State Fair

John Lawrence’s message from Aug. 7, 2017

They say nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair. While that’s true, I offer this amendment: Nothing compares to ISU Extension and Outreach at State Fair! There’s our 4-H connection, of course. Who hasn’t been to the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building or the livestock venues during 4-H show time? However, we are all over that fairground. We’re the reason you can stroll through a garden, or stomp grapes or find out what that porkchop-on-a-stick will cost you, calorie-wise. Did you know?

  • State 4-H youth program specialists are expecting nearly 3,600 static exhibits and more than 900 communication entries, which include educational presentations, working exhibits, extemporaneous speaking and Share the Fun performances.
  • Since the mid-1990s, the Polk County Master Gardeners have been the caretakers for the Discovery Garden near the Agriculture Building.
  • In front of the Ag Building by the big pumpkin weigh-in (or inside, if it’s raining), you can find out how well you know your weeds during the Weed ID contest Aug. 11, 9-11:30 a.m.
  • You can visit Grandfather’s Barn Wine Experience for a daily wine stomp, viticulture experts and kids’ activities. You’ll probably find our viticulture specialist Mike White there, and if you show up at 2 p.m. Aug. 11, you can cheer for Cy as he takes on Herky and TC in the Mascot Grape Stomp.
  • You’ll find extension colleagues working at Iowa State’s main exhibit in the Varied Industries Building. “Forever True, Thanks to You” features student clubs and experiences made possible by donor support to Iowa State.
  • ISU Extension and Outreach provides nutritional information for the Iowa State Fair Food Finder App, along with the number of calories associated with the items and the amount of physical activity needed to burn off all that fair food.

I’m looking forward to my time at the fair, and not just for the porkchop-on-a-stick I plan to consume. Aug. 11 is Iowa 4-H Day. I’ll be helping with 4-H alumni and friends registration at the 4-H Foundation tent on the Grand Concourse from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m., so stop in and say hello. On Aug. 12 President Ben Allen and I will be showing steers in the Governor’s Charity Steer Show. I’ll be there Aug. 17 for Iowa Department of Land Stewardship’s Century and Heritage Farm event. Six of these family farms include land that is part of our Land Grant Legacy and we’ll be recognizing them during the event. I’ll even be serving as a “celebrity chef” (their term, not mine) at the Iowa Pork Producers’ food venue. For updates on my whereabouts through the fair, follow me on Twitter, @JohnLawrenceISU.

A couple more notes

  • Be sure to take a look at the August program update from the leadership team.
  • Besides learning more about all our programs, we also need to learn more about each other. Watch this short video to get to know Clark Colby, our 4-H arts, communication and design program specialist.

— John D. Lawrence
Iowa State University Interim Vice President for Extension and Outreach

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