RAGBRAI and the Fair, 7-27-22

Today was the textile judging at the fair as well as the day that RAGBRAI went through our community on their way to the overnight stop in Mason City. I’m going to assume that many of you are not familiar with RAGBRAI. RAGBRAI stands for the Register’s Great Bike Ride Across Iowa, thus named by founders Donald Kaul and John Karras, editors at the Des Moines Register 49 years ago.

“RAGBRAI is more than just a bike ride, it is an epic 8 day rolling festival of bicycles, music, food, camaraderie and community. It is the oldest, largest and longest multi-day bicycle touring event in the world.” (Taken from online)

These three riders showed up at the fair today to see Blanche, a Britt resident.

The judging was taking place across the room and when I turned around and saw these guys I just knew I had to include their picture in the blog. The other 18,000 riders were elsewhere – ha!

On they rode to Mason City making today’s ride of 105 miles the longest of the week. Add 18,000 bike riders to any town’s population for an overnight stay and you’ve got controlled pandemonium and ….FUN!!!

After the quilt judging I went to see the poultry and rabbits. I saw three very large hens in a small square wire cage without enough room to turn around in much less get a drink, eat,or sleep. I couldn’t stand it so I left. On my way out of the building I did see a rooster alone in a much bigger cage, a small duck in a large cage, too. So how did he get so lucky?

I honestly don’t do well at the animal exhibits. They also bring in a tiger show that I refuse to look at! It’s all inhumane if you ask me – but of course, nobody gives a rip what I think so I just stay away.

Reader quilts:

Color Parade fabric from many years ago
This is how I’m using Color Parade

Sewing squares together is always rewarding in my book.

I’ll close with another collection in a cupboard.

47 thoughts on “RAGBRAI and the Fair, 7-27-22

  1. Diane,Squeak, Buddy in Central Ohio

    Wow! Lots on the blog two times today😀. That race sounds very interesting. My husband used to do the TOSRV. Tour if Scioto River Valley. It is neat to see the bikers at the Quikts😀. I can’t see the animals either. I don’t think Ohio allows wild animals to be dragged around the state like that. Awful🤬. I do enjoy seeing the horses. We saw a one day old miniature horse one time-so tiny😀. Great reader quilts, too, and I love your colorful squares and porcelain dog collection.

  2. Sandy

    Hi Mary, those dogs are adorable! I don’t like the way some people treat animals, maybe your pet rescue group can work with the fair committee to make better conditions for the exhibits.l hope you are getting cooler weather, we have had a lot of rain lately,take care everyone, best wishes from Sandy

  3. Mary H

    My husband and my oldest son and his wife are on RAGBRAI. Beautiful weather. Jacob and Alison ride a tandem. They are both over 6 feet and strong. They did 105 miles in 5.5 hours. They are all having fun and meeting folks from all over the country. And I am enjoying myself @ home!
    So terrific that you do the quilt display.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Mary H – Holy Smokes! 5.5 hours Emmetsburg to MC – that is unbelievable, Mary – I hope they’re having a ball!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Marie C – the terrier with the red collar is a Steiff dog.

  4. Margaret

    Great pictures of everything—especially the dogs in the cupboard! Thanks Mary for treating with a trip to the fair.

  5. Kathy in western NY

    I am with you totally on the animals at these fairs and it’s not the most humane conditions for them. I don’t even go now.
    Your doggie collection is so adorable!!! I have some tiny clear glass animals I started collecting in my youth and still have them out. I even have a tiny glass bird bath we bought on our honeymoon in Cooperstown NY area.
    Love seeing the pink projects – what a good idea. All the pictures are nice you share with us.
    A large group of bicyclists from all over travel NYS along the Erie Canal each year and the stops in the villages really help the businesses. Me I would have the energy to bike to the end of my driveway and call it quits.

  6. Beryl BC

    I rode RAGBRAI when it was just 5 years old. It was fun then; I think it might be too much of a crowd for me now. I also rode TOSRV at about that same time. They are similar rides with many people riding. RAGBRAI was different as it was a week long and there were so many towns along the route. Every town had its 4-H club or church women’s group or junior class, etc, out selling some sort of food. It’s known as the ride one can eat all across the state. Many towns also provide musical entertainment. (My husband and I also ride a tandem bike; we used to be fast like Mary H’s son and wife. Not so fast any more.) How fun that some of the cyclists made their way to the fair and the quilts.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Beryl BC – I think it has gotten professional and that casual riders are not as likely to try it. So much training involved, etc. You should have seen Britt’s Main Street! Filled with people and buses even when I left the fairgrounds – simply amazing!

  7. Sherry Whalen

    RAGBRAI is so amazing to witness. It has stopped in Cresco a few times, I’ve helped with a food stand as a fund raiser once – and it was a lot of work but so much fun to see. We’ve also visited 2 other times when they came thru Cresco. I think my parents had bikers sleep in their house, camper and in their yard every time, and it has always been a great experience.

    I have to agree with some of the animal shows. Many times we walk thru the cattle barns and my heart melts when I see one of the cattle sleeping and here is the ‘handler’ (usually a preteen or teen) sleeping with the animal with his or her head using that animal for a pillow, so I know they are cared for and loved. I know that if they are showing animals they have spent time with these animals – well at least they should have! We (Al our son and DIL with 3 grandsons) did witness an adult trying to make a black angus yearling move – pulling, coaxing, pulling and a woman pushing etc and it wasn’t working. Al commented to me that ‘well I don’t think at the fair is when you should start working with your animal’. Our DIL pipes up and says ‘oh Phil(3 yo grandson) that looks like you when we are trying to leave the house in the morning!’ Definitely hilarious, because ya…I’ve witnessed that 3yo lol.

    And I also refuse to go to circuses or animal shows at fairs. They are usually sketchy. I can remember as a child going to a circus and I was appalled! The elephants were chained and other animals were caged and my child mind thought it was cruel and humiliating for them even though I really didn’t know what that word was. I also was taken to Como zoo in the early ’60s and the animals were in tiny cages and I cried because they looked so sad. I know zoos are better now and do a lot of rescue and preservation….but zoos are not my thing and circuses are a big NO.

    It looks like you’ll have spectacular weather for your fair – we did too. For the first time in several years, not a single rain out! Enjoy the rest of the week!

  8. Melody Lenart

    Love your dog collection. I had very small collection of dogs then. All I have left is two. I have them on display in my mother’s old China Cabinet. I might be brave and try tosend Photo to you. I enjoy sewing your patterns and reading your scratch. Especially the farm animals. Also all the pups and kitties.

  9. Dee Winter

    I love your collections. Please keep sharing. Makes me feel better about my collections. I don’t do the animals much unless it’s the petting zoo and then it’s to be sure they are fed. We went to the petting zoo in Waterloo, I bought the kids food to feed the animals and the attendant gave me change for my bill so I could give each kid money to put in the donation can. She said that later in the day she would go pick her change back out of it but wanted the kids to have the idea of donating! I loved it. Will use that idea again.

  10. Launa

    Great pictures today., Mary!
    Enjoyed seeing the bicycles n riders! So many!
    The quilts in progress and finished quilts are so nice as well! Lots of eye candy today!

  11. Tina H

    I found out about RAGBRAI last year from YouToubers I watch, Kara and Nate. They documented the entire trip…looked like a lot of fun.

  12. Sharyn Resvick

    I’ve done RAGBRAI three times. It was the most challenging thing I’ve done. But It’s just a riot. A guy from FL I talked with one morning along the route said he told his family and friends he ran away and joined the circus for a week. Another guy said he has done RAGBRAI 20 some times because each year his week in small town Iowa renews his faith in mankind again. (Because of the kindness of the people. I agree.)

  13. Diana Stanfill

    I have 2 friends who ride in Ragbrai every year from Eldridge Iowa. I seen them in the picture! Haha, not really. Take care. As usual, I love your blog and all the quilts!!

    Diana from Dover Florida.

  14. Gretchen

    Af far as the animals exhibited at the fair, it’s the parents responsibility to teach the children to care for their animals. Our children learned that caring for their animals came first before they did anything else at the fair. Not all parents are as diligent in teaching their children as they should be.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Gretchen – they have learned this type of “care” at home. I’m very critical of animal care so I’m probably not the person who should speak up.

  15. Donna Campbell

    Mary, I love your pup collection! My son was at Ragbrai this year. He loves it.

  16. Claire Vandenberg

    How fun! Thanks for your opinion. It’s so sad that soon these may be the tigers that save the species from extinction. Let’s hope they get seized and it betters their lives.

  17. Cynthia from SW Minnesota

    Hello Mary! I enjoyed your blog and photos today! It was fun to see the bicyclists! I thought the quilt projects were wonderful as well, I wonder if the senders might also tell us the name of the pattern of their projects as well! I will send a couple of photos of my latest projects just back from the quilter as well! Our weather in SW corner of Minnesota has been so wonderful, we do need rain tho. I love your updates, and the fair in Britt sounds wonderful! A few years ago there was a bicycle group that rode thru Marshall and they stayed at the park in town. It is something I don’t hear much about in Minnesota, glad Iowa’s is going strong!

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Cynthia – you can ask the name of the pattern in the comments and the maker can answer there. I simply can’t keep all that information in my head to transfer it to the blog.

  18. Wendy on Cape Cod

    I agree Mary – the pictures today were wonderful. I would love to know the name of the pattern with the watering can. i love it! Thanks for sharing all your collections with us too.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Wendy – the watering can is from our book Garden Club and I’d be happy to copy those pages and send them to you for $5 and a SASE.

      1. Lynn In Scottsdale

        All the quilts are wonderful, but the cute watering can quilt made me smile. Thanks for sharing , and thank you Mary for all you do.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Debbie – I sort of just created it so I’m not sure it’s even a pattern. If the quilt turns out ok I’ll write it up as a $5 pattern. It’s now waiting to be quilted.

  19. Mrs. Goodneedle

    As a former reader of The Goat Gazette I recall RAGBRAI being an annual event. Didn’t Connie’s husband and/or son participate back then? I share your feelings about animals in cages. I love that Tshirt quilt behind your friend! Your little dogs cabinet is so cute; what treasures it contains! ❤️

  20. Susy Boyer

    Thank you for explaining the history of RAGBRAI. It looks like a fun ride to participate in.
    Thanks always Mary for your blog.
    Susy in San Diego

  21. Susan K in Texas

    What fun with the bikes!

    I agree on the animals – it used to be my favorite part of the fair. To see so many chickens in such a small cage would break my heart. The Texas state fair is on October but it is often hot and the animal barns aren’t well ventilated. I always feel for the animals being in a stuffy barn.
    There is a wild animal rescue place in Arkansas called Turpentine Creek Wildlife Refuge. They rescue tigers, bears, lions, etc. Some are from individuals who wanted a cool pet. Others are from tiger petting shows and such. Some tigers have been bred with lions making “ligers” and such. Humans can be so cruel to these animals removing teeth and claws. The babies are taken from their mothers young so they can be used for pictures and petting. So many have health issues.
    As you can see animals and their welfare is one of my passions. Just as I know it is yours too!

  22. Jan Hebert

    What a fun bike ride that must be! We have “Bike Week” but it’s loud mostly Harley Davidson’s riding around our beautiful Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire for a week of roudy fun. Not my idea of fun but they do look like they’re having fun in the news reel footage we see. I stay away from the lake on that week, haha! And then we have The Topsfield Fair in October. We used to work the fair – either in our church’s booth that has wonderful turkey dinners and homemade brown bread that the church membership would cook in their homes. Haven’t done that for years but it was fun when we did. And we worked there when we owned The Quilted Acorn (which is where I learned about Country Threads!) demonstrating some of the things we taught at the shop for the fairgoers. Those were fun times but I agree with you about the animals. I can’t go see the exhibits any more – but I have to say that that is the prettiest duck I’ve ever seen! What kind is that? Does anyone know? Oh! And your dog display – I just love it! And the “pink” quilts – so cute!! Jan in MA

      1. Jan Hebert

        Mary – Yes! For a few years. It was in Georgetown when my husband and I bought it from Mary Robinson and Sandy (can’t remember her last name). Do you remember it? I absolutely loved owning that shop. We sold it eventually to Sandy, Cynthia and Sue and eventually it was just Sandy and Cynthia. It’s closed now, sadly. Jan

        1. Mary Etherington Post author

          Jan Hebert – I remember the Quilted Acorn – recently I threw away my first “accounts” book but I’m quite sure Quilted Acorn was listed. Small world once again. But…maybe there was another QA?

  23. Donna di Natale

    Did you report the animal cage issues to the powers that be at the fair? Such conditions should not be allowed.

  24. Paula S.

    I love the dogs in the cabinet. Terriers! Oh, how I miss my cairn terrier, Riley. He’s was the best little companion!

  25. Amy Kollasch

    I usually only go to the horse and cow buildings at the fair as far as animals go and the buildings for vendors and the exhibis. My son loves to look at the tractors and the little red barn in Algona and my husband goes for the steak sandwiches. No rides or anything else. I remember going to the fair as a kid and staying from the time it opened to when it closed. There really isn’t much at tge fairs anymore.

    1. Mary Etherington Post author

      Amy – I agree there’s not much at the fair these days but is that because as kids it looked like so much more – everything was BIG, exciting, and a huge adventure because we didn’t get to many events as kids.

      1. Amy Kollasch

        I was thinking the same thing. Everything seemed so much bigger when we are small.

  26. Sherrill

    We have the Hotter N Hell 100 here (www.hh100.org) and it IS usually just about that hot in August!! Sounds like ours has a few 1,000 fewer than yours but still pretty darned big (I personally think they’re all crazy–LOL). I do love all your little dog figurines!!

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