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Things are ducky at State Fair

By Staff | Aug 16, 2019

-Farm News photo by Kriss Nelson Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds visits with Webster County Fair Queen Samantha Alphs at the Iowa State Fair on Thursday. Alphs said she was excited to be representing Webster County and all of the fun that comes along with being a part of the Iowa State Fair Queen contest.



DES MOINES – From visiting with the governor, the poultry show, fashion shows, Share the Fun, educational presentations, working exhibits and more, Webster County was well represented at the opening day of the Iowa State Fair last week.


Samantha Alphs, reigning Webster County Fair queen, is spent the week at the Iowa State Fair participating in a variety of activities gearing up for potentially being crowned Iowa State Fair queen on Saturday.

Anna Lewandoski, of Fort Dodge, prepares one of her ducks for the poultry show last Thursday at the Iowa State Fair.

Last Thursday, Alphs had the opportunity to meet Gov. Kim Reynolds before a historical walking tour of the fair.

Fun for Alphs started Wednesday night at the Iowa State Fair parade in Des Moines and continued with group and individual interviews, more activities at the fair and attending a Maddie Poppe concert.

Alphs was excited to be participating in the queen contest at the Iowa State Fair as the Webster County Fair queen.

“I am proud to represent Webster County,” she said. “Nothing compares to the Iowa State Fair.”

Showing feather friends and more

Kelsey Nelson of Manson works with her Quarter horse, Sophia before showing at the Iowa State Fair last week.

The poultry show and Share the Fun competition was the focus of Anna Lewandowski’s day on Thursday.

Lewandowski, 18, a recent graduate of Harvest Baptist School in Fort Dodge and a member of the Son Rays 4-H Club, was hoping to pack as much fun into her last year of competition at the Iowa State Fair.

“I really enjoy doing it,” she said. “I like the different competition and it’s just fun to show off your birds. The fun never stops.”

Lewandowski said she has been competing in the open 4-H poultry classes for the past four years and in addition to showing her goose, ducks and chickens on Thursday, also competed in the Share the Fun contest that afternoon as well.

For her noon performance in the Share the Fun contest, Lewandowski played “We Write the Stars” from the movie “The Greatest Showman” on the piano – an instrument she has been playing for 10 years and taking lessons on for eight years now.

“I think it’s an honor to be selected from our county to represent it at the Share the Fun contest,” she said, adding this is her third year being selected to compete.

Lewandowski will be showing her rabbits and pigeons at the Iowa State Fair later this week.

Horsing around

Kelsey Nelson, 17, of Manson, an incoming junior at Manson Northwest Webster High School, has already had a busy week of competition at the Iowa State Fair.

Earlier last week, Nelson and her quarter horse, Sophia, took to the arena and earned purple ribbons in horsemanship and trail and blue ribbons in the hunt seat and halter classes.

Nelson continued her participation at the state level by competing in the walk trot and western pleasure classes on opening day of the fair.

Although her 2019 Iowa State Fair experience has been full of awards so far, Nelson said she doesn’t do it expecting a win.

“I like to show my horse all year round, I have grown up with them,” she said. “There is some tough competition at the Iowa State Fair, but I just go do it to have fun.”

Educational Presentations

Sasha Hess, 12, from Fort Dodge, and Nathan Rethwisch, 17, also from Fort Dodge, took to the stage at the Iowa State Fair on last Thursday with their Educational Presentations.

Hess’ Educational Presentation was on “laughter” where she discussed what laughter is, what happens when people laugh and the benefits, as well as disadvantages of laughter.

“Laughter is our response to something funny like humor, obviously but, humans use laughter sometimes unconsciously and it helps humans bond together,” she said, adding that animals also have the ability to laugh.

Hess said laughter helps people grow closer together and has some benefits to our health, but there are also some downsides to laughter.

“It can increase your heart rate and blood pressure and it can kill you by suffocation because you can’t breathe,” she said.

Did Hess attempt to make her audience laugh?

“I’m not very good at telling jokes,” she said, adding she chose the subject of laughter because she thinks it is interesting and she laughs a lot with her friends.

This was Hess’ second year for an Education Presentation at the Iowa State Fair and it was one she felt better prepared for.

“Last year, I remember being really tired, so we came here and stayed the night so we wouldn’t have to drive here in the morning,” she said.

She also enjoys the competition at the Iowa State Fair.

“It’s fun and it allows me to get another opinion from another judge which helps me with my presentations more,” she said.

Rethwisch’s Educational Presentation was about the missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370.

“I had recently went on a plane for the first time and I was very interested in aviation safety and I had saw a YouTube video about this event and was very interested in what happened,” he said.

The aircraft went missing, without a trace in 2014. Its disappearance, Rethwisch said, led to a lot of improvements to aviation safety laws.

During his presentation, Rethwisch provided his view on what happened to the plane, different conspiracy theories and expanded on the impact it had on aviation safety.

“Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 has caused a massive impact to aviation safety and one of the main things is the global aeronautics distress and safety system which improves the tracking from every 30 minutes to every minute,” he said.

Rethwisch said he has given an Educational Presentation at the Iowa State Fair multiple times.

“It’s always a great honor to represent Webster County at the Iowa State Fair,” he said.

The Iowa State Fair continues through Aug. 18.

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