Seeing a cow sculpted out of 600 lbs. of butter may not qualify as one of the 1,000 things to do before you die, but it's nicely representative of the kitschy fun to be had at the Iowa State Fair. The annual heartland hoedown attracts more than a million visitors each year, and people come from all over the state to compete in strange events such as the pigtail contest, an outhouse race and something called a "tall corn contest." There's also food, of course, including fried pineapple, bratwursts, elephant ears, corn dogs, turkey legs and fried Oreos. Lest you risk keeling over dead from heart disease, it's a good thing the fair happens just once a year.
Admission: $10 adults, $4 children.