It’s Iowa State Fair time again. Time for all the livestock to pile into the fairgrounds for judging and time for all the human herds to pile in for judging, as well. You know what kind of judging that is. I’m a state fair addict enjoying so many aspects of it I can hardly wait to get there. I love watching the draft horses parade down the street on their way to the ring. I can’t get enough of that luscious state fair lemonade but only from the trailer by the swine barn – none of the others are as good. I get a kick out of playing the games that the Des Moines Register puts on each year (this year it is pictures again that we have to find around the fairgrounds). I like people watching and love the smells associated with the fair.
I’ve participated in several ways over the years. I’ve entered vegetables from my garden and taken home ribbons for my eggplant and kohlrabi. One year my photograph took second place and I even won some money for it. I made a bead necklace and took home second place for it in the Arts competition. But the very first competition I took part in at the Iowa State Fair was the very first cat show.
My cat, Screamin’ Demon, was the first cat to win first place at the Iowa State Fair cat show. As usual for August in Iowa, it was a hot, steamy day and we were crowded into a small room on the second floor of some building without air conditioning. I don’t even think that building exists anymore. The show was such a curiosity that the spectators overflowed from the judging room and down the stairs. Those of us showing our cats couldn’t even get inside to watch our cats being judged. I’d never even been to a cat show before so I had no idea what was really going on. When they called Demon back into the judging room for a second time I didn’t think much of it. But when I went back to pick him up there he was with a trophy on top of his cage. I was thrilled and addicted to cat shows for the rest of my life.
This year, unfortunately, may be the last cat show at the Iowa State Fair. Over the past 36 years the competition has dwindled as we’ve been shifted from building to building suffering through all sorts of weather conditions until finally a few years ago they moved us to an indoor venue. The damage had been done though and we just aren’t attracting the number of entries we used to. Don’t get me wrong, the Iowa State Fair Cat Show is still very popular with the spectators. We get crowds so large that we’ve never had enough seating for everyone no matter where we’ve been situated.
So if you are in Iowa visiting the Iowa State Fair this Friday be sure to stop by the new Jacobsen Building at noon to see the cat show. If you aren’t in this area, please support your own state fair and their cat show if they have one.