Iowegian is defined by my husband's co-worker, Eric, as those from Iowa decent who will travel far distances to experience Iowa festivals, fairs, and expositions. While the World Pork Expo includes pork producers and agricultural sales representatives from all of the world, it is truly an Iowa thing simply because Iowa is the pork headquarters and leading pork producing state in the country. And, they do the expo up right.
Being that my family is not in the farming business, I had never truly experienced the Pork Expo. I can also actually count on my fingers the number of times I have been to the Iowa State Fairgrounds, home to any fried food you can find on a stick during the month of August. It didn't ever bother me, we were just busy doing RAGBRAI, or other Iowa summer events. My farm industry friends, on the other hand, were always a little surprised my family didn't make the annual homage to the fairgrounds to see the nation's largest bull, pig, tomato, nor the annual butter cow sculpture. Last week, however, when my sister said her husband's friend could get us passes to the expo, I was all in!
If you can read the fine print on the stand below it says, "We're makin' your bacon." And making the best bacon is what they do at the World Pork Expo. We began our day with several samples of sausage on a stick. The wonderful thing about it is, due to the crummy weather, we didn't have to wait in line. The other beautiful thing about Iowa is that we didn't even ask. The producers want you to sample their product and shouted to us to come over and sample.
Inside the industrial building, we toured and heard more than an earful on different farming products and ways to enhance your pork producing numbers. Hint, hint, getting what you need from the male and introducing the goodies to the female to make many healthy pig babies. We got numerous pens, pads of paper, hats, t-shirts, bags, etc. all advertising various farming products.
And no Iowa expo or festival involving agriculture would be complete without crowning someone royalty! Here is some young girl who is this year's pork queen. What an honor! I'm sure she is ringing in some sweet scholarships along with that sparkly crown.
After touring the industrial building, we took a well needed break to watch the pig races. This is the best action shot I got. I wasn't sure if the pigs would actually "race" as I've never seen a pig move very quickly. To the contrary, these pigs were fast! It was all very cheesy; however, yet another thing I was told you had to visit while at the pork expo.
Next, the best part, food! Sausages, ribs, pork loin, anything humans enjoy from pigs was freely sampled. And again, the producers WANT you to sample their food. They also encouraged you to eat, drink, and be merry. "Hang around a little bit," they would say. "We've got more coming off the grill."
Tent after tent, party after party these guys know how to do it right. I saved the best tent for last...a Hawaiian Luao! Complete with mai tais! The day was a blast!