but I might have to try it next year. Uh, so along with food, is there any fair food do you guys have had that you don't like. 

Gabby McCoy:Honestly, not yet, but I also haven't tried that much because I'm scared I'm not going to like it, but I've also like, there's so much food at the state fair. So there's always something that's like new to try, no matter how many things you've tried. So that was kind of, yeah. 

Bekah Craighton: I actually have had a food I don't like, and that's the deep fat fried butter on a stick. It was absolutely disgusting. Like my whole family, when they came out with it that year, we're like, okay, yeah, let's try it. I don't know who thought it was a good idea to put a whole stick of butter and fry it, but it was definitely not good. 

Ella Hommel: I Heard the opposite of it. I had a friend try it and she said that. Um, it was actually good because like the butter kind of melted into the batter. So it was really more of a sticky roll, but I don't know. I'm conflicted now.

Bekah: Maybe that's just another thing you'll have to add for your list next year to try then.

Ella Hommel: I know the list is getting longer and longer. 

Gabby McCoy: I think one of my favorite memories was once again, kind of just being at the state fair, in that whole. Cause being there as a 4-H’er is completely different than just being there, like as a visitor, because you’re so much more involved in what's happening. So it's kind of like a big deal. And my kind of first memory is like doing communications at the state fair because I've done that ever since fifth grade. So it was really just a big like part of being there is, during my presentation and working exhibits.

Bekah Craighton: Mine is definitely, um, more towards 4-H too, it's just like being in the 4-H building and getting to work with everybody. And, you know, last year I helped out with the communications and that was just such a blast for me. And yeah. What about you, Ella? 

Ella Hommel: I think my favorite memory has been showing livestock and. Uh, last year, I got to stay at the youth inn and that's super fun. So I think the youth inn is also something that 4-H’ers, um, should know a little bit more about. So it's basically where it's sorta like a hotel for the state fair and you can stay as long as you want. And it's just kind of cold areas of open bunks. And it's a great way to meet new people because everyone there is either showing livestock or volunteering or, um, you have something in common already. So it's just a super fun way to meet people. Um, and so that was my favorite memory. I think 

Gabby McCoy: I agree with Ella on that one, because the Youth Inn was a big part of kind of staying at the fair, cause it's like some kids first time kind of staying away  from their parents,  but it's like not as big of a deal, cause you're just surrounded by people that are so welcoming and like helping you along throughout the way. So it's like, you don't even realize that you're kind of gone. Cause you're just like with another second family that kind of helps you out there

Ella Hommel: I remember people telling stories about how hot it was and then I got there and I froze, I was so cold. So the air conditioner has definitely done its job.

Gabby McCoy: I'm assuming you weren't there when they didn't have AC?

Ella Hommel: No. Nope. 

Gabby McCoy: They just switched that in the past few years. 

Ella Hommel: So something I was interested to hear about Gabby, you are the Warren County fair queen last year. I would love to hear about your experiences at the state fair with that. 

Gabby McCoy: Yes. Okay. So I was in it last year and then I carried on this year just because there wasn't really anything for the new queen to do. But last year was one of the best experiences at the state fair. You were surrounded with 103, like other Queens, and you already have so much in common because everyone is in either 4-H or FFA. So it was kind of like a big, like commonality thing where you're just friends with everyone there cause you have so many things in common. And it was nice, like working at the state fair before that, because when I got to the like fairgrounds with the other Queens, I already knew so many people because I've made connections to 4-H and that was just kind of a big thing that helped me out is knowing other people there. And also it was nice to work at the state fair because I already knew where everything was with the State Fair when we'd like, go around and talk on different stages or like we had some scavenger hunts around the state fair. So that was kind of an advantage, cause I already knew where I was going. So that was nice. And Queens week is like a big, just kind of social thing where you're just surrounded by positive impacts all over. And you do different workshops, like different like etiquette or resume building, workshops, leadership, all that stuff like all week. So that's a big part of it. And then no one really like, yes, it's a pageant, but it doesn't really feel like one because you're just kind of having fun the whole week. So you don't even focus on that part. 

Ella Hommel: That's so cool. So, I guess I don't really remember my first time going to the state fair because like Gabby I've been camping and going since I was like a child. So, um, it's just kind of been like a part of every summer. So I don't really remember the first time, but I do love taking other people or like friends that I have outside of 4-H or FFA to the state fair and watching their reaction for the first time. Because, um, I know, like things that I walked past every year and maybe take for granted, they're just like wide-eyed and like, Oh my goodness. So, um, I really enjoyed taking new people to the fair and, um, yeah, I think that it's something that has something different for everyone. So whether you're like, you know, an Iowa farmer or you're from New York City and you want to try the deep fat fried Oreos, like, and there's something for everyone at the state fair.

Bekah Craighton: My first memory of the state fair. I was probably five or six. My dad's like, I think we're gonna take her this year. See what happens. So the first thing we did was we visited Van and Bonnie that morning when we went, and now every year that we go back, we visit van and Bonnie and I have a picture of me slowly growing up next to them. Um, and then he also took me into the varied industries building and, you know, all the vendors have all the different things. And, um, by the time we left, I had both arms and my face covered in tattoos and I was just so excited and I loved it so much and that's all we really did. And, but I wanted to go back. So obviously I had a good time. 

Gabby McCoy: So my first memory is kind of like Ella’s cause I was there like two months after I was born. So I've been there ever since then, but so yeah, this is the first year that we haven't camped there, which is crazy. But my kind of first memory is when we were younger. Like we'd have family, friends come and stay with us. We'd go to the little hands on the farm every morning before it got hot. So we would just kind of do that every day. So that was kind of a big tradition for me. 

Ella Hommel: Uh, what are the opportunities for, for eight years as being like an intern at the 4-H building or the livestock? Um, part of like side of things. So, um, Gabby, you want to tell us a little bit about like what a being an intern is like or what that kind of involves? 

Gabby McCoy: Yeah. So my sister was the communications intern, so I kinda got to see all of that. And what she did for the summer was just kind of explain to counties what the communications at the state fair is like. And she would help them through the whole process. And she'd also do all the scheduling and conflicts. Schedule everything from share the fun to presentations, working exhibits. And so that was kind of her side of things. And then at the state fair, she would handle the issues that arose there and what kind of help out parents and workers, and just kind of make sure everything ran smoothly. So I kind of got to see that side of things over the summer, but I don't really get to see the livestock side. So if you want to talk about that because you're in livestock more so. 

Ella Hommel: Uh, I just helped with livestock for, uh, like an hour when I worked last year and it was really cool. And they had, I think the livestock intern does a lot of coordinating with like checking people in and making sure everyone's in the right spot. And, um, just making sure that shows go smoothly. And I remember I worked last year and one of the girls I was working with, we had just been sent over from the non-livestock building. Cause they had so much help at the time. And, uh, I think she made a mistake and she handed every single person who went in the class, a belt buckle, and only the winner was supposed to be get one. And it was really funny though. We all laughed because everyone who went in the ring got a belt buckle. So that was their lucky day. But, uh, yeah, I think the lights livestock helped a lot with is making sure things run smoothly. Bekah, what's been your favorite 4-H experience? 

Bekah Craighton: Gosh, Ella don't put me on the spot like this. Um, one of my favorite experiences is definitely with showing livestock. Um, I've shown for two years now at the state fair and I'm not actually going this year cause I didn't feel like I'd have the same, you know, experience without the actual fair. But more last year, it was really hot and humid the day that we showed and my heifer was not cooperating with anything. So I'm sure the crowd definitely got a laugh when I went into the ring because she did not look like she was tame at all. Looking back now it's definitely something that I can laugh at and be like, Oh my gosh, I can't believe I did that and embarrassed myself like that, but it's also kind of one of my favorite memories.

Ella Hommel: That's always the worst because especially with cows, they're so big that if they don't want to cooperate that day, there's not a whole lot you can do about that. So I went down to the state fairgrounds yesterday for the state fair food. When all the vendors were in. And I walked over to the 4-H building and saw all the new construction and then peaked my head in the building. And it is super nice. So anyone who has exhibits or are the new rooms with communication like presentations, does anyone know? They are. Okay. So yeah, those are super nice. And it's going to be a great facility to use. Did you guys go to the state fair food? 

Gabby McCoy Yeah, Ella, I did the exact same thing on Friday. I just kind of walked around and saw the, the 4-H building is looking really good. It looks, yeah, it'll be so nice to have that. 

Bekah Craighton: That's awesome. I can't wait to utilize that next year 

Ella Hommel: Along with talking about next year. So next year, our 4-H exhibit building will be back in full swing, but this year things are going to be more online. So the program is called 4-H show Iowa, and basically all the exhibits that got selected to go to State Fair on the County level are going to be judged at the state level and then just with pictures and then reports. So I think that's a great way for 4-H’ers to get recognition and, uh, be awarded for the work they did, but obviously it was working within the boundaries we have this year. Not only the exhibits, but the livestock are getting, um, The revamped version for this year. And I'm actually super excited to go show or not, I'm not showing, but I'm gonna go help on the 4-H side of things. And, uh, it's basically like staggered over three weekends. So different species will come in now along with the FFA. So like for the course of three weekends, everyone's going to get to show. So that's super excited or I'm super excited to see everyone and just get a little bit of a chance to watch the shows this year. 

Bekah Craighton: That's awesome. And that even without the state fair, that these 4-Her’s can still have the opportunity to have their exhibits at the state fair sort of, and be able to show their livestock.

Ella Hommel: Gabby do you know how communications is working this year? 

Gabby McCoy: Yeah, so the communications is like you're sending in a video, so it's kind of like the County fair level, how you. Send in a video of your working exhibit and then your presentation. So you can just submit those in. And then the extemporaneous speaking is the same. It's just a video and they'll give you like the prompts and stuff. So, yeah.

Ella Hommel: That’s so cool. Well, I'm glad that they at least get to do something for all the 4-Her’s who've worked hard.

Gabby McCoy: Yeah

Ella Hommel: So we're kind of jumping around here again, but I think something that, uh, is cool about the state fair. Especially on the 4-H side is that, um, you're pretty visible to just regular fairgoers. So they might just pop into like the big exhibitor ring and they might see you show beef. And so I remember being very little, maybe like five years old probably until I was 10 and really, really wanting to be like those 4-H exhibitors because they were old and they were cool. And I really, really wanted to be that. And. I didn't think that I could show Beef because I live on a pig farm and we don't really have pasture, but my County has a mentor program. And it's kind of like, I know different counties have like special shows and so it's kinda like that. And so through that program, I was able to show at State Fair. And I think it's really cool how that comes full circle. And, you know, I was that little kid watching those shows at the state fair and now I get to be the exhibitor. So that's one of my favorite parts about 4-H. Have you guys had similar experiences with that? 

Gabby McCoy: Yeah, mine was kind of similar to that, but more in the building. My mom is the clothing superintendent for the state fair. So I would come with her every single year. And honestly I was babysat by state council members at that time. So that was kind of my first memory of, I was kind of exposed to state council at a young age because I was surrounded by the state fair this whole time. And it was kind of like whenever. They'd like watch me and stuff. They tell me all about State Council, all about 4-H and I was just like, that's what I want to do. So, yeah. 

Ella Hommel: That's so cool. What about you, Becca? 

Bekah Craighton: I don't really have an experience like that, but that is so awesome. That that's the way you guys really got into the state fair and into 4-H. 

Ella Hommel: Yeah, I think that, especially the people who work like the tattoos at the front desk, they get to have some fun interactions with a little kid. And those 4-H tattoos I'm sure are worth their salt in marketing because those kids wear those things everywhere. 

Gabby McCoy: So as we're all looking forward to next year, state fair, it was nice to get to hear everyone's memories again, because we're all missing the state fair right about now. Cause this is when we'd start having it and getting ready. So it was nice to have a throwback and listen to the memories of state fair while we're missing out this year. 

Ella Hommel: And as we end this episode, this marks the end of our Clovercast: Sunburnt podcast. And we'd like to thank everyone who tuned in and especially Iowa 4-H Foundation for partnering with state council and making this podcast.

All: Bye!

[“Hey” Theme Music by Bensound]

State Fair traditions
Day in the life of a 4-H State Fair volunteer
Favorite State Fair foods
Favorite State Fair memories
State Fair queen experience
First State Fair experiences
Opportunities for 4-H'ers
Favorite 4-H State Fair experiences
2020 4-H State Fair changes
Being 4-H ambassador at Fair