TODAY   |  August 16, 2013

Iowa State Fair: Rich traditions (and rich food)

The oldest state fair in the country is celebrating 159 years of tradition with incredible foods, activities and events like tire-rolling contests and the largest livestock show in the country. TODAY’s Al Roker reports.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>> al. he's at the iowa state fair having a great time this morning. good morning again.

>> good morning guys. remember at the beginning of the program we met gary. he took this stump and turned it into owls. that is spectacular. thank you so much and then bill sculpting ice. al roker , ice head. i always said i was a cool customer but you proved it. we appreciate it. we love what goes on here at the iowa state fair . i have been to state fairs . i have been all over the place. i've been talking about state fairs . i always wanted to come to this one because when it comes to state fairs , this one is the grandaddy of them all.

>> iowa, cornfields, cows, wind turbines , but for 11 days every summer for more than 150 years, this is iowa.

>> crowd are you ready? get set, go.

>> and for eddie hatfield, he doesn't miss a day.

>> it's my 27th year at the iowa state fair . i love this place. it's like heaven on earth .

>> heaven on earth , especially if you love food on a stick.

>> bacon on bacon is not a bad thing.

>> food takes center stage at the fair.

>> there's no calories in this.

>> eddie 's favorite, the foot long chilly dog.

>> i love it. i have eaten a lot of these over the years. there was 4 or five years ago i eight 44 foot of chili dog .

>> but the real tradition is the butter cow.

>> everybody talks about the butter cow and everybody wants to see the butter cow. everybody asks did you see the butter cow? that's what the iowa state fair is all about.

>> over a million young and old flock to this fair every year. animals big and small with 90 newborns.

>> they'll see chicks hatching out of the eggs. they'll see the little ducks swimming in the pond and the kids are just wide eyed and they love to see them.

>> from a tractor pull to outhouse races, pie eating, and yodelling, it's down right family fun and for eddie and his family, it's all about tradition.

>> the iowa state fair isn't about food. it's not about agriculture, it's about the tradition. it's about the family coming together.

>> all kinds of crazy stuff here. you have the farmer challenge. you have to do a tire roll with people inside. you have poppers, you have balloon sculptor stur and you have kids doing a pie eating contest . 3, 2, 1 go. yeah. all is happening at the iowa state fair . oh, that's messy. back to you guys. that's what's going on around the country. here's what's happening in your neck of the woods.

>>> they're still going. savannah, does this look familiar?

>> we think you need to give it a try al. do not get the pie in the eye.

>> get in there.

>> al, get in there.

>> there's no pie left.

>> come on, al.

>> one time.

>> come on.

>> oh, he's out.

>> i'll get in the tire. i'll get in the tire.

>> chicken.

>> all right, buddy. that looked