Thursday, August 14, 2008

Campground culture thrives at Iowa State Fair

DesMoinesRegister.com - Des Moines,IA,USA
To some, the campground is a vacation oasis, the air thick with food, friendship, parties. Others think it would stink because more than 10,000 people sandwich together in a teeming, noisy camp.

It is a curiosity, no doubt, in its 124th year. In 1885, fair officials declared that "special grounds be designated for camping purposes within the Fair Grounds free of charge."

Today, a week at the fair runs a camper $375, if one requires electric and sewer. Most do.

Fair officials like to brag that it becomes Iowa's 10th-largest city with as many as 13,000 people packing into 160 acres. In 2004, a record was set: 3,845 campsites were reserved, while on the first day of this year's fair the number stood at 2,527.

It can get so hard to snag a site that overflow areas are created. Last year, only three sites were given up, although this year 47 opted out as weekly prices rose $60.

Susie McCubbin started out in overflow seven years ago. It took her that long to gradually move up to better spots, now just a couple hundred yards from the campground entrance.

Why the low turnover? Her husband, Jim, doesn't hesitate, looking almost puzzled: "It's the fair."
Full Story...
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