DES MOINES, Iowa- The Iowa Polka Association has been sponsoring dances for that genre around Iowa since 1976. Today, they gave a special guest a lesson on how to Polka dance.

Governor Kim Reynolds stopped by Pioneer Hall for the Polka event on Thursday. She had lessons and gave it a whirl with a teacher for one song.

“Well I’m telling you, that’s a workout,” said Reynolds. “I had a great teacher he got me through that in great shape, so so much fun.” 

Don Judish, of Clive was the Governor’s teacher.

“Outstanding, I told her how to do it, once around the floor she knew exactly how to do it,” said Judish.

Today was also a day for the State Fair Yodeling Contest. Riley Randall, of Melbourne, won first place. She tried some of her yodeling at her school, West Marshall, and the kids loved it, so she decided to compete at the State Fair.

“I saw the Walmart yodeling boy on the Internet, so I decided I was going to try that,” said Randall. “One day figured out how to do it and then I looked up a bunch of videos of other people doing it.” 

Ron Christiansen, of Carlisle, has been a model builder his whole life. The retired Air Guard machinist used his skills to build a detailed working model of a machine shop from the 20s and 30s, complete with a small engine powering belts and machines in the shop.

“On this side of the chore house where you wash your clothes it’s got a well pump, corn grinder, corn sheller, on the side is the blacksmith shop with the hacksaw, drill, hammer, and grinder,” said Christiansen.

This year marks the 100th anniversary of Ye Olde Mill. For some there are memories of the olden days here.

“When I first started going on it only cost a quarter, you could ride it for a quarter,” said Karen McNaney, of Des Moines. “It was for boyfriends and girlfriends, the guys used to kiss you in there when it was real dark.”

The thrill parks this year were dedicated to the memory of Steve Smith.

“In 1971 Smith of Stratford purchased his first hot dog stand and that later went on to become Smith’s Amusements. Smith and his wife Vicki are credited with helping the Iowa State Fair start it’s own independent midway in 2017.

Smith passed away on May 28th of this year