My first full day at the Iowa State Fair is in the books for 2015. I don’t know where to set the expectations bar at the ISF lately. In 2012 and 2013, I had a few very bleak days but then last year I went there three times and all were great, particularly the first day. This year was unfortunately closer to 2012 and 2013, although a tick or two better than both of those. There were no dead points yesterday where I went an hour or more between sightings as I did on occasion in 2012 and 2013. And I scored a reasonable number of extra base hits although only one bona fide homerun. Numberswise, I scored 122 sightings which is a pretty decent number for 12 hours at the Iowa State Fair. There were some disturbing trendlines though in that only a few of those 122 sightings were of girls under 21. You can’t push the panic button based on only one day but there’s a pattern here indicating that a vanishingly small number of high school girls smoke, at least outside of an occasional social setting. And if they continue to not smoke into young adulthood, my fair adventures are poised to produce stingier and stingier dividends.
Moving onto specifics, I got to the shuttle bus area Saturday morning around 10:30 and was struck by the crowd, which was the largest I had seen on a given Saturday heading to the fair. That was a little surprising since it was supposed to get to 92 degrees and people tend to try to stay away from the hottest days at the fair. Generally speaking, a large crowd is good news. The more people at the fair, the more of them are likely to be young female smokers. But the long line seemed poised to delay my entry onto the fairgrounds. The line moved quickly though and I boarded the shuttle bus and arrived at the fairgrounds before 11:30, not much later than usual but it was clear even before noon that I was in for a very hot day at the fair. In the last couple of years, the Saturday morning hours at the fair have been pretty fruitless and I prepared myself for a lengthy dry spell before finding something worthwhile, so when I approached a bench on the concourse less than two minutes after arrival I tried not to get my hopes up when I saw a dark blond mid-20s beauty sitting next to her boyfriend and digging into her purse. But I’ll be damned if she didn’t pull out a pack of cigarettes and become Sighting #1! Now her brand was the less than enthralling USA Golds but nonetheless what an impressive find so early in the day, a very attractive blond in sunglasses decked out in a black tanktop and jean shorts sitting there puffing away in the presence of her nonsmoking boyfriend. My new camera phone is schizophrenic and sometimes I think I’m taking pics only later to discover I really wasn’t–or at least took far fewer than I thought I had–but I think I may have gotten the best pic of the entire day of her in mid-drag. And it was a pretty good show as I watched her smoking with solid drags and exhales. She retired the cigarette a little earlier than I would have preferred but it was a far better start to the day than I anticipated.
And in the coming hour I actually maintained a pretty respectable pace, getting on the board quite a bit more often than I did the year before at that time. As I ascended the hill on the east side I found a blond mid-20s mommy pushing a stroller that set my radar off. She wasn’t overly attractive but her boyfriend was “vaping” on an e-cigarette and I wondered what the woman’s smoking status was. I went back down the east hill a couple of minutes later to find that mom was smoking a freshly lit cigarette this time and became Sighting #4. At least a half dozen times I’ve seen a female smoker in the company of male “vaper” in the last couple of years and I’m impressed the trend continues. I saw a few more “vapers” yesterday than I did at the county fair a week earlier but was only denied a couple of good sightings because of vaping so either my part of the country is behind the curve or the shift towards “vaping” is considerably overblown.
The bathroom area at the edge of the midway produced a ton of sightings yesterday, and being in the afternoon shade contributed a lot towards that. The first sightings of consequence were Sightings #5 and #6, a duo of early 20s gals enjoying a cigarette before progressing into the midway. One girl was chubby and barely qualified but the other was an attractive blond in pink shorts and a white tanktop who very much got me excited. I watched her take a couple of drags and thought I had snapped a couple pics of her but checked my “gallery” to discover I hadn’t. This phone is gonna screw me out of some of the most perfect pics I ever thought I took. I did watch the girls crush out their cigarettes before pressing forward into the midway though. They were both smoking Camel Crushes.
Sighting #8 came on the south side in front of the cattle building. It was a light brunette mid-20s gal in a tanktop and jean shorts who was attractive but a little chubbier than I prefer puffing on an all-white that I could tell by the colors was a Camel Light Menthol. As I watched her, I could see she was making eyes with somebody either inside or just outside the cattle building while continuing to smoke her cigarette. After a couple of minutes, a middle-aged woman came out and began talking to her, and it was pretty clear that it was her nonsmoking mom, who continued chatting as her daughter ingested toxic cigarette smoke into her body. But the kicker came last as a middle-aged man emerged who appeared to be her father. The family was preparing to walk away but daughter wasn’t quite done with her cigarette. She took an impressive double drag where she was still exhaling a substantial stream of smoke from the first drag while taking the second drag. And dad happened to walk right into it as she did. Great stuff.
The role was reversed for Sighting #11, my first sighting on the midway. A blond mommy who was quite attractive even though I could tell she was in her 30s was standing outside this Super Shot ride that catapults riders into the air. She had a cigarette in hand as she looked up admiringly to what I assumed was her kid on the ride and it was good fun seeing the joy in her eyes as took drags from the cigarettes while watching. But when the ride emptied out, I saw there were more people to her party than I assumed. Out came a 30-something father, a young boy about 8 or 9, and a mid-teen brunette daughter with an incredible body in a fringy tanktop and jean shorts. Mom was still smoking and passing the cigarette to dad on occasion. What I wouldn’t have given to see the teen daughter get her hands on that cigarette as it would have been my sighting of the day, and I followed till the cigarette was dispensed with just in case the daughter did take a drag, but alas it never happened.
Sighting #12 was another one on the edge of the midway area with a pretty early 20s blond smoking with her boyfriend. She was very attractive and a nice smoker but I would have felt much better about the sighting if her arm wasn’t covered in a grotesque multicolored tattoo. More so than e-cigs, one of the killers of the fetish for me is how many young women insist on covering their well-toned flesh in genuinely nasty tattoo ink. It was bad enough 15 years ago when the tattoo trend among young women was first starting, but back then the tattoos were generally modest and limited. Now they feel the need to cover large portions of their body. She wouldn’t be the last girl of the day whose sighting was short-circuited some by tattoos.
I had a frustrating near miss near the center of the grounds in the mid-afternoon when I spotted an attractive early 20s blond and brunette duo and saw the brunette crushing out an all-white cigarette that she had just finished. As they began to walk away I checked out the spot where they stood and saw two recently crushed-out butts and figured I just missed the friend smoking too. They were walking along the deck of this building in the center of the grounds and I followed, attempting to shoot some rear photos of their wonderful jean shorts-draped backsides but apparently I screwed them all up as none of the photos took. The blond was pretty attractive but the brunette was the stunner of the duo, her long, curly dark brown hair going all the way down her back with a little ponytail up top. She was carrying a pack of Marlboro Lights in hand, enough to qualify her as Sighting #18 even though I missed her show, and I felt it was a nice consolation prize to check out their asses in their summery tanktop and jean shorts attire as I followed. Disappointing first phase to this story but it has a happy ending much later in the day.
I got a few mother-daughter sightings yesterday, although nothing too groundbreaking. My first came in mid-afternoon, moments after the previous girl, when a 21ish ponytailed light brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts (common ensemble lately) stood next to a tree smoking with her mom. From afar, the girl looked sexy, and while her tanktop and jean shorts were a common ensemble, the pair of carnival bunny ears resting atop her head certainly were not and added a little spice to the proceedings. Unfortunately upclose mom and daughter looked pretty trashy. The daughter wasn’t nearly as good-looking when I got closer, particularly when seeing her stained, Chicklet-like teeth. She was still good enough for Sighting #19 though, and bonus points to the daughter for finishing her cigarette before mom.
One of my biggest disappointments yesterday came with Sighting #21, or at least the sighting poised to become Sighting #21. An early 20s brunette in a white tanktop and black shorts stepped out of a commercial building on the grounds as I walked past and the second I laid eyes on her I pegged her as a smoker. And sure enough, she quickly began opening her purse and out came a lighter and was soon followed by a cigarette. A boyfriend accompanied her, and I was elated to discern he was likely another nonsmoking boyfriend as they progressed with only her in possession of that sole cigarette. And that’s when things went horribly wrong. There’s this densely packed display of RVs just to their north and the couple walked inside the display. I couldn’t follow without telling on myself so it was a matter of trying to predict where they’d come out. I circled around the area for about five minutes and saw no trace of them, nor did I see them again yesterday. Sometimes a would-be sighting just goes this way but what a weird way to lose what would have been my best sighting so far that day.
I made up for it about 10 minutes later on the outskirts of a building on the east side of the grounds where the shadows were creating a patch of shade in an area that has produced plenty of strong sightings in the past. A family (or pair of families) sat there enjoying the shade and I took a shine to a mid-20s dark blond in a flower-print top, jean shorts, and sunglasses. She was very attractive and looked like a smoker. As I walked across from her, sure enough….there was a pack of Marlboro Light Menthols on the pavement next to her. Now it was a matter of how long I was gonna wait in a fairly awkward location to see if she was gonna light up. It was entirely possible that she already had and I missed it, but I just had a feeling there would be a reward to this one if I had a little patience. I ended up lurking in the general area but doing some exploration within eyeshot of where they sat so I wouldn’t be too far away. And I got my reward when I returned and saw her and another middle-aged gal in her group (not her mother I don’t think) smoking one of the Marlboro Light Menthols, officially making her Sighting #23. By this point, a boyfriend/husband had surfaced and, once again, he appeared to not be a smoker but has nonetheless chosen to bed down with a smelly young addicted female. Her style was relatively average but I got a pretty decent photo of her with cigarette in hand. Unfortunately, the show ended too soon as she crushed out the half-smoked cigarette, putting it back in the pack to finish off later. She walked away with the husband/boyfriend in hand, and I was hoping he was at least a little bit elated of how stinky she must be carrying that crushed-out cigarette in a pack in her hand.
Another mother-daughter sighting came with Sighting #27, which took place in the center of the grounds in between two bars just off the concourse where a cluster of port-a-potties produces a crowd. Standing next to the port-a-potties was an unattractive late 40s gal, but kneeling next to her was a 21ish redhead who was smoking and an 18ish light brunette who was not. The redhead was decently attractive but certainly not one of my best finds of the day. The family dynamic here was cute and I sat on an empty milk crate just across from them. I have no excuse for not getting good photos here but for whatever reason none of my photo attempts took. It was the damndest thing. The sighting did have one colorful moment. The spot where the women were standing/kneeling was just underneath the second floor of an open-air fairgrounds bar and somebody from up there apparently dumped out the remains of a drink. It missed the mother-daughter smoker tandem but barely as ice came crashing down directly in front of them. Anyway, the daughter crushed out her cigarette and held onto it till she found the next garbage moments later and so endeth the sighting.
One of the first girls of the day whose pedigree generally impressed was Sighting #32. Moving northward on the south side of the grounds was an attractive early 20s couple that included a gorgeous long haired blond with fiery red flares at the tips, decked out in a white tanktop and jean shorts. She was easily the hottest smoker girl I’d seen yet so far yesterday, and my timing was great as she and the boyfriend had just lit up. I followed and frantically took photos capturing her outstanding body with her cigarette held in her fingers right next to her ass. I got several ass photos and took a risk moving to their side and scoring a side view that captures at least some of her pretty face. The boyfriend seemed a little “bad boy” but in general seemed like he was worthy of her. The couple was proceeding towards the east exit and were apparently heading to their car for something as they got their hands stamped so they could return inside. It was fun to continue following en route to the gate and be able to breathe in some of her glorious exhales, typically turning her head to the left to expel her toxic smoke into the crowd even though I didn’t see any direct hits into the faces of other fairgoers. I didn’t really want to leave the fairgrounds, even with a stamp allowing me to come back in, so as the couple fast approached the gate I was getting concerned that she would take the cigarette out the gate with her and deny me the butt ID. She didn’t though, smoking the cigarette down to nearly the filter but dropping it to the pavement without crushing it out on the ramp towards the exit. Her brand was a Camel Light Menthol. The sighting didn’t have a storyline worthy of my greatest hits, but thus far yesterday, she was the best find I had scored and a solid triple that was a good boost to my morale.
And in the final minute or so in the pursuit of the last girl, I passed something else that had great potential and that I was hoping to see more of. A group of late teens were seated in the shade and there was a girl who looked quite young lighting up a cigarette amongst them. She had blue hair which immediately informed me that she was not likely the kind of Little Miss Wholesome I like most but I turned around and found her moments after the previous sighting ended. My Sighting #33 girl was easy to spot with the blue hair and as I got a closer look it was clear she was 19 or 20 rather than the 16 she looked from afar. Her body type really screamed mid-teen girl though, decked out in a striped tanktop and tight jeans. She had a couple of stud piercings in her face which didn’t surprise me given her pedigree but also served to limit her sex appeal a bit more. She was sharing her cigarette with the boyfriend sitting next to her, which also took away from the sighting a bit. But when she got her hands on that cigarette and took a drag, everything in the world was fine as her intense drags produced streams of smoke just from the drag even before her very cloudy exhales came from her mouth and nose about five seconds after the drags. I only got to see three drags but they were all sublime. I managed a couple mediocre side photos of her as well where she really looks like a mid-teen girl, but you can’t see much of her face in them. While all of this was going on, it took a couple of minutes to realize there was a decently attractive 19-20ish Asian girl on the other side of my couple (part of the same group) who was also smoking with her boyfriend. I didn’t get much of a chance to see her smoke but she was definitely attractive enough to count as my Sighting #34.
Just as there was some nice afternoon shade in the area at the edge of the midway, there was also a spot just west of a fairgrounds bar on the northwest side of the grounds where I saw a handful of smokers on smoke breaks yesterday. The best were different sets of smokers that included a young couple and a mid-30s brunette whose looks were holding up well who was off smoking by herself. The young couple caught my eye first as an early-to-mid 20s blond in a white tanktop and jean shorts was retrieving a pack of Marlboro No. 27s from her purse. She took a while to light up as her boyfriend was getting a cigarette of his own, giving me time to prepare my camera and get a picture of her in an unlit dangle. Moments later, the cigarettes were lit and she officially became my Sighting #38. On the other side of a loading zone a few feet to the north was Sighting #39, the aforementioned mid-30s brunette sporting a very attractive pair of pink shorts covering her shapely body as she smoked. I let my eyes dart from one to the other and while neither girl’s style blew my mind, they were both attractive smokers and it was nice to be able to cool off in the shade and watch them smoke. I was closest to the younger blond and her boyfriend so I got to see more from her, including her crushing out the Marlboro No. 27 into the corner where she was sitting when she finished it.
I had a bit of momentum at this point and took it with me to the edge of the midway where I’d again hit pay dirt with Sighting #43. I was eyeballing another girl when my attention was stolen completely by a very attractive and wholesome-looking dark brunette in a pink tanktop and dark blue jean shorts wielding a freshly lit cigarette as she exited the midway with an unattractive nonsmoking female friend, some prizes they won in a carnival, and a baby in a stroller. From this girl’s presentation I originally figured she was probably 19 but settled upon more along the lines of 21-22 as I got a closer look, lucky enough to score a couple solid frontal photos, one of which she has cigarette visibly in hand. She was such a perfect feminine specimen to behold, with a beautiful face, a perfect body, and very smooth legs. I got to see some nice drags as well, and particularly when they were proceeding onto the concourse and I followed to see her exhaling thin streams that were undoubtedly choking somebody in the crowd. The boy in the stroller must have been misbehaving because both she and the friend were frequently shouting “Parker!” to scold him for whatever he was saying or doing. Both screamed at him as though they were his mother which I found odd. I suppose it’s possible they were a lesbian couple but they seemed too young to be adoptive parents. Whatever the case, I followed her until she completely squashed out the cork filter cigarette under her heel and was able to ID the cigarette as a Marlboro Menthol. One of my top-five of the day.
I went into the midway soon thereafter and while the midway didn’t deliver anything too extravagant yesterday, I definitely had a moment observing Sighting #47. This young couple featuring a shirtless early 20s guy and a ponytailed blond girlfriend in a black tanktop and turquoise shorts who was wielding a freshly lit cigarette was walking away from a carnival barker when he beckoned them back. The boyfriend must have been trying his best to fend off some male pride but ultimately let his ego get the best of him as he returned to the carnival barker to give the game another try while his pretty blond girlfriend watched him make a fool of himself while she tended to her cigarette. Nothing too spectacular on style points but I really loved how the girl was smoking a cigarette while the guy tried to impress her with a carnival game. It was now after 6 p.m. when photos often tend to get a bit blurry because of the shadows, but I scored a couple of close-up photos of the smoker girl that aren’t too shabby.
It was 7:00 and I had 50 sightings, which is not particularly impressive but is becoming my baseline with generally unproductive Iowa State Fair afternoons coming along far more often than they used to. I was exploring the east side of the grounds, specifically the Susan Knapp Amphitheater where free stage shows are performed in the evening. Tonight’s show started at 8 but there were a few people hovering the general area. Walking into the seating area at the same time as me were two 21ish girls in blouses and shorts, one blond and one brunette. The girls were both attractive but not major head turners. The blond was probably slightly more attractive, wearing a flower-print top and white shorts. Her light brunette friend won the presentation game though with a bare-midriff tanktop exposing several inches of her well-toned belly with jean shorts underneath. The girls sat down in the front row of the bleachers and I just had a feeling about them, sitting down myself a few benches behind to both rest my feet and see if they had anything to offer. The brunette focused my attention when she removed a pack of Marlboro Blacks from her back jeans pocket and placed in on the bleachers. Whether or not they were gonna smoke was an open question but I definitely planned on sticking around a few more minutes to see. The blond put her stuff in the same spot as the cigarette pack and accidentally knocked it to the grass below. This was a useful snafu because once the brunette spotted the pack on the ground, she decided it was a good time for a smoke. Or in this case two smokes. She opened up the pack and I was particularly gleeful when her first move was to hand the first cigarette to the blond. I repositioned myself for rear photos when the brunette placed her own cigarette in her mouth and the two of them proceeded to light up and become Sightings #51 and #52. They were adept smokers as well, with solid drags, long hold times, and cloudy exhales. It was challenging to get a good look since I was seated behind them and there was nowhere to move in front of them, but I made a slow walk in front of them and saw an impressive dangle from the blond. I had to walk away sooner than I preferred, but I got lucky (or half-lucky anyway) later in the night. I was just leaving an evening concert at around 9:45 and heading towards the gates were the same two girls, although only the bare-midriffed brunette was smoking this time. She made eyes with me and I don’t know if the look I got was due to familiarity or whether she was crushing on me (more likely the former!) but I followed at a comfortable distance and watched her finish the cigarette on her way to the gate, with her exhales escaping from her mouth and nose as she walked. I approached her discarded butt and just as the pack from earlier indicated, it was a Marlboro Black.
I maintained a burst of momentum as the 7:00 hour proceeded and near the east side beer gardens I scored what I believe was my youngest smoker girl of the day in Sighting #55. A duo of 17ish girls was walking westward when I spotted a cute long-haired blond with a very girl-next-door sex appeal pulling out a pack of Marlboro Smooths and extracting one. It was so nice to see a high school age girl smoking on a day when such an individual was in short supply, especially one decked out in a very utilitarian black T-shirt and jeans who seemed so unlikely to smoke. The friend didn’t smoke but wasn’t very impressive anyway. The blond was definitely the right girl of this duo to be a smoker. I tried to score some photos as I walked and thought I was succeeding, only to be horrified later when I looked at the early photos I took and saw that nothing turned out. I was so busy taking terrible photos that I didn’t get to study her very closely but I was about to get another chance as the girls drifted to a series of empty benches behind a building. They hadn’t really seen me yet despite my close presence so I sat on the bench next to them without arousing suspicion. The location was a mixed blessing. I scored four pictures from a decent vantage point, one of them of her in mid-drag, but the sun on the western horizon was shining straight into the shot. You can sort of see her face but the imagery is blurred and I never got an image worthy of her. But the upside to this location is the lighting really created atmosphere for her exhales. I was impressed by the extreme cloudiness of the smoke expelled from her mouth and nose, and the backdrop of the bright setting sun really created a dazzling silhouette with the smoke clouds and easily represented the sighting’s high point for me. She still hadn’t finished the cigarette but took off with the friend, hovering on the east side block as if waiting for somebody. I got to see her take a couple more drags before dropping the cigarette to the curb, and after a minute or so drifting away with the friend. It was just a formality to ID the butt since I already saw her pack, but I approached the discarded cork filter and found it was a Marlboro Smooth just as suspected. It was a solid triple and a necessary youth burst on a smoker girl day that was definitely skewing older than usual thus far.
This momentum proceeded into my very next sighting, which would become either my second or third favorite sighting of the day. I was walking down the concourse and spotted a young couple sitting down on a bench that was already one-third occupied by a middle aged guy. I had a good feeling about them and it wouldn’t take long for that feeling to be vindicated as he produced a cigarette each for himself and his girl, an incredibly wholesome 18-19ish light brunette with a tint of strawberry in her hair wearing an ultra-feminine pale pink summer dress that matched her look perfectly. The girl could not have selected an item of clothing that better fit her milieu. She lit up and became Sighting #56, and I was scrambling to score photos from an awkward standing position. The somewhat scruffy boyfriend seemed a little dorky but that made their courtship all the more adorable as they were looking through photos on their own phone in a casual snuggling embrace, sometimes pulling in for some mild PDA that never got more graphic that a quick peck on the lips. Seeing the contrast between this wholesome girl in the little pink dress and that smoldering cigarette between her fingers was substantial enough, and became even more mind-blowing when she took a drag and proceeded to blast the smoke to her right, never invading the space of the guy sitting to her right but certainly close enough that he was smelling her exhaust. I caught a break when the bench immediately parallel to theirs opened up. I took a seat and was able to score some better photos from a closer range, and thankfully the adorable kissing couple was so engrossed in their own photos they weren’t noticing that I was making their image permanent with my own camera work. With sunset approaching, the window for photo-taking of any kind was fast closing. I was hoping a get a pic of her in mid-drag but it never worked out, but the snuggling pose the couple was in, with the girl wielding her shrinking cigarette, was almost as good. The guy finished his cigarette first and the girl wrapped hers up a few moments later. She seemed to be really getting comfortable on the bench so I was nervous that I’d be denied a butt ID. I did a quick loop down the concourse and returned in a couple of minutes to find them gone, however, and seized the opportunity to squeeze onto the bench right above her discarded cigarette butt. As I expected from the markings I observed from afar, it was a Newport Red. Towards the end of the night I saw the couple again walking around, albeit not smoking. There were two cute smoking couples last night (the other yet to come) and it’s hard for me to rate my favorite of the two, but her age and outfit certainly gives this one some bonus points.
It was fast approaching 8:00 and I was gonna check out a free concert by an up-and-coming teen rock singer named Gabbie Rae. A friend of mine is a big fan and was eager to hear details and get photos from the concert. The concert was at the Bud Light stage which is the same venue where the concert by the 90s country group BlackHawk was two years earlier. It’s a good venue, but the location is terrible….in the very remote southwest corner of the fairgrounds at least two full blocks from anything and everything else that’s going on in the grounds after dark. Still, there were enough smokers attending the BlackHawk concert two years ago that I was able to hover in the area for 90 minutes and score a bunch of sightings. If a young rock crowd was hanging around for the Gabbie Rae concert, I just might do the same tonight. But the place was dead. Very small crowd and after 15 minutes of lurking around and seeing zero smokers, I had to get out of there, much to my friend’s chagrin. It’s too bad because I was enjoying the concert and the girl had a good voice, but my primary objective is sightings and I wasn’t about to lose out on primetime sightings for an empty concert.
And I definitely made the right choice, with my departure from the concert launching me into my rallying point of the day in the hour between 8:30 and 9:30. I had 62 sightings when I arrived at the east side beer gardens area but walked away with a quite a few more than that. The hotness started with a trio of gals north of the bar area hovering in a way that made me believe cigarettes were being smoked. One was an unattractive late 40s/early 50s gal, another an unattractive 30-something, and the last a mid-to-late 20s brunette in a tanktop and jean shorts who was the only one worth paying attention to. And she was the one holding the pack of Camels. Yet as they migrated from their standing position I figured I must have just missed smoking. I explored elsewhere in the immediate area but kept them in mind before spotting them again….and I was a bit surprised when the late 20s brunette now had one of her Camels lit and smoldering between her fingers. My Sighting #64 girl was the only smoker of the trio which seemed unlikely given her wholesome and youthful pedigree, and she seemed perfectly comfortable smoking away in front of what I assumed was her mom and older sister as well. At one point, the three of them were looking at the junk wares of this vendor and the brunette stood just a little off to the side smoking her cigarette, and really didn’t make too much of an effort to spare her family or the vendor from the carcinogens she was exhaling. Part of me wanted to continue observing this sighting but something was pulling on me to venture elsewhere. I chose to move on, which was my best decision of the day.
After one minor sighting, I ventured past the benches near the bathroom just north of the east side beer gardens where I spotted something that seemed intriguing. Sighting #66 started off like it was gonna be a strong single or maybe a double, with an attractive 23-24ish blond with her hair up in a ponytail wearing a flattering white tanktop and pink shorts. She was standing in front of a bench smoking a cigarette talking to a nonsmoking guy and girl sitting on the bench. For some reason, I felt there would be something special about this sighting and stood off to the side with my phone trying to capture the moment even though it was dark and I knew the photos weren’t likely to turn out. The one shot I got that turned out actually does a good job of conveying her aura, even in the dark. It wasn’t until after I got a couple of pics in that I started paying attention, and the girl had style taking huge six-second drags that produced cherries glowing a brighter shade of red than a jar of maraschinos followed by enormously cloudy exhales that seemed to take on a life of their own after escaping her respiratory system. I was pretty impressed with what I was seeing but had no idea what direction this sighting would take when, two-thirds into her cigarette, the friends got up to leave. She now had the bench all to herself and sat on the left side of it. Suddenly I had a huge opening on the bench to sit down and keep the stinky blond with the silky smooth legs company. But lest you think I would have an opportunity to make this sighting interactive, something even better happened….when her parents showed up…..
Dad sat to her left which meant her sweet little body moved a little bit closer to me and mom was standing in front of her. The context here was quite strange but her chemistry with this 5o-something couple made it entirely clear that they were her parents. I couldn’t pick up on everything she was saying and it appeared as though she was a bit drunk by her voice but she mumbled to the folks that she was sitting there “smoking a cigarette”. As close as I was I could tell from the markings on the cigarette that it was a Camel Turkish Royal and she took another very long drag from it and proceeded to belch out a blob of an exhale that flowed straight towards mom but also expanded out my direction and her father’s. The next thing I know the daughter is holding out her phone in front of her face with her cigarette smoldering in the same right hand she held the phone, and squeezing her tobacco-drenched face next to her father’s for a selfie. I was on the other side of this girl a few feet away and she was already far and away the stinkiest girl I’d been around all day so I can’t even imagine how much this smelly daughter was making her dad suffer. Sitting as close as I was, I was able to sneak a couple of modest but very close-up photos of this sexpot sitting cross-legged only a couple of feet to my left. And from there she was flipping around on the pics on her phone and showing some pics off to mom and dad, all the while leaving her cigarette unattended for a good 90 seconds. As it continued to smolder and the ash got longer, the stench became really strong, with wave upon wave of sidestream smoke drifting my way. I was choking on her smoke and I suspect the parents in even closer proximity were as well. I haven’t been upclose with a smoking girlfriend in quite a while now but this was the closest I’ve come to experiencing a hot chick’s direct secondhand smoke odor that I wasn’t seconds away from making out with. Much as I loved marinating in her smoke entrails, I wanted to see her smoking again, and when she finally got back to the cigarette she delivered in spades….
There was at most two drags left in the cigarette but she proceeded to stick that stub in her mouth for a dangling drag as though as it was freshly lit, taking another five-second drag and making me wonder if the long ash hanging on the end was gonna fall off. It didn’t, but she expelled yet another explosive exhale that whacked mom in the face before taking one final drag and dropping the tiny remaining stub to the pavement. When the group still didn’t leave, I got up just in time to see the daughter giving her dad a very stinky hug and then mom and dad took off, with daughter soon following. I sat back down on the bench and confirmed her discarded cigarette was a Camel Turkish Royal. I just love it when a sighting that starts out modestly experiences plot twists and pure escalation. They don’t come much more unpredictable or satisfying than this one, and it was by far my best sighting of the day.
I was hoping to take off back to that Gabbie Rae concert and see the final couple of songs but this east side beer gardens area had other ideas, and as I walked in front of the beer gardens, lo and behold if I didn’t stumble into another sexy smoker girl with Sighting #67, a very attractive mid-20s blond in a yellow flower print dress smoking with an unattractive friend. I stood admiringly to her side for a few minutes and watched her consume about two-thirds of the cigarette, and the highlight of the sighting came about halfway in when she took a drag in mid-discussion and then released a beautiful, wispy talking exhale while conversing with her friend. Once again, I could tell from afar from the cigarette’s telltale markings that I was looking at my second Camel Turkish Royal in a row. With smoking becoming an increasingly downscale pastime, it’s becoming more rare to see a stunning beauty like this girl smoking a cigarette (and particularly when accompanied with impressive talking exhales!) so I really treasure the moments when I get to, especially for a prolonged encounter like this one.
I said before that I had intended to drift back to the Bud Light stage for the end of that Gabbie Rae concert but the east side beer gardens area was just getting started with me and offered me a few minutes of sensory overload that began with a familiar face smoking in the company of unfamiliar face. Two young ladies dressed in summer attire were smoking along the curb when I approached, among them a modestly attractive blond who would be Sighting #70, but the other girl already had a serial number attached to her…..#18. The long-haired brunette with the little ponytail up top who I had just missed finishing a Marlboro Light hours earlier consummated her sighting as she was now standing there with cigarette in hand chatting with the friend. She was outsmoking her rather impressively as well and vindicating my initial good feeling I had about her in the afternoon even though I didn’t see her actually smoke then. Deep drags, long holds, and cloudy exhales all made for great sight-seeing, but she saved her best for last. I was standing about five feet to her right and although she didn’t really see me, some other friends were approaching from the other direction and she proceeded to deploy a skillful butt flick of her all-white, adeptly launching that thing to the pavement pretty much right next to my shoe and didn’t even notice or care where it landed. I already knew from before she smoked Marlboro Lights but was able to confirm that without even having to take a single footstep!
Now that brunette was my favorite moment from the sensory overload stretch at the east side beer gardens, but the area was alive with young female smokers. A mixed-gender group of 20-somethings standing just behind my brunette featured a few attractive young girls, but the only smoker among them was a curly-haired light brunette in a cowgirl hat and matching boots wearing white shorts. My Sighting #71 girl was pretty but her presentation in that sexpot cowgirl attire exceeded her actual looks. She was a slow smoker which was also frustrating. On the upside, when I returned to the east side beer gardens less than an hour later, she was smoking again. Back to my favorite brunette, I mentioned before that just before her butt flick towards my shoe, a couple additional friends were approaching her. One of them included the blond that was with her in the early afternoon as well as another brunette. They were both quite attractive and also in possession of tobacco with cigarette packs on their persons. They would cross the street and sit on the curb where they lit up, officially becoming Sightings #72 and #73. I was only able to watch for a minute or so but it was quite an image seeing these two early 20s hotties sitting there on the curb immersed in conversation with freshly lit all-whites protruding from their smelly fingertips. And the numbers on the east side of additional beer-swilling smoker girls kept rising in those final moments before I departed. As I said a few paragraphs ago, I had 62 sightings on the day when I arrived at this beer gardens, and 20 minutes or so later when I walked away I had 78. It was by far my most prolific stretch of the day.
From there I made the long walk back to the Bud Light stage for the final couple of songs by Gabbie Rae and got in on a brief meet-and-greet for my friend. I pressed on after that, feeling pretty good with my recent sightings surge and pleased that I still had 2 1/2 hours of prime fetish time left. It would be a little while before I saw anything else noteworthy but in the aforementioned median area full of port-a-potties in between the two beer gardens on the concourse, I spotted two sets of couples all wielding cigarettes. One was a very dark-skinned Indian girl with a nice body and silky black shorts. She was Sighting #85 and while I’m sure she would be the type of a lot of guys she wasn’t really my type. More my type was Sighting #86 just across from her, a sexy long-haired blond with dramatic facial features decked out in a white tanktop and jean shorts. Unfortunately, I only saw one messy final drag before she dropped the spent all-white butt to the pavement. D’oh! Fortunately this sighting had a happy ending about an hour later when I spotted the same two couples standing in front of the same beer gardens, once again all wielding cigarettes. My blond had such a glowing presence as she bantered with her boyfriend and it was really infectious, particularly when she was dragging from her cigarette. Unfortunately I didn’t get to see a ton of smoking on this cigarette either and was caught off guard when blondie left the group in a hurry, cigarette in hand, and was heading back in between the two bars. I watched her cute ass boogeying while she raised her cigarette to her lips one final time, taking a drag and then releasing one more carcinogenic cloudburst. She dropped the all-white butt to the ground and then embraced in a stinky hug with another hot early 20s blond in jean shorts who was clearly a good friend. If anything, the new girl was even hotter than my smoker! I took the opportunity to ID the discarded all-white as a Marlboro Ultra Light and then watched the new girl for a bit, hoping she would have affinity for smoldering tobacco as well. I kept tabs on this group for the rest of my time at the fairgrounds last night but unfortunately I had seen the last of the smoking from the original blond and didn’t see any smoking at all from the new girl. I don’t want to give too much away but stay tuned to my next writeup and you just might get a second chapter to this story!
I returned to the east side beer gardens area once again, and it was then I got the aforementioned second sighting of the #71 blond cowgirl in the white shorts and boots, but it was also there that I got Sighting #90, my favorite mother-daughter sighting of the day. Approaching the bar without yet having purchased an adult beverage was a late 40s unattractive mother with her cute and wholesome mid-20s brunette daughter in a pink top and jean shorts. Both women were in possession of cork filter cigarettes and were puffing in front of each other with a complete lack of inhibition. Daughter was a solid smoker as well, taking solid drags that produced very nice exhales. I was rather awkwardly eating a gyro in this location and sort of stuck out like a sore thumb but the image of these two generations of smokers produced a memorable image improving the otherwise disappointing experience that eating the gyro did. The daughter finished her cigarette after a couple of minutes and the women went into the bar right after polluting the sidewalk with their cigarette butts. The daughter’s brand was a Marlboro Red.
Sightings were coming at a refreshingly fast clip as I headed westward down the concourse and the Saturday night party crowd was coming out of the shadows. Next to catch my eye was Sighting #95, featuring a mixed-gender group with only one smoker, a short-haired brunette in a skimpy and skin-tight orange dress. The girl wasn’t completely my type and was smoking very slowly so I didn’t stick around too long to watch the show, but the girl’s pseudo-ditzy demeanor and the way her friends were playing off of it, most likely with the help of some alcohol, added color to the sighting above and beyond her tangerine dress. Most memorable was when a blond friend was repeatedly smacking the brunette smoker in the ass in that dress and the brunette gave out a playful yipping sound. I sort of wanted to see this one play out given that there may have been a great storyline in there, but I ultimately made the right decision when I pressed on westward down the concourse.
My decision was vindicated because it landed me straight into Sighting #96. At almost the exact spot I spotted the cute late teen smoking couple that was Sighting #56, I spotted another smoking couple. This couple was clearly older than the previous couple, in their mid-20s, and only half of the couple smoked cigarettes. Luckily for me it was the better half. I approached the bench from behind to see the most adorable pose….a gorgeous long-haired blond with her hand hanging over the back of the bench holding a freshly lit cigarette. That image would come to define the sighting to come as I moved to the front of the bench to get a better look and came face to face with the prettiest smoker of the day who was decked out in the sexiest and skimpiest outfit of any smoker girl I’d seen all day, a tiny spaghetti strapped white tanktop with a couple inches of exposed midriff along with a perfect-fitting pair of jean shorts showing off a seemingly endless display of thigh and calves. And as was my instinct when I first spotted this couple and saw the girl holding her cigarette over the back of the bench, only the girl was smoking. She was “protecting” her lucky-as-hell boyfriend from her noxious fumes. Her positioning could not have been more perfect watching her from the front as she was holding her pack of Camel Menthol Lights in her left hand while propping her legs up in the boyfriend’s lap as he mildly stroked the smooth flesh on her upper leg. I just love seeing a smoking girl in the presence of a nonsmoking guy generally but it’s even more beautiful when the girl is a knockout getting attention from the boyfriend as she tries to avoid corrupting his pink lungs with her smoke. If only these girls had any idea how impossibly sexy they are, and in this case blondie was outdoing herself, clearly getting pleasure from her cigarette but being sure to tilt her head as skyward as possible with each exhale so that her smoke would not invade the boyfriend’s airspace. As a fetisher, I couldn’t help but feel bad for the boyfriend thinking he might be a closet fetisher himself who simply hadn’t yet found the courage to confess his fetish to the girl, but my hard feelings for his predicament were short-lived when I watched him stroke the leg of this gorgeous and perfect female specimen in front of her as she smoked. She really seemed in a pleasure zone and it was hard to tell whether it was from her cigarette or the boyfriend’s hands-on attention. It was probably the combination of the two. It was too dark and my positioning was too bad to get a photo but it breaks my heart I didn’t capture some of the imagery of this sighting on camera. After a few minutes the cigarette was dropped to the pavement below her feet and gingerly crushed out. I knew her brand but still made a point of walking past that bench later on when it became empty to ID it as a Camel Light Menthol. It was at this point that I had to admit to myself that as mediocre as portions of the day was, it still produced some very worthy rewards.
I wouldn’t score anything better than that last sighting in my remaining hour or so on the grounds, but there several more moments worthy of mention. The primary grandstand act last night was Def Leppard, which really wasn’t very useful for me since just about everybody attending the show was over 35 and did not bring out my preferred demographic of young smoker girls. Nonetheless, I sat in the seating area behind the grandstand where I was best able to hear some of Def Leppard’s performance and it was there that I spotted Sighting #98, an attractive mid-20s blond in a tight black and white dress smoking with her boyfriend. Unfortunately, the optics of this sighting were the opposite of the sighting I had just watched. The blond and the boyfriend were standing in the street and it seemed clear the boyfriend was the experienced smoker while the girlfriend was either the novice or the social smoker, taking modest drags and producing shallow exhales. She was still a sexy sight in that standout dress smoking her cigarette and gave me a great visual aid to the Def Leppard background music. The sighting ended vaguely disappointingly as she was done with the cigarette despite there being a good third of it left, and was bending down to crush out the cigarette on the pavement. I knew she was gonna throw the butt in the garbage and deny me an ID butt, but I didn’t anticipate that she was gonna walk literally right up to me and throw the butt into the garbage can a few inches away from where I sat. It may well have been the closest I got to a girl with a cigarette in her hand the whole day/night, even compared to my favorite girl of the day exposing me to her Camel Turkish Royal smoke for several minutes.
Moments later, I hit pay dirt again when I was walking down the concourse and smelled the fresh aroma of cigar smoke. I craned my neck and found a thuggish-looking young guy using an already smoldering Black ‘N’ Mild to light up a new one. Since there were girls in this cluster, I was eager to see if the original Black ‘N’ Mild source was a female, and in Iowa State Fair tradition (every year I get at least one decent cigar sighting at the ISF), the guy handed the Black ‘N’ Mild to a pretty 21ish brunette in a baseball cap, T-shirt, and jeans who would become Sighting #99. Sadly, I never quite positioned myself well to watch her smoke as she always seemed to be stuck inside the cluster of 7-8 friends. I did see a couple of drags and had no difficulty in smelling the stinky cigar smoke exhaled from her mouth. And as I encircled the group, I spotted a hot 21ish blond holding an unlit cigarette between her fingers trying to capture the attention of the rowdy, cigar-wielding brunette to get her lighter. Blondie became Sighting #100 even before she got the cigarette lit, but thankfully it would become official on my next pass by the group when blondie’s cigarette was now smoldering between her fingers. I caught another passing glance of the brunette cigar girl but got a little greedy at that point when I saw my favorite couple from Sighting #96 hovering in the general area and walked their way to see if the girl was smoking again. She wasn’t and by the time I ventured the short distance back to cigar girl and her blond friend, they were no longer to be seen. I tried to find them heading in the direction they seemed to be going but never caught up. It was unlikely that this sighting was gonna escalate into anything epic in the first place given how large the group was and how challenging the vantage point because of it, but I still blew it and probably missed a few more bells and whistles.
After I hit the century mark, the numbers slowed a little in the final hour but I still had a few decent moments. I made my final trek to the fairgrounds’ south side and spotted Sighting #107, a very pretty long-haired dark brunette who looked about 30 smoking on the curb with her boyfriend or husband. She was wearing a white tanktop and black shorts and was a very attractive smoker girl I got to observe from an open bench. Not much of a storyline to the sighting and no butt ID as she and the boyfriend both made sure to crush out their cigarettes and then toss the butts in the trash can, but it was a nice show while it lasted.
I made one final pass near the east side beer gardens and had arguably my ugliest near-miss of the day with the girl who barely qualifies as Sighting #110. I saw a bench ahead where a guy was lighting a cigarette and I scanned his immediate area for girls and noticed an insanely hot blond with a perfect body draped in my ideal summertime outfit for girls (white shorts)…..who was crushing out her Marlboro Light at the exact second I laid eyes on her. She seemed to be flirty and saucy and spry with the guys in her group and I would have killed to have seen her smoking. I stuck around a minute or so just in case she was gonna light up another but it wasn’t meant to be.
Time was slipping away as I ventured through the midway for my final run of the night just before 11:30, capturing only modest rewards until I exited onto the edge of the beer gardens area and spotted a cluster that intrigued me, with one girl in particular in a white tanktop, candy apple red shorts, and cowgirl boots holding a pack of Marlboro Lights. Just seeing her holding the pack was good enough for me to rate her as Sighting #115, but I didn’t have a ton of time left before I needed to capture my shuttle bus and it didn’t look like she was gonna light up so I began to drift away. But I wouldn’t get far when I was again struck by the unmistakable odor of cigar smoke. I looked down to a duo of modestly attractive 20-something blonds sitting on the curb in front of the bar, one of them holding a half-smoked Black ‘N’ Mild cigar and becoming Sighting #116. Now the girl was pretty plain jane and certainly not hot enough to make any favorites lists at year’s end, but I still hovered near her for a moment or so allowing me to take in a couple of drags and smell the fresh stench of her cigar exhales. I was prepared to stick around another moment or so but my attention was immediately diverted when I spotted my blond in the red shorts and cowgirl boots from a minute early walking by, opening her back of cigarettes, handing one to a lesser but still attractive friend (Sighting #117) and then taking one for herself. The two were walking westward on the concourse and I had no problem at all walking away from Miss Plain Jane cigar girl to check out this sexpot blond duo. My favorite blond placed the unlit cigarette in her mouth and very naturally dangled it a couple seconds before flicking it to life with her lighter. I was getting a very impressive vibe from this girl as I followed her and her stinky friend, thinking I was a destined for a full sighting. But that’s when something weird happened. The Def Leppard concert had been dismissed for a good half hour at this point and the entry to the grandstand was wide open. For some reason, these two smoker hotties were walking towards that open gate. At first I didn’t know where they were going but it became clear these babes were gonna strut right through the “no smoking permitted” grandstand door wielding cigarettes….for some reason. Now this was hot as hell to witness, but it also derailed my sighting as I couldn’t follow them without getting spotted. It was frustrating because these girls, especially the red shorts hottie, were worthy of high acclaim and this sighting would have had an incredible storyline, but I just didn’t see enough before they ventured out of sight. It was bad luck straight out of the script from my unfortunate timing of the week before at the county fair.
I had one more great sighting in the evening’s final 15 minutes, although it also was way too short. I passed a bench on the concourse and spotted a 30-something gal that did nothing for me sitting down smoking while a beautiful 21ish long-haired dark brunette in a plaid country girl top and jean shorts was standing behind the bench chatting with her, looking as gorgeous and wholesome as any girl I had seen all day. I made a mental note of her as I walked up the block in search of some final sightings in the 10 minutes or so I had left, but when I saw nothing worthwhile I ventured back to their bench where both women were still in the same position but I heard them chatting about cigarettes. Interesting, I thought to myself as I walked behind the bench where the hot young brunette was standing. Sure enough, a long freshly cigarette was extending from her young fingers that couldn’t have looked more perfect and she officially became Sighting #119. I see so few 100s these days than a freshly lit 100 like hers looked more like a 120. I was more than content to spend my last few minutes of the night watching her smoke that cigarette, but instead she was about to bid adieu the woman and a gaggle of other people on the next bench over who were apparently in her group as she clearly knew them. An older man was clearly scolding her about the cigarette in her hand, and not in a lighthearted way, and she tried to downplay her naughty smoking habit as much as possible as she hugged him and began to walk away. I didn’t know where she was going but she was going there by herself and I was following….at least for awhile. She took one drag from the cigarette as she walked but quickly turned left into the open-air fairgrounds bar The Depot with cigarette in hand, and doing so very illegally. Workers at The Depot have clearly marked T-shirts advertising the place and she wasn’t wearing one, so she wasn’t an employee….yet she was certainly walking in there like she was. It was a sight to behold, only I was not in a position to follow and had to abandon yet another great sighting with an unpredictable ending that worked to my disadvantage.
It was 11:55 now and I had to go to my shuttle bus which leaves right after midnight. It’s a reasonably long walk but with as many fairgoers as there still were walking towards the buses I knew it wouldn’t be leaving without us all. I scored a couple more minor sightings on the two-block walk to the bus and just before I left the gate an attractive blond and her boyfriend were crushing out their cigarettes, making her my 122nd and final sighting of August 15, 2015, a number high enough to qualify as my fourth-strongest Iowa State Fair day in terms of total sightings, not accounting for quality. I was a sweaty mess when I boarded the shuttle bus and I could tell I looked like hell based on some of the looks I got as I ventured to the open seats in the back. I wore a new pair of shoes that held up decently but are a little tight, so my feet were more sore than usual. My biggest problem though was the heat as even though I caked myself in sunblock I laid awake most of last night with my boiling face turning my pillow into a heating pad.
I can’t really complain about the day as it was light years better than some of my worst ISF days in 2012 and 2013 but it also wasn’t one of the best. There was a decent selection of extra-base hit sightings but not many that would be comfortable fits in a year-end greatest sightings list, at least not one worthy of my previous years’ top-25 lists. The declining numbers of teen smoker sightings is becoming a serious problem and if it continues there’s no telling how bad these fair safaris will be five years from now with an entire generation of young people never introduced to cigarettes even in a social/party environment. Hopefully it doesn’t come to that but it’s far and away my biggest fear based on recent trendlines. Ideally I will pick up where things left off on Wednesday night when I plan to go after work for my annual half-day run to the Iowa State Fair for additional sightings. Unfortunately, a major cool down is forecast for Wednesday and even for those who like cooler weather, a high of 68 degrees with 15-25 mile-per-hour wind does not make for a nice day at the fair. If it’s as bad as forecast, I might hold off until Thursday night to go for my half-day midweek run, even though going that day will come with its own set of liabilities. Either way, rest assured I will be returning to the Iowa State Fair for at least one more sightings adventure in the days ahead.