The Iowa State Fair: Where It’s Always About the Food

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The Iowa State Fair was all about Food on Tuesday.

Ed Podolak’s Mother’s Chili Contest was happening at the Elwell Food Building, and the Farm Bureau Cookout Contest offered lots of free samples while judges talked to contestants.

“Sister-in-law passed away last month, of a massive heart attack unexpectedly,” said Robert Jones of Hardin County. “She loves peaches, she loves chicken breast, I decided to cook it in honor for her.”

Channel 13's Ed Wilson served as a judge, along with Kyle Munson of the Des Moines Register.

At the West Des Moines United Methodist Church, there were hundreds of customers waiting to eat throughout a good part of the morning. The stand is the last church-operated food stand at the fair. They need at least 225 volunteers to run the operation, and plan to serve at least 360 gallons of gravy.

“We do, we have some very loyal customers,” said Ken Ferguson, one of the co-chairs of the operation. “I talked to some people who’ve been coming here for 40 years.”

The church started the stand in 1949.