Happiness is the 2013 Iowa State Fair

Happiness is the theme of the 2013 Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18.  Cynthia Foder from KCCI News 8 filed a story yesterday, asking fair-goers how they would define “happiness” at the Iowa State Fair.  Since I wasn’t able to provide my comment then, I’ve decided to blog about it today.  Why?  Because I truly believe happiness is the Iowa State Fair! Happiness is…

  • Biting into a bacon wrapped corn dog or one of 18 new foods to debut at the 2013 fair.
  • Seeing sheep, pigs, goats, horses and cattle – it’s the next best thing to showing your own!
  • Spending a picture perfect Friday at the Iowa State Fair, making new acquaintances and visiting with dear friends.

Today I have the pleasure of joining Mark Dorenkamp and Bob Quinn for a live broadcast of “The Big Show.” You can join the fun by tuning in between 11:30 a.m. and 1:00 p.m.  We’ll be talking about the 5th Annual Latham Freedom of Independence Ride, which is sure to be the most unique field day a farmer has ever attended!

Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich help build connections between rural and urban Iowans

Iowa Ag Secretary Bill Northey and Iowa Lottery CEO Terry Rich help build connections between rural and urban Iowans

Speaking of unique events, I can’t wait to stop inside the south atrium of the Varied Industries Building where the “Get Connected to Farming” exhibit is being built by the Iowa Food & Family Project.  The centerpiece of this exhibit is an amazing sculpture created by Sean Kenney, a LEGO® Certified Professional. (I’m envisioning LEGOLAND at the Iowa State Fair.)

At 2 p.m. daily, the Iowa FFP hosts a LEGO brick building contest between a celebrity and youth.  Yesterday Iowa Secretary of Agriculture Bill Northey took part.  I’m looking forward to a friendly competition today with Duane Murley, farm/news broadcaster, with KWMT in Fort Dodge.

My final “must make stop” on the fairgrounds is the Agriculture Building to see the butter cow, of course! This year’s companion butter sculpture celebrates the Lincoln Highway Bridge in Tama in celebration of the 100th anniversary of the Lincoln Highway.  This year also marks the 150th anniversary of Lincoln’s Emancipation Proclamation and Gettysburg Address. There’s so much to see and do!  Happiness is…

Yes, indeed, happiness is the Iowa State Fair! As a tribute the fair, I’m sharing one of my favorite cake recipes from Kaitlyn Bartling.  She’s not only a good friend but one of the best farm cooks I know! Bake a cake from scratch, mix up some homemade frosting and then decorate it beautifully like the cake pictured here.  This cake was decorated by Franklin County 4-H member Jenna Borcherding.  Jenna’s cake, which was Pinterest-inspired, is a 2013 Iowa State Fair entry. Happiness is… homemade cake topped with fresh berries.

Bake someone happy this weekend!

Here are 2 more recipes from Kaitlyn Bartling:

  1. Shredded Beef French Dip
  2. Stuffed Meatballs

Kaitlyn’s Berry Cake



  • 8 oz. pkg cream cheese
  • 1 ½ c. powdered sugar
  • 2 c. whipping cream
  • 1 tsp. almond flavoring



  1. Cream ½ c. sugar and cream cheese with mixer.
  2. Add whipping cream and remaining sugar.  Beat until it looks like cool whip.  (Don’t beat too much or cream will start to form butter lumps.)
  3. Take 1/3 of mixture and fold in berries of choice.
  4. Spread on bottom cake and stack the other cake half on top.
  5. The frost entire cake.
  6. Chill until served.
  7. Top with fruit puree.


Cake Directions:

Make white cake from scratch, substituting almond flavoring instead of vanilla.  Bake in 9x13 and cut in half; cut lengthwise for easier serving.