Meet Edward Lewis from rural Montgomery County...yes, Iowa. If you were one of the one-million+ fairgoers to the 2009 Iowa State Fair you no doubt saw him and wondered who in the heck was this guy walking quickly through the fairgrounds holding, high, a flag of Iowa. He wouldn't say anything he would just walk and walk and walk. Did you see him?
You couldn't have missed Edward Lewis....he was there...everyday...eleven days....ten hours a day...rain or shine.
Why? That's what we wanted to know so I stopped him and asked him what was up.
"I'm a proud Iowan who enjoys the fair and see an opportunity to share my joy of living here with others", said Lewis. Edward is 45 years old and has a reason to celebrate. "I've had open heart surgery, my arteries were blocked and they did five by-passes. I think I've had maybe four heart attacks in my life. I shouldn't really be here but I am and as long as I am I want to help celebrate the goodness of Iowa."
So far...so good.
"I also want folks to cut down on the use of the "N-Word" if you know what I mean", said Lewis. "No, not quite sure what you mean," said I. "Well, you know, that state to the west of us." "Nebraska?", I asked. "Oh NO! There you go! Don't say that...."
I'll try not to do that Edward. But seriously, what if this action by Edward Lewis catches on? Might there be TWO people at the Iowa State Fair next year holding high an Iowa flag and silently proclaiming what a great state we have? And, then three and four....how cool. Bet it wouldn't happen over in...you know..."over there".
Also spent some time on Sunday afternoon with Bob Schultz who has been on the Iowa State Fair Board for years. We talked about the numbers and he said that if Saturday was over 100,000 people and Sunday hit 100,000 they would reach that one-million attendee mark. He was right on. Saturday was about 105,000 and Sunday 100,143 folks came through the gates. Well done.
I also had to ask Bob about the Michael Jackson butter sculpture and the flap that created. "It was all staff driven. The last thing we knew was that the theme was going to be "Field of Dreams" and somehow it ended up being about the Moon Landing complete with a Michael Jackson doing the "moon walk". They did that and we caught the grief." The State Fair Staff opened it up for a vote by Iowan's. And the issue was smacked down 66% opposed to an Butter Michael and 32% approving. Funny how things happen huh?
The Iowa State Fair is a great place to be...with or without an Iowa Flag or a State Fair Board Member pin. Ask Edward Lewis or any number of his 999,999+ friends.