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Iowa State Fair Kicks Off

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DES MOINES, Iowa - The 158th Iowa State Fair kicked off Thursday morning.

Organizers said this year's fair will have no shortage of activities, butter sculputures and fried food.

Health took center stage for the opening ceremony.

Hundreds gathered on the grand concourse for a number of healthy activities. The biggest and most anticipated was Iowa's largest ZUMBA class, which is a Latin-inspired, dance fitness program.

An instructor showed fairgoers how to jig and dance to burn some extra calories. Jodie Chadima, of Swisher, said it was a great way to start the fair.

"I've done it a few times in Cedar Rapids. I did it a few times and had fun. I might look ridiculous but the main thing is to keep going and have fun," Chadima said.

The healthy activities were organized in an effort to promote Governor Branstad's Healthiest State Initiative. He wants to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation in five years.

On the flip side of things, some come to the fair for fried, greasy food on a stick and this year, the buzz is about bacon.

Fairgoers can fill their bacon fix with the double bacon corn dog from Campbell's Concessions.

Owner, Eric Campbell, said he wanted to create something new.

"We've had corn dogs since 1954 and with all the Texas State Fair and Minnesota State Fair coming up with neat ideas, I said what can we do with a corn dog?" Campbell said.

He cooked up a hot dog wrapped in bacon, dipped in bacon bit batter and deep fried.

"I think it will be pretty cool. I can tell you this, we already have 12,000 of them stuck and we're hoping we'll be out of them in the next couple of days."

Campbell said his crew started preparing the double bacon corn dogs four days ago. The stand opened at 8:45 a.m. Thursday, and immediately a line formed for the new bacon creation.

For 101 years now, Iowans have enjoyed the sculpting of butter cows.

People lined up to wait for fair workers to open the Agriculture Building at 9:00 a.m. Thursday.

The crowd rushed in to see the long-standing tradition of the butter cow behind a glass cooler window. The creator uses 600 pounds of butter.

A buttery display of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs sat next to the cow as the companion sculpture this year.

But that's not the only life-size food sculpture you'll see at the fair this year.

"Over in the food building you're going to see an 11 foot chocolate moose. The food people are kind of rivaling the agriculture building people with which one is better, the butter cow or the chocolate moose," said Iowa State Fair CEO Gary Slater.

The chocolate moose is made of hundreds of pounds of dutch chocolate. It was carved by hand and took about nine weeks to make.

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