You Won't Believe What Goes On At The Iowa State Fair


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Des Moines—This weekend’s Ames Straw Poll coincides with the Iowa State fair — the state’s largest event, that attracts almost one million people each year.From flipping pork burgers to swarming Sarah Palin, we bring you the Iowa State Fair in pictures.

Also, did you know you can deep-fry butter?

The Butter Cow

Every year sculptors at the Iowa State Fair carve a cow out of butter. This cow is life-sized, and kept behind glass to keep from melting.


Like most state fairs, there are prizes to be won here -- including one for the largest pumpkin. This hefty one weighed in at over 1,000 pounds .


With a day left until the key Straw Poll, candidates flocked to the Des Moines Register's 'Soap Box' to address crowds of supporters and the cameras. Rep. Michele Bachmann brought by far the largest crowd, but arrived late and only spoke for three minutes before leaving to attend another event.


Lots of it. Former Minnesota Gov. Tim Pawlenty flipped some pork burgers for the benefit of reporters Friday at the tent belonging to the Iowa Pork Producers Association.

Lots of reporters

ABC News' Jake Tapper interviews Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley about the 2012 election. He says he may endorse a candidate before the Iowa Caucuses, but not before October.

Lots of booths

Vendors and interest groups of all shapes and sizes flocked to the fairgrounds to pitch their ideas and sell their wares.

Sarah Palin

It was revealed that she would be there on Wednesday and reporters were on the prowl all morning Friday looking for her. She finally materialised by the cattle barns, where between questions from reporters, she was asked to take pictures with prize-contending animals.


Lots of pushing and shoving to get close to the former Alaska governor.

Corn Dogs

The fair is known for its 'food on a stick,' and fully 59 different varieties are available at the fair. In addition to the usual corn dogs, there were some selections that might surprise you.

Deep Fried Butter

No, we couldn't make this up.

Here's what it looks like.

Each is a half-stick of butter dipped in funnel-cake batter and skewered, before taking a quick dip in a deep fryer.

A worker at the booth making the heart attacks on a stick said he couldn't keep track with how many he had made, putting the number well into the thousands.

Here's what it looks like partially eaten

A brief survey of those who dared try one said they taste like 'buttery cinnamon buns.'

They don't hold up well in the heat, leaving pools of molten butter in the bottom of the paper serving containers.

Other delicacies on the menu.

Fried Pineapple

Fried Snickers candy bar

Fried Dill Pickle

Served with ranch dipping sauce because, as one customer said, it goes well with everything.

More Palin

She spent most of the day at the fair, and was repeatedly mobbed by members of the public anxious for a picture or an autograph.

Devoted supporters

There were many calls for Palin to enter the race from those at the fair. She said she would decide in the next two months, because any later would not be fair to her supporters.

Kernel Poll

A local television station hosted a pre-Straw Poll poll using corn kernels and glass jars.

The mid-day returns

Bachmann was the clear winner at the end of the day.

More fried food

Deep fried Oreo cookies.

Fried Macaroni & Cheese

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