Every year in early August, a breeze borne by silent messengers from another time blows through Iowa. It carries a whiff of something wonderful, something far off and a bit unclear, yet oddly familiar. It's a reminder that an extraordinary annual event is about to take place, just as it has for more than 150 years: the Iowa State Fair.
In 2013, Kurt Ullrich set out to chronicle the magic of the Iowa State Fair in words and photographs. Join him as August days and nights blow warm and easy over the fairgrounds, brushing lightly against fellow travelers on this earth, both human and not. He captures precious moments of extreme joy and unbridled delight in these beautiful black-and-white images, celebrating the brash rural energy of the fair, from Big Wheel races to people-watching goats, fair queen contestants to arm wrestlers, Percherons to ponies. Prize pigs, prize sheep, prize apples, and the famous butter cow all have their moment in the limelight. Iowa’s very best ear of corn and old friends reminiscing outside their RVs draw the photographer’s fond eye, as do brightly lit beer stands and the brilliant arc of the Ferris wheel against the night sky.
If you always go to the Iowa State Fair, this book is for you. If you’ve never been, it will show you what you’re missing—and you’ll understand why it’s well past time you dropped by.
About The Author
Kurt Ullrich's essays have appeared in the Chicago Tribune, Baltimore Sun, St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Minneapolis Star Tribune, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, Houston Chronicle, Des Moines Register, Cedar Rapids Gazette, Quad-City Times, Dubuque Telegraph Herald, and many others. His photographs have appeared in the Boston Globe, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Des Moines Register, and many other newspapers. He lives in rural Jackson County, Iowa, with his wife, Bobbi Alpers.