Anarchy, cronuts plague Iowa State Fair

There is a long and storied history of innovation here in Iowa. Sure, you can look around the state lately and see we have more pigs than people (which may be shockingly true) or that our largest airport’s dubious claim of “international” continues free of scrutiny and think to yourself “sure, maybe this place used to be great, but those days are WAY behind us; all we’ve got left are all the pigs, the presidential caucuses and having the nation’s No. 1 party school.”

Congrats, University of Iowa! As a graduate of Iowa State University, it pains me to say that, but UIowa is so drunk I’m sure it won’t remember anything in the morning.

Yes, you might think the best days of Iowa are long gone and never to be seen again.

And you’d be right.

It’s all over, people! Pack it all up because we are bugging out! Grab the corn, the soy, the stupid yard decorations where it looks like old people are bending over to tend their gardens, all of it; just make sure to leave the lights on … I’m pretty sure they’re turning this whole place into a Google data barn or a Scheels or something.

And why, you may be asking while frantically boxing up your collection of UNI Panther memorabilia (somebody has to be buying it), is the population abandoning Iowa, to let nature wipe away any trace of civilization thereby turning our state into Nebraska?

Because we have lost control of our state fair.

As I write this column I’m certain you so greedily dug through your paper to find (… right?) the Iowa State Fair is into it’s eighth day and showing all the signs of anarchy we’ve come to expect from an event originally designed to sell tractors.

Case in point: Political activists defaced the butter cow.

Just think about the gross tonnage of stupid in that last sentence.

The butter cow, for those who are unAmerican enough to not already know (read: Communists) is a sculpture of a cow, made out of butter.

Some people like to think about the metatextual statement the artist is making by using butter as a medium to sculpt a cow, others just like to see a cow … or anything, really, made entirely out of butter.

This year, in the most misguided attempt to prove a point since McDonald’s released that monthly budget for its employees that failed to account for food, some wayward youths – and I’m certain at least one guy who was doing this to impress a girl – decided to “lash out” at “the man” by throwing red paint/fake blood on the butter cow and scrawling “freedom for all” on the display case.

You guys know the lock on the door isn’t what keeps the butter cow from leaving, right? You get that the butter cow isn’t a real cow, covered in butter … don’t you?

So, anarchists have attempted to destroy one of our great icons of meta-art/butter. Great. But the fair won’t be taken down by some small group of ill-informed wackos armed only with red paint and their mom’s Blazer; why, we’d have to lose our footing in something so near and dear to the hearts of all Iowans that it would shake the very foundation of our collective identities, something so Iowan that to lose it would mean to lose ourselves.

Well, run for the hills because we just lost the food race!

Yes, the Iowa State Fair is known far and wide for the multitude of food available in forms ranging from fried to on-a-stick to fried-on-a-stick. But I’m remiss to inform you our once-vaunted status has been usurped.

The fair has always been a proving ground for the latest in heart clogging technology. But this year, while the fairgoers were busy patting themselves on the back for eating shrimp corn dogs and laughing away the calories displayed on their Fair Food Finder apps, a little revolution took place in Canada and our little fair was left in the ridiculous food dust.

Canada has the cronut burger!

Cronuts are the latest frankenfood to emerge, this time from the unlikely food laboratory of New York City. It is a mix of a croissant and a donut and if you don’t think that sounds good go ahead and Google up some images and see if your mouth can stop watering.

The cronut is on the cusp of national attention and yet the fair, a place where strange food is born, is without a single cronut booth? And all the while those maple- sucking hockey players up north are laughing away as they’ve cracked the cronut-burger code? This is a travesty? We must close the cronut-burger gap!

Our beloved butter cow is covered in freshmen anguish, our food stands are behind the times in new methodologies for shortening the human lifespan and all the while Iowa Public Television continues to show “Fair Watch” but changed the name to “Fair 2013?” What happened?

Since it is Sunday and what I’m certain will be the last Iowa State Fair is winding down, I will just say this: I hope you went, I hope you had a corn dog and I hope you rode the skylift because this was your last chance. We lost the fair so I’m certain we will lose the state next.

So enjoy our new lives as nomads! Hopefully a friendly state nearby will take us all in so we don’t all have to Okie ourselves out Californee way. Me, I’m thinking something in the Pacific northwest, maybe Seattle … I wonder if they already have a cronut shop?

Copy Editor Wes Burns is a Sunday columnist. The views expressed in this column are personal views of the writer and don’t necessarily reflect the views of the T-R. Contact Wes Burns at 641-753-6611 or