It’s Fair time! (This is an update/edit of an article I wrote in 2008)
I’m not going to pretend to know everything about this subject. I spend very little time at the Fair. Usually one day each year.
I’ll be honest…part of it is that the State Fair kind of disgusts me these days. The freakishly giant animals. Those poor pregnant and laboring mamas locked up for noisy onlookers to stare at in the Animal Learning Center. The fried food. I the year I turned 30 was the turning point on that one. Suddenly, the idea of eating hot fried food when it’s hot and I’m walking around in the heat just didn’t seem to make any sense. I just wanted something HEALTHY!!
There are healthy food choices at the fair, but they are of course still the more mainstream ideas of healthy. (In other words, not organic, possibly not local.)
- Salad on a Stick. However, I have heard more people criticizing how difficult this is to eat than commenting on its taste.
- Regular salad in a bowl is available various places. The Iowa State Fair website has a list.
- The Salad Bowl, which is in the agricultural building and also the cultural center, has salads, wraps, and other non-fried foods.
- Many places have fresh fruit. Again, the Iowa State Fair website has a list. Applelicious is one of our family’s favorites. They have several stands, including one outside the Varied Industries building. They have cut up apples with caramel, and they’ll omit the caramel if you wish.
- Vegan fairgoers likely already know about the veggie corn dogs from the Veggie Table, north of the varied industries building, close to the KIOA beer tent. (Unless it’s moved in the 10 years since I brought out of state vegan friends to the fair…)
- Omnivores can find healthy meat choices at the various Producer tents. (Pork, beef, lamb etc.)
But the fair isn’t just about food. What else can you do to make your State Fair a little more natural-minded? Here are some ideas. Our family doesn’t follow all of these, just so you know.
- Park at one of the handy Park and Ride locations and take the shuttle in to the fair. (personally, we still drive in and park in the parking lot, as we need ready access to the car. we always perform at the fair, and then need to change our clothes and stash our performance-related things in the car so we don’t have to haul three heavy bags around with us while we stroll the fair.)
- Bring your own reusable water bottles, filled with water. Depending on how many people you have with you, think about bringing a hydration pack (one of those nifty backpacks with a giant water bladder inside).
- (not related to natural living, but a good tip nonetheless: pack a cooler with ice and bottles of water. Leave it in your car. When you’re all hot and exhausted, you’ll have nice cold drinks waiting for you for the drive home.)
- Be mindful of the amount of waste you create, and for goodness’ sake, put your garbage in the plentiful garbage cans.
Please feel free to post your favorite natural living at the fair tips in the comments!