2017 Iowa State Fair, Day 1


I had a pretty darn good day at the fair on August 12, 2017.  I was describing the previous week how the hypothetical perfect day at the fair for me featured sunny skies, low humidity, highs of about 82, and puffy fair weather clouds that occasionally gave some relief from direct sunlight.  And that’s exactly what I got yesterday.  And there was quite a party crowd there yesterday and it helped me score 142 sightings, one short of my record for a day at the Iowa State Fair.  It was a retro 90s theme for the grandstand with abbreviated sets by acts such as Vanilla Ice, Salt N Pepa, Coolio, Young MC, and Color Me Badd, and it was a disorganized mess unlike nothing I’ve ever seen before getting the crowd into the grandstand, but that worked to my advantage as it meant long lines extending onto the concourse that lingered for more than an hour, providing me many sightings.  More details on that later in the writeup.  Over the course of the day and night, I scored a lengthy list of great sightings, perhaps none at that top-of-the-upper-tier level and only a couple of the amazing teen sightings that were so prolific at my county fair last week, but I’d still say it was my best day at the Iowa State Fair since 2014.

I boarded my shuttle bus before 11 and the line wasn’t nearly as oppressive as I expected to board the bus, meaning I was already inside the fairgrounds by about 11:20.  Morale was high with the beautiful weather and is often needed for those late morning and early afternoon hours where sightings typically aren’t that prolific at the Iowa State Fair.  Thankfully, about five minutes after arrival, I’d score Sighting #1, this late 20s blond in a black-and-white striped dress who was in a group where only her and her boyfriend were smoking.  It was a good appetizer for the day and nice to be on the board.

A few minutes later on one of the side streets, I came across a group where an early 30s blond cowgirl was hanging back outside of a building smoking a cigarette.  She had a straw hat covering her head and shoulder-length blond hair with a brown tanktop and tan shorts on her bottom.  She had a great body and long smooth legs.  I got my first pic of the day and it was a good one, catching her in mid-drag.  It took me a moment to notice that Sighting #2 was accompanied with another early 30s blond in her company who also smoking.  Sighting #3 was wearing a blue and white striped dress and was decently attractive but didn’t have the IT factor her friend did.  She had her back to me so I didn’t see much of her smoking.

My first extra-base hit of the day was Sighting #4, up the hill on the east side of the fairgrounds on a remote side of the live music stage.  Approaching was an early-to-mid 20s couple where the guy was already smoking.  I was briefly annoyed since his dark blond girlfriend in her pink top and jean shorts was such a cutie and it appeared on first glance that only the boyfriend would be smoking.  But lo and behold, she approached the table at the back corner of the stage’s seating and opened her purse to extract a pack of Marlboro Reds.  I was thrilled to see her pull one out and light up, and was more thrilled to see her engaging style with deep, nicely timed drags and cloudy exhales.  I was not so thrilled about the fact that I took about three pics of the proceeding but would later discover that they were all disasters.  I’ve gotten increasingly paranoid about picture-taking with all the times I got caught last year and the result is I accidentally move the camera before the pic is complete, resulting in me not capturing the intended image.  Anyway, I stayed for most of her cigarette, which wasn’t that long because she was hitting it quite regularly.  It’s not every year I score any kind of sighting up that east side hill as I generally only go up there two or three times a day, but it certainly came through with a memorable sighting yesterday.

I was scoring the sightings at a respectable clip in those early afternoon hours and would really hit the mark with Sighting #9, a dark blond young mommy who looked strikingly familiar but I don’t believe I’d seen her before.  She was in her late 20s and in the company of what I presume was her two kids and her husband, but only she was smoking.  She struck quite a pose too, with a very wholesome face and outfit to match, a turquoise tanktop and conservative dark blue jean shorts, standing there with cigarette in hand next to the husband as the kids sat in the grass.  There were no bells and whistles about her style, but she didn’t seem at all like a smoker and just looked out of place there with a cigarette.  And unlike the previous profiled sighting, I had tremendous success with the pics on this one, capturing four pretty good pics, one in mid-drag and another when she was exhaling.  I had middling success with pics yesterday, but hers were some of my best.  Her husband went off to get some food so she and the kids were alone at one point.  It was clear she was gonna stick around so I didn’t linger in pursuit of the butt ID.  It was only 1:15 but the day already had some momentum.

The alley behind the east side beer gardens can always be counted upon to produce some sightings, and the smoker girls were at it early yesterday as I spotted Sighting #14 in the early afternoon, an early 20s dark blond in a flattering black tanktop and pale blue jean shorts enjoying a cigarette.  There was a guy standing near her smoking who I first assumed was with her, but after my first pass, he went back into the beer gardens leaving her to stand outside and smoke by herself.  It was isolated to the point that I couldn’t get too close with the camera, but she was distracted by her phone which allowed me to take three modest pics and capture her aura.  The pics didn’t really do justice to her though as she was more attractive than she appeared from the distant shots.  She was a quality smoker too, taking well-timed drags and producing some impressively cloudy exhales.  Towards the end of her cigarette, a persistent haze of smoke lingered in front of her face.  She crushed out the cigarette and I approached after she went back into the beer gardens to discover it was a Marlboro Light.

The first sighting of the day poised for some end-of-year recognition came with Sighting #16.  I approached the seating area behind the Depot bar and grill and spotted this attractive young brunette mommy attending to a stroller next to a bench, and happened to lay eyes on her at the second she handed a freshly lit cigarette to a middle-aged lady I presume was her mother while she attended to the little one in the stroller for a minute or so.  Checking out the body of this cute little thing, she definitely had that “still-sexy young mommy” vibe about her, dark brown hair pulled back in a ponytail with a flesh-revealing gray tanktop and short tannish jean shorts with some smooth stems flowing out.  I’d guess she was about 23 and even the small tattoo on her shoulder wasn’t enough to make me lose interest.  And just my luck there was an open bench very closeby where I could sit and watch.  Seconds after I took my seat and prepared my camera, the girl would step away from the stroller and reclaim her cigarette from mom.  At the time I thought she was the only smoker in the family (there were two or three other younger people with them) but I would later see mom and dad both smoking as well.  She interacted in conversation with the whole group, but mostly with a younger girl across the table from her which was very convenient because it brought the girl and her cigarette closer to me, where I nailed a couple of pics, one of her standing and in mid-drag on her all-white that I was close enough to see was a Marlboro Light Special Blend.  She was a solid smoker too with nicely paced drags and good-sized exhales.  You could tell she was a regular at this whole smoking thing.  In minutes, she’d finish the cigarette off and drop it to her feet, but unfortunately the family wasn’t going anywhere anytime soon.  With that in mind, I returned to the same spot about 15 minutes later….and the cute brunette was smoking again!  I stopped and sat at another nearby bench and checked out some of that show too….

This gal was already poised to be one of my top sightings of the day, but her body of work in the ensuing hours before dark would solidify her stature as I would see her smoking twice more before 6 p.m.  Once, she and her parents were seated on the east side of this building that is across the street from the karaoke bar and a common destination for nicotine-starved fairgoers seeking their carcinogenic relief.  The next time was at the bathroom on the northeast side of the grounds where she was standing with the family, cigarette in hand for the fourth time I had witnessed that day.  Her back was to me so I wasn’t in as good of a position to observe as before, but I still got a nice rear shot where the cigarette is perched visibly in her right hand next to her ass as she chatted with the family.  This girl had IT factor to spare in the first place, but seeing her smoke four times over about a five-hour stretch is enough to grant her pretty high honors for the day.  It made me wonder how many more cigarettes she smoked yesterday that I didn’t catch….and how heavily addicted her young child must be having her as a mommy.

I would continue to stitch together some vaguely memorable moments as early afternoon transitioned to mid-afternoon, such as the tall 20-something blond with her hair up in a ponytailed bun who was Sighting #19 and a young brunette mommy who surprised me when she fired up a Camel Light Menthol and became Sighting #28 while waiting for the nonsmoking husband to get a drink, but surrendering it way too quickly after just a few drags as they began wheeling the stroller onto the concourse.  The best points of the day were still ahead though.

And one of those points would come just after 4:00 when I was back at the east side beer gardens area and spotted a handsome young couple proceeding to an isolated grassy area north of the beer gardens.  The girlfriend was a medium-brown brunette who looked about 23 and had a gorgeous face and body, supplemented by a red top and a pair of those lacy white shorts that always look so feminine.  She was on my radar right away but about 30 seconds after spotting her, she opened up her purse and extracted a pack of Marlboro Reds.  My heart skipped a beat as she was about to become Sighting #30, inserting the cork filter cigarette into her mouth just as I got my camera ready.  I snapped the photo certain that I nailed her in mid-lightup.  Best of all, the boyfriend wasn’t smoking….he was just waiting out his gorgeous girlfriend to fill her body with cancerous carcinogens.  I took a couple more pics but was too isolated to linger there with the camera, opting instead to cross the street and watch from afar as she was making pretty quick work of the cigarette with nicely timed drags and solid exhales.  Thus far today, she was probably the most striking face and image to be associated with cigarette smoking.  Unfortunately, another duo of friends joined them.  The good news is the dark blond in the flower-print dress would light up to become Sighting #31 (and again her boyfriend would not light up!) but the bad news is all these people obstructed my view of the brunette hottie, and it was a struggle to position myself in a place where I’d be able to see more from her.  I finally had to walk away as I was drawing too much attention to myself trying to catch her…plus at least I had those great photos right??  Right?  I checked my camera and discovered in absolute horror that none of them turned out, and that I just missed capturing her in the shot, apparently again moving the phone away too quickly after taking the shot out of fear of being spotted.  I got a portion of her face in a small corner of the shot but not even enough to appreciate her beauty let alone see her smoking or to do justice to her body in that outfit.  This was my biggest photo fail of the day…and I’m still sick about it despite how good of a show it was.

It was a modest consolation prize to get a sighting and a successful photo of Sighting #35 in front of the main beer gardens a few minutes later.  It was a dark brunette in her late 20s wearing sunglasses, a black top, and dark jeans out smoking with her boyfriend.  I got two photos, one of which was in mid-drag, but I’d nonetheless trade 100 pics of her for one good one of the Sighting #30 girl I had just missed.

My hit-or-miss photo taking largely failed me again with Sighting #37 on a block full of food vendors where I spotted another dark brunette, this one with a boyfriend/husband and a group of friends, wielding a freshly lit cigarette.  She was probably 30 but was very pretty, accentuating her beauty with a blue tanktop and a very sexy pair of medium-blue jean shorts that framed her perfect lower body and legs beautifully.  While walking to her side, I captured a couple headless shots with cigarette in hand that nicely captured her body but missed her face.  My subsequent efforts to get a shot of her face also bombed, but I did get to see her smoke most of the cigarette, and that was a joy as she was another gal who very clearly knew her way around a cigarette based on her style.  While this girl didn’t really come across as “wholesome”, her boyfriend/husband seemed older and very blue-collar, so they were still a bit of an odd couple with her far and away the “better half”.  While I’d never get another chance to get pics of her, I would get a chance to see her again.  In fact, I’d see this couple three more times before the day ended, and two of those times this hot brunette was smoking a cigarette.

At the nexus of the concourse and the south side block, I ran into a mixed-gender cluster of about eight guys and girls in their early 20s.  I was at first incredibly annoyed because all of the guys were smoking and none of the girls were.  But the girls were eating and I figured if I stuck around I might see some smoking.  I did, but strikingly little as one blond in the group would take two or three drags from the boyfriend’s cigarette.  The good news was that the Sighting #40 blond was the most striking member of the group, a tall blond in a short, yellow summer dress with memorably attractive features and long, smooth legs.  She was packed pretty tightly in the friends’ group when she was taking her drags so I didn’t see a lot but I was able to see some pretty intense smoke clouds in front of her face in the aftermath of her exhales.  The group drifted to the main beer gardens stand and took a chair.  I hoped to see more of her later in the evening, and perhaps the other females in the group as well, but wouldn’t see them again.

My next sighting of note would be one of THREE cigar sightings I scored yesterday.  I came upon a trio of two girls and one guy in an alleyway outside one of the commercial buildings next to the bathrooms and noticed right away one of the girls was vaping while the guy was smoking a Black ‘N’ Mild cigar.  I stuck around just in case the cuter of the two girls would share the cigar with the guy, and my instinct proved correct as in a minute or so he passed her the cigar and she became Sighting #43.  She was a beautiful girl, about 19 or 20 years old with a pretty face and a long mane of dark brown hair, but she was hard to get a good visual on because she sat on the cement ledge in a crouched position, a long-sleeved shirt tied around her waist obstructing her jean shorts.  Making matters worse, she was looking towards the guy to her right, so being seated on her left I wasn’t able to see as much as I’d have liked and my pics never got a great visual on her face.  The upside was that she was dominating that cigar.  She may not have been the one in possession of it when I arrived on the scene, but she was puffing on it two-thirds of the time I sat there, and I got to see about eight drags and that cigar perched between her fingers.  This one had the potential to be a classic but my weak visual and her oddball crouched position took some of its power away.  Nice to get three cigar sightings yesterday though, and this was my favorite of the three.

Moments later, I was back at that bathroom area near the east side beer gardens which seems to be delivering more and more frequently in recent years.  Yesterday, I spotted this long-haired dark blond who looked about 30 years old and was wearing an interesting outfit combination of a black ball cap and a tight-fitting gray dress that crested well above her knees.  Oh…and she was also smoking a cigarette, making her Sighting #44 of the day.  Now for all of the instances yesterday where I thought I nailed perfect pics only to find out later I missed the mark entirely, there were also a few instances where I figured I would have a mess but ended up nailing a pic.  This one was the latter as I somehow managed to score a great photo of her in mid-drag.  She was on the last few drags of the cigarette so I stuck around to watch the abbreviated show, but it would actually be a couple of hours later when I’d see her again at the exact same spot smoking again that would be the more memorable encounter.  She was in the company of a male friend when she took an interest in some random 18-ish guy with some writing on his T-shirt.  Out of nowhere, she asked him what the slogan meant and then proceeded to debate him whether the dime-store philosophical comment on the shirt was true or not.  She didn’t seem intoxicated out of her mind, and perhaps she wasn’t, but debating a total stranger half her age about the philosophical comment on his T-shirt is a strange thing to do sober.  The young guy seemed a little intimidated by her but the guy in the smoker girl’s company took some pressure off with a quick comment and a high-five, all as the blond continued to contaminate everybody’s airspace with the exhales from her cigarette.

The next sighting of note came at the back of the beer gardens at the edge of the midway, and it was a stunner.  Sighting #48 struck an amazing pose leaning against the railing outside of the beer gardens fence all by herself, texting away on her phone and smoking a cigarette with nobody else around.  Hers was one of the more innocent-looking faces of the day, a curly-haired dark blond who could have passed for 17 but I figured she was at least 21 since she was hanging around this beer gardens.  Making the scene even sweeter was that her clothes perfectly fit the wholesome presentation, with her white tanktop flowing into a pair of medium-blue jeans with holes in the knees.  Hard to overstate just how girl-next-door she came across, corrupted only by the cork filter cigarette she was repeatedly dragging from.  I got one semifrontal pic but given her isolation I had to stand to the side to get subsequent pics.  None of them does full justice to her beauty, but I got a couple pics of her in mid-drag that nails her fantastic presentation.  I got to watch almost her entire cigarette, and while there was nothing distinctive about her style, seeing cigarette smoke casually flow from the mouth and nose from this sweet face as she texted made for one of my best images of the day.  After about five minutes, she finished the cigarette and tossed it to the pavement, absolutely obliterating it with her shoe before heading back into the beer gardens.  The sighting got some yummy additional context as she took a seat right behind the railing where she’d been standing in the company of her family, the only smoker in her group reeking of fresh tobacco and conversing with them, all with her pack of Marlboro Light Special Blends sitting in front of her on the table.  I’d sure have loved to have seen more from this girl yesterday but that’s all I would get.  Still, that presentation with the yummy follow-up context may be enough to qualify for year-end recognition, and definitely one of my top-five sightings of the day.

As that sighting was playing out, I missed out on most of another great sighting occurring a few yards into the midway as an attractive early 20s couple were briefly macking on each other with freshly lit cigarettes in their hands.  The Sighting #49 girl was a blond in a white T-shirt and jean shorts who really seemed on cloud nine in the company of the guy with her cigarette in hand.  Unfortunately, they drifted out of sight and I wasn’t gonna leave the #48 girl just yet.  I saw them on the midway a few minutes later, their cigarettes gone.  That would be about as close as I’d get to a sighting of note on the actual midway yesterday.  It’s a venue that’s been declining in recent years, although most years I still get at least one extra-base hit on the midway.  They renovated the midway since last year, and it didn’t end well since all of the soda/pop machines were removed.  This was a great option for a $2 soft drink in a bottle not packed with ice and has been for the last 12 years, but apparently they decided the machines were hurting the vendors selling pop packed with ice for twice as much…and they were right.

There’s a crowded area where the edge of the grandstand, the midway, and the beer gardens merge that has always produced a good number of sightings and yesterday was no exception to that.  There are booths outside the beer gardens in this area, the same booths where I first saw the legendary “Brittny” (ISF #6) as the only smoker in her family back in 2008.  While the area didn’t produce anything of her caliber yesterday, there was an attractive 20-something blond in a black top and dark jeans, her right leg concealed in a post-injury boot who was sitting with a friend at the table smoking a cigarette and becoming Sighting #52.  The positioning made it impossible to watch for long but I hovered at the outer edge of the tables and watched to see what I could.  She was a very slow smoker so I was only able to stay for a couple of drags before my presence stuck out like a sore thumb and I had to depart.  Fortunately, I’d get a brief encore late in the evening when I saw this same duo of friends outside the bar on the south side of the grounds, with the blond again wielding a cigarette.  She was a very slow smoker once again, but I was at least able to take an empty bench and watch a few drags in the dark before I grew bored with her slowness and moved on.

It was now around 6:00 and the evening was about to bust wide open.  Whenever I started venturing one direction, I’d run into a smoker hottie that would lead me back in the direction I came from.  It was a good problem to have!  And rarely better than when I walked straight into the oncoming Sightings #54 and #55, most likely the two youngest smokers I saw yesterday.  The girls looked 17 or 18 and were shameless about strutting down the center of the concourse amidst hundreds of other fairgoers with cigarettes in hand.  Jumping out at me most was the girl to the left, whose long auburn hair flowed over her shoulders onto her black tanktop.  Below the waist she wore this crazy short pair of pale blue cutoffs, so short that you could see her ass dimples, with long, smooth legs flowing out.  She had an unfortunate tattoo on her right thigh, and anybody who has read my writeups in the past knows I’m not a fan, but her the rest of her presentation was so sultry I barely noticed the tattoo and was able to block it out.  The friend was a more girl-next-door type, still quite cute and looking less like a smoker of the two, with bookish glasses and light brown hair flowing onto a pink top with black leggings on the bottom.  The two complemented each other nicely image-wise, but the one thing they had in common was a shameless dependency on nicotine, taking regular drags on their cigarettes as they walked.  As hard as it is to get pics generally, it’s even harder walking rapidly to people’s sides in a crowd and nailing a pic in motion, but I managed a couple decent ones, and one pic in particular that captures both of them.  I caught several of their drags after I surrendered the photo-taking, ultimately following them to behind some vendor booths where the hottie of the duo dropped her cork-filter butt to the ground and didn’t bother to crush it out.  The debris she littered was an oddball variation of Marlboro with a neon green print.  Maybe it’s a menthol version of Marlboro Blacks…not sure.  By the time I caught up with them, the brunette’s cigarette was nowhere to be seen.  Great show…and not the last I’d see from them!

I ventured westward again after that detour, and only moments later would end up on another detour following another smoker hottie on the concourse as she headed east.  Sighting #56 was a girl after my own heart because of her outfit.  She was a dark blond wearing a shoulderless pale pink blouse and nice-fitting white shorts on the bottom.  White shorts are the top of the pyramid for me for summer attire, and it’s not nearly common enough to see cute smoker babes wearing them anymore.  I got a couple of good in-motion side shot pics of this girl, who looked about 30.  Her face was a little harder than her soft presentation suggested, but she was still attractive and got an A for effort with that outfit.  She was walking in front of a nonsmoking middle-aged couple who I assumed were her parents, making her smoking all the more exciting.  She dropped the butt to the concourse and I was all the more excited to approach and discover she had been smoking a Marlboro Red.

The stretch of hits kept coming in the next few minutes with a double-bang shot playing out simultaneously between two groups in the general vicinity of this semicircle of benches behind the grandstand.  Capturing my attention first was this slightly chubby but adorable blond who looked about 19 or 20 and had two long braids flowing over her shoulders onto her white “Grandstand Staff” T-shirt and jean shorts on the bottom.  She was sitting on this big rock with her bare legs crossed, smoking a cigarette while a friend waited and a middle-aged couple who I would quickly figure out were her parents sat across from her on a bench.  The oddest but most delicious context from Sighting #59 was that, like me, her mom was pointing a camera phone at her and seemed to be requesting that she pose holding her cigarette by her face.  WTF!  “Mom!”, she said in an understandably embarrassed tone.  I’d love to have been able to overhear even more context from this but wouldn’t, instead just enjoying watching her smoke, taking a couple of pics of her and catching her just before her cigarette went into her mouth in one of them.  After finishing the cigarette, she pulled her T-shirt off and revealed a skimpier tanktop underneath, which implied to me that her shift working for the grandstand had ended.  Unfortunately, the removal of the T-shirt revealed a couple less-than-flattering tattoos on her arm, but it was still a nice show.  However……

…..to my left an even better show was going on with Sighting #60.  The girl in question was an absolutely gorgeous dark brunette in a skimpy pale pink tanktop and equally perfect jean shorts, her smooth legs exposed from the upper thigh on down.  Seeing this girl in isolation I’d have figured she was about 16 as she just exuded innocence and wholesomeness…and didn’t look AT ALL like a smoker.  But she was in the company of a couple of older guys who looked about 21, so I figured she was likely closer to their age.  It’s crazy how more and more women in their 20s still have the look of teenagers.  I saw several instances of it yesterday, with this girl being the pinnacle of it.  She was smoking to my left at the same time as the previous girl was smoking to my right, so it was a constant carcinogenic cloud show in both directions. This girl put on the better show though, mostly just because of her soft look but her timely drags and dense, cloudy exhales didn’t hurt either.  I had a hard time nailing a “perfect” photo but got what I figured were a few good ones.  One of the guys in her group finished his cigarette first and the girl made a special point of insisting he toss the butt in the garbage can, so I figured that probably meant I’d be denied a butt ID when she finished hers.  The three of them walked off, the cigarette still on the final couple drags of her cigarette, and I thankfully followed to get a couple ass shots before she squeezed the cigarette out between her fingers and tossed it in the next garbage can.  I say “thankfully” because when I looked later, I discovered all of my frontal photos of her were dark, just like most of the pics of one of my best girls was last year.  Apparently the culprit is taking pics to the west at whatever the sun angle is at the 6 p.m. hour in August.  It was highly unfortunate because, once again, pics were disgustingly dark of one of my hottest girls of the fair and it’s hard to make her out, let alone her cigarette.  She was still one of my top-five sightings of the day though and combined with the blond fair worker the other direction, I was pleased with the show.  On top of all that, there were two hot 19ish girls in between them who were vaping.  Vaping does nothing for me, but that was still a lot of girls in a very narrow area doing naughty stuff.

I’d finally find my way off the concourse after that intense stretch, moving towards the main beer gardens area where huddles of people stood out in front, and one of them was Sighting #62, this long-haired late 20s platinum blond with a very pretty face.  Unfortunately, she was taking her final drag when I spotted her and then dropped the cigarette to the ground, expelling a snootful of smoke in a downward trajectory.  She was in a cluster of several friends and was the only one smoking, and even though I didn’t get to see much of her smoking, I still wanted a pic and made a few attempts to get one, but mostly just capturing her ass, not that there was anything wrong with that!  She was wearing a bright yellow tanktop and pale blue jean shorts, and looking at the photos today I’m really struck by how big her boobs were.  Definitely wish I would have seen more smoking from her.

Moments later, I’d wander through the south side seating area, a location that delivered multiple times in years past but was lukewarm yesterday.  However, I spotted a blond and her boyfriend lighting up while taking a seat on the cement and resting, and I struggled to find a good place to observe Sighting #63.  Given the angle that she was sitting and the location of her boyfriend to her right, it was very hard to even be able to watch her smoke let alone take pics.  It was weird because I was close enough to hear her conversation with the boyfriend (about work), but most of what I could see was the expulsion of smoke from her face in the seconds after her exhales.  She was decent looking, not a bombshell but still had an IT factor that made her interesting, accentuated by her shapely body concealed in a light blue tanktop and pale blue jean shorts.  I walked away realizing my vantage point was not gonna improve before she finished the cigarette, but an hour or so later I’d see this couple again in the presence of another couple, both lighting up another round of cigarettes and I’d get a little bit better show the second time, impressed with her stylistic bells and whistles that were particularly evident in her cloudy exhales.

From there, I ventured down the alleyway past a set of bathrooms and towards the end of the alley I came across a couple of familiar youthful faces, the most striking of which being that sexpot 17ish chick in the daisy dukes strutting down the concourse with cigarette in hand only about 15 minutes earlier with her friend (Sightings #54 and #55).  Well here they were again, seated in the grass next to each other and looking at their phones.  Only one of them was smoking this time, but it was the right girl….that sexy little auburn-haired cutie with those impossibly long legs coming out of the equally impossibly short shorts.  Her elbow was covering the tattoo on her thigh nicely as I proceeded to snap a few more pics, a couple of them with her in mid-drag.  It was approaching dark and the photos were blurrier than I’d prefer but it was nice to get a couple more shots of her and see her smoking another cigarette so quickly after her first.  Still, no chance of a girl her age giving me a third show later in the evening, right?  Right?  We’ll see.

My next extra-base hit would come behind The Depot, where I came upon a duo of fair employees on a smoke break on a remote bench that was regrettably behind this golf cart-like “club car” that is used to ride around the grounds.  I say regrettably because the car’s presence obstructed most of the killer body of Sighting #69, this very wholesome mid-20s long-haired light brunette who was smoking her cigarette on that bench.  However, I was close enough to get some nice pics, including one fantastic shot of her in mid-drag.  Here was another girl who didn’t look at all like a smoker, but she disproved that notion every time she took a drag and belched out very impressive amounts of smoke in her follow-up exhales.  I got to see the vast majority of her cigarette but knew based on the isolated location that when she crushed out her butt that I would not be able to sneak in there and get a butt ID since there was a guy sitting inside that club car, but I did take note of her “Built Ford Tough” T-shirt and the much bigger “Built Ford Tough” banner about 20 yards behind her.  She was working the Ford booth….a young professional this cute but addicted to nicotine nonetheless.  As soon as she got up to go back to the booth, I jumped up and followed her to get an ass shot, and if you could see how great her body looked with those long legs coming out of a pair of black shorts, you’d know why as I just couldn’t tolerate her lower body to be denied photo immortality simply because it was blocked by that Club Car while she was smoking.  Another solid sighting from a day where the solid sighting count was really becoming impressive.

Moving on to another sighting likely poised for end-of-year acclaim was Sighting #73.  At the edge of the midway and the beer gardens, I came across this odd dynamic of two middle-aged, blue collar guys standing smoking cigarettes with a cute 21ish blond.  She was undoubtedly the daughter of one of these guys, or else a girlfriend young enough to be their daughter, but if she was a daughter the apple fell far from the tree as she was a very wholesome-looking sweetheart.  Looking at this trio hovering near the water fountains smoking their cigarettes, it sure wasn’t hard to discern which was the odd person out. Her long blond hair flowed all the way down her back and onto her waist, with a white blouse that left several inches of exposed midriff and tight-fitting pale blue jeans underneath.  The tightness of her jeans made it all the more obvious to observe that pack of Marlboro Smooths stuffed into the back pocket of her jeans, ready for business for a night of partying with the old guys.  And sure enough, a few drags into their cigarettes, they couldn’t wait any longer and one of the older guys announced, “Let’s go drink some beer!” and they wandered in the direction of the beer gardens across the street.  The blond still had cigarette in hand, intermittently dragging from it as she maneuvered through the dense crowd lingering near the beer gardens entrance and exhaling her smoke clouds with reckless abandon.  I got more pics of her than any other girl yesterday, but none were perfect as it was approaching sunset which adds to the blur factor and smudged the image of her pretty face more than once.  I got a couple really nice ones though and even though she was partially cut off in it, I got one pic of her in mid-drag.  It was a great sighting through and through with the odd demographic dynamic, the hot smoker girl and her thin exhales, and the sexy outfit complete with cigarette pack squeezed into her ass pocket.  Whatever direction you happened to be looking at this girl from, there was something to get excited about!  She finished the cigarette and dropped it to the pavement seconds before going inside.  She had smoked the cigarette almost to the filter and there was barely enough evidence on the butt to discern that it was a Marlboro Smooth.  This night continued to deliver!

And crossing the street heading towards the south side, the evening delivered again when I came upon Sighting #74, an athletic-looking mid-to-late 20s dark brunette in a pink T-shirt and baggy athletic shorts who didn’t look at all like a smoker but was nonetheless wielding a freshly lit cork filter and standing all by herself smoking near a tree.  I was able to walk on up and snap a side pic, albeit a nonsmoking one, and catch a couple of her drags.  Not sure if she knew I was stalking her or if she was just restless, but she migrated a few feet to her left to this trinket vendor and started chatting the girl up, holding her cigarette to her side as she talked.  It would have been fantastic if she had taken a drag directly in front of the vendor in mid-conversation but she held back, holding the cigarette until the vendor girl moved away.  It was still a very nice sighting though and one of the least likely smoker girls I’d run into yesterday.

Next, in close proximity to the east side beer gardens, I’d get my second of three cigar sightings of the day with Sighting #76.  A trio of one guy and two late 20s women were standing together, and the two women were passing a Black ‘N’ Mild back and forth.  The one woman was heavy and unattractive, but the other was quite nice, a light brunette in a low-cut pink top showing off plenty of cleavage and dark jeans below.  I won’t say she didn’t look like a smoker, but she certainly didn’t look like a cigar smoker!  I was able to take a bench and watch as much as I could of the show with thralls of people walking in front of me on this packed sidewalk.  I made three attempts at photos but only one stuck, and unfortunately you can’t see her cigar in it.  The brunette hottie seemed to smoke most of the cigar between the two of them but prematurely leaned down to stub it out.  As I was walking away, she nonetheless put it in her mouth and took a couple of additional drags that still produced some smoke and stench, which seemed odd since she had been attempting to snuff the thing out.

The sightings were adding up hot and heavy now well into the 7:00 hour, and the bulk of the activity was playing out on the concourse as the aforementioned lack of organization in getting concertgoers into the grandstand for the 90s hip-hop acts was really becoming a logistical disaster.  It was fast approaching 8:00, when the concert was supposed to start, but lines hundreds of people deep were extending all the way across the concourse and making it even harder to get around.  I’m guessing there were very slow-moving bag checks significantly delaying entry.  While the long lines were a nuisance to everybody, including fairgoers like myself trying to navigate the concourse, the upside was that there were quite a few nicotine-starved females in line for the concert who couldn’t wait any longer for a cigarette.  The crowd generally skewed older given that it was hip-hop acts popular more than 20 years ago, but amongst them  were a good dozen women in their late 20s to late 30s attractive enough to count as sightings, the best of which was a foursome of late 20s gals who visited the bathroom east of the grandstand and exited with freshly lit cigarettes between all of their fingers.  None of the women were individually gorgeous, but Sightings #85, 86, 87, and 88 all brought something to the table and had enough variance in their outfits, hair color, and body type to make it a comprehensive visual, particularly since they were all copiously dragging on their cigarettes as they walked down the concourse preparing to get back in line.  A brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts was the best smoker, taking the deepest drags and producing the cloudiest exhales, but a short-haired blond in a white tanktop and tight medium-blue jean shorts struck the most attractive pose of the four and looked most distinguished in possession of her cigarette.  I followed them till they found their way to back of the long line where they took their final drags and stomped out the cigarettes fairly quickly.  Always a treat to get a multiple-girl sighting, and they are getting increasingly rare in recent years.

And not far from the back of the line where the foursome arrived, a dozen or so people ahead of them in line were a middle-aged mother and a 30-ish daughter who were both smoking right in the densely packed line of fairgoers.  It was hard to hover and watch people in line so I only got to see a couple of drags from Sighting #89, but as I walked away I stumbled upon a trio sitting in a corner next to a lemonade stand that would produce Sighting #90, my third of three cigar sightings from last night.  There were two guys and a girl, the guys both smoking cigarettes while the tall, 19ish dark brunette girl had a Black ‘N’ Mild cigar all to herself.  She was hitting it pretty regularly too and struck a pretty impressive pose in her black tanktop and dark jeans covering up a body that appeared to be at least six feet tall from her seated position, nearly emasculating the two guys next to her with her imposing size and her larger cigar versus their cigarettes.  But there was one glaring downside to this sighting….all three of them were higher than a kite, drugged out of their minds on something that was pretty obviously worse than pot.  I watched for a couple of minutes but lost interest as it was clear how wasted all of them were.

The concourse would deliver one more time in a major way as I headed westward from there, and stumbled into a girl who had already delivered in a major way…twice.  It was my 17ish auburn-haired chain-smoking sex kitten in the daisy duke cutoffs doing her favorite thing again….smoking yet another cigarette, at least her third in just a little more than an hour.  The cute but nerdy looking friend in the black leggings was still with her, but just like the previous time she was not smoking herself.  This show belonged entirely to the hottie with the shorts so short I was watching her ass dimples wiggle with each step.  It was so damn sexy to see her so confidently strut down the packed concourse dragging from her cigarette repeatedly and exhaling with a devil-may-care attitude.  I got in on about seven more nicely paced drags before she dropped the cork-filter cigarette with the neon green Marlboro logo to the pavement, again failing to crush it out.  There was no doubt the first time I saw this duo smoking they’d be high on my list of favorites for the day, but having seen three cigarettes from my favorite of the two is enough to get her up to my third favorite sighting of the day.  The best news is that still leaves my two favorites for the day yet to come!  And just a warning, first impressions just might be misleading moving ahead.

I was on quite a tear from about 6 p.m. to 8:30, but after sunset my pace slowed considerably and I came upon some frustration.  I had had a few heartbreaks over the course of the day with girls vaping, but it was still more the exception than the rule and I was seeing enough quality smoker sightings to shake it off.  But I drew the line when I found myself seated on a bench in the south side seating area across from a trio of 19ish babes, with two of them revealing themselves as vapers.  Apparently, the smaller vape pens with the glowing tips and the thin vapor exhales are making a bit of a comeback because I saw a couple of teens using them at Summerfest along with the two girls here.  One was a dark brunette with long braids going down her back, and she seemed to be hitting her vape pen the hardest.  The other was a dark blond who was strikingly attractive and doing most of the talking amongst the threesome (and talking about sex at that!), who more casually hit her vape pen.  The third girl was the most gorgeous of the three, this agonizingly wholesome blond sweetheart in a pink top and a conservative but sexy black skirt that crested several inches above her knees.  She was never vaping, and at one point, she stood up and faced the other girls while they vaped, as if she was annoyed even being around their “secondhand vape”, although perhaps she had other reasons.  While I had a half a woody going watching these three who I had really taken an interest in, I eventually walked away and became depressed for the first time yesterday that girls like the two in this group that would surely have been smoking five years ago were vaping today and had no idea what they were missing. About 10 minutes later I’d find myself behind two of these girls again, the non-vaping blond and the braided brunette, the latter of which still had her vape pen in hand.  Couple these images with a slowdown in sightings and my morale was the lowest for the night.

The sightings slowdown lingered until well after dark and I finally got a halfway memorable encounter with Sighting #96, a dark blond in a ball cap and a matching black top and black shorts who was walking with her group on the south side of the grounds and wielding a cigarette.  There was a bit of a bottleneck at the location I spotted her and it worked to my advantage and I found my way behind her and was able to walk very slowly right behind her and take in some of her secondhand smoke.  The girl was a “strong single” in terms of a sighting but had a great presentation and I admired her moxie in walking through this dense patch of territory with cigarette in hand.

In the next 10 minutes or so I migrated to the east side beer gardens area that has been such a gold mine in recent years and it was about to deliver again in the most unlikely way with my best sighting of the day.  Crowds hover outside the beer gardens’ west entrance, often times people stepping outside for a smoke, but Sighting #100 was no ordinary “someone”.  The vision of feminine beauty a few feet in front of me with a freshly lit cigarette between her fingers was none other than the adorable 19ish blond in the black skirt who I had spotted in the south side seating area only about a half hour earlier, the only of the three girls who wasn’t even vaping at the time!  Now I had assumed based on her failure to join in on the vaping earlier–and her church youth director looks–that she was every bit as squeaky clean as she appeared.  Instead, she was standing amidst a cluster of guys and the braided brunette friend dragging from an analog cigarette and seemingly enjoying the hell out of every drag!  As I watched her indulge in that out-of-place cigarette, ingesting cancerous chemicals into such a pristine face and matching body, it struck me that perhaps the reason the trio of girls sat in that south side seating area in the first place was so that the blond could smoke a cigarette while the friends vaped…and that she had finished the cigarette before I got there.  There’s no way of knowing if it happened that way or not but it was a sweet thought.  It was after dark and I knew my photos would be a blurry mess, but I nonetheless took a handful, including one of her in mid-drag.  None of the pics turned out and her beautiful face was too blurred to appreciate, but at least I captured her jaw-dropping presentation in that pink top and conservative black skirt.  What a stunning find she was….and I know now why I was so instinctively drawn to her group while watching on the south side.  She finished off the cigarette and dropped it to the pavement, quickly walking with the braided brunette into the beer gardens.  I guess it was possible she was 21 but she sure didn’t look it and neither did the brunette friend or the dark blond friend earlier.  She was holding a nonalcoholic slushie while she smoked and perhaps was hanging around inside the beer gardens just for the live music or to be with friends.  Either way, she quickly worked her way to the top of my list for the evening and whatever momentum I felt I had lost was back now!

And proving again that it’s feast or famine at times at these fairs, a few feet behind my favorite girl of the night (Sighting #100) was Sighting #101, a stunning mid-20s long-haired blond wearing a black top and tight medium-blue jeans, also smoking a cigarette while standing with her boyfriend.  While in the process of observing my favorite girl, I got a couple of side glances at #101 and caught her in a couple of drags, even managing a quick (and blurry) backside pic.  And when I say backside, I’m describing her best quality as she had a perfect ass accentuated by those tight jeans.  She vanished after only about a minute, deserving more attention than I was able to give her.

I was riding high at this point, for obvious reasons, which was good because the next half hour or so didn’t feature anything too memorable.  There’s a spot across the street from the midway and beer gardens that has typically been a teen hangout after dark, and still was to a degree, but they made some renovations to the grounds and moved a few things around, which seemed to affect crowd placement to a degree.  As is typical though, I didn’t see any teens in the residual huddle smoking, but just south of the benches was a sexy feminine profile of a long-haired platinum blond in a white tanktop and pale blue jean shorts, which is always a top summer girl image for me, wielding a cigarette in the company of a nonsmoking boyfriend.  Sighting #107 had a bit more of a harder look than I hoped for based on my distant observation but she was still attractive and it was nice watching her take a few drags, particularly when another nonsmoking couple who recognized them offered greetings and chatted for a bit.  Sexiest of all though that a girl dressed like this was smoking while the boyfriend wasn’t.

I headed back to the east side beer gardens not quite a half hour removed from my sighting of the night, crossing my fingers for a follow-up but trying to hold expectations down.  Before I got there, I stumbled upon Sighting #108, a tall and attractive blond in a black top and dark jeans.  The more I looked her over, the more surprisingly wholesome she seemed, particularly in the context of being in a mixed-gender group (two guys and three girls) and she was the only smoker of the five.  It was an intriguing image, but I had bigger fish to fry and walked away pretty quickly, but I got a follow-up to this sighting only about 15 minutes later when I spotted the same group of five sitting under the canopy in the open-air Depot…and once again, blondie was the only one smoking another cigarette, her pack of Marlboro Lights resting in front of her on the bench.  As wholesome as she looked, it was a jarring (and wonderful) image to see her smoking in a spot where I’m sure smoking is formally banned and would be considered bad manners by most nonsmokers in that setting.

Anyway, back to the east side beer gardens.  I was glad I held expectations down because I walked past the entrance area where I saw Sighting #100 about a half hour earlier and there were no impossibly wholesome blond cuties in pink blouses and black skirts to be found.  Nonetheless, I progressed the extra 50 yards up to the bathroom north of there, and lo and behold, out came the blond and the braided brunette, exiting the bathroom en route to the beer gardens area again.  My prospects were improving as I did a 180-degree pivot to follow them.  Sure enough, she stopped next to the same group of guys she was with earlier and was fishing around in her purse.  Unbelievably, out came the pack of Marlboro Reds.  She placed the unlit cigarette in her mouth and fired up.  The girl I thought was too wholesome to sit amongst her vaping friends less than an hour earlier was now smoking (at least) her second cigarette of the last half hour.  She was already my sighting of the day so this encore presentation was just gravy.  I didn’t bother with picture-taking this time and just stood at a nice angle and watched, catching her every adorable drag and watching in disbelief every time a blast of smoke flowed out of her beautiful face.  And even though the braided brunette was still wasting time with her silly vape pen, blondie was gracious enough to hand her the cigarette on a couple of occasions for a quick drag, which helped make the friend Sighting #109.  After smoking the cigarette nearly to the filter, she crushed it out on the cement again and they stepped inside again and unfortunately that would be the last I’d see of them.  I returned to the east side beer gardens three more times before the evening ended and they weren’t around.  But never in a hundred years could I have imagined when I was sitting on the south side at 8:00 demoralized at the friends’ vaping that I’d be getting two moments of this caliber from that girl.  She was easily the high point of August 12, 2017.

Extra-base hits continued to abound as I headed to the west side of the concourse in front of the Depot around the 11:00 hour and spotted a distinguished mid-20s platinum blond wearing an oddball but ultimately satisfying outfit of baggy athletic shorts coupled with white fishnet stockings.  The combo sounds alternative but everything else about the girl seemed anything but as she otherwise had a wholesome Midwestern face.  Her African American boyfriend was sitting on the bench eating but I began to take notice when blondie stood up and began fidgeting in her purse.  Sure enough, out came a cigarette and she lit up to become Sighting #115.  And at the very moment she lit up, another couple was walking past where the attractive long-haired early 20s dark blond female in a red top and dark jeans was smoking while her white trash boyfriend was not.  Sighting #116 and the boyfriend took a bench about 10 yards up the concourse and since I would be able to take a seat across from them and watch her show, I took that option.  It was a dark spot and I was positioned in a way that I had to look right to see her so I wasn’t able to watch the whole cigarette, but the darkness made it easier to appreciate the glowing red cherry every time she took a substantial drag from her cigarette while her boyfriend, who looked far more like a smoker than she did, quietly sat next to her and let her smoke.  Once the awkwardness of my vantage point became a logistical problem, I took advantage of the other option playing out near me and returned to the platinum blond in the white fishnet stockings, still standing near her seated boyfriend and continuing to smoke her cigarette.  For a couple of minutes, I wandered back and forth between the girls and was able to catch some drags from both.  I loved the dynamic here where both attractive females were smokers while their boyfriends were not.  In no way could I complain about how this night was going!

And the evening would offer up one more incredible moment as I walked past the main beer gardens entrance and came across a very familiar face.  It had been two years since I had seen this blond of Hollywood-caliber beauty, but she was my #7 sighting from 2015 and back at the location that made her a star.  A face as pretty as hers is hard to forget, and coupling it with the same beer gardens spot where I saw her on two different nights in 2015 was a perfect trip down memory lane.  For the record, two years ago I saw her smoking twice on Saturday night but returned five nights later to her marquee moment of the year, when she was decked out in a little black dress and had to get playfully physical to retrieve her cigarette when a guy friend walked off with it, all playing out at this same spot in front of the main beer gardens.  Back to 2017, she was Sighting #122 tonight and the sighting appeared poised to be brief and uneventful as she was standing in front of the bar with her back to me, sharing a cigarette with a guy friend.  But even that little appearance yielded some x-factor given that she knocked the ball out of the park again with her wardrobe, decked out in a shoulderless leopard-spotted tanktop and a pair of extremely tight-fitting jeans spliced in all the right places.  I remembered being impressed by this girl’s one-in-a-million ass back in 2015 but these tight jeans took it to an entirely different place, and since she was standing up to the bar with her back to me, I took the opportunity to snap a couple pics, and even as blurry as they are, it’s impossible not to notice that ass in the center of the dark and blur.  I stuck around a few minutes but it appeared as though she had lost custody of the cigarette for good, and it also appeared that she was severely drunk, so I wandered off just happy for the brief encore of an ISF classic from years past.  Still, this girl smoked three cigarettes in the three instances I saw her in 2015, so I had plans to keep tabs on her in the remaining hour.

It was at this point I ventured off the east side beer gardens and didn’t find anything too memorable, feeling an overwhelming instinct to return to see if Hollywood had any more tricks up her sleeve.  I didn’t even make it all the way back to the main beer gardens area when I spotted her and the guy friend from a few minutes ago drunkenly walking from a food stand where he picked something up to eat.  Given how wasted she was and the fact that I’ve seen her at the beer gardens repeatedly two years ago and tonight offers some strong anecdotal evidence that this girl has a bit of a problem with her alcohol.  But my God….dat ass!  As the guy and girl ventured back to the beer gardens area, I followed and for inexplicable reasons, the guy went inside and left her to herself.  I sat on the curb just to wait things out a bit when things got even weirder and she sat down on the curb as well, not five feet from me.  She gave me a passing smile as we made eye contact, minimally flirtatious and leading me to believe she might actually be about to strike up a drunken conversation with me.  She didn’t, which made things easier for me on a number of levels as it allowed me to continue to be anonymous and kept me from being seen as taking advantage of a severely drunk girl whose male friend was not far away.  Anyway, moments after she parked her incredible ass on the curb, she opened her purse and started fidgeting around.  Here it was, I thought…cigarettes are coming out.  But actually a dollar bill came out and she stumbled her way back up to approach a trio of middle-aged women who were all smoking.  She was gonna buy a cigarette from them!!!

She immersed herself briefly in the huddle as one of the women produced an all-white cigarette.  Her ass again looked incredible and I snapped what would be my best pic of it as I sat there.  One woman lit her up and she kept chatting with them for a minute or so before returning to the curb a few feet from me and gave me a front-row seat to her smoking show.  I was close enough to take a few action pics that turned out even in the dark.  It was just incredible luck.  A couple of guys walked past her and gave her a sympathetic high-five in passing, recognized how badly shit-faced she was.  I didn’t get to make physical contact but the close-up smoking show I got was even better as I watched her take one very intense drag after another on the all-white, exhaling rich clouds of smoke from her blackened respiratory system for the next few minutes.  She kept sitting there after finishing the cigarette so I wouldn’t get the chance to ID the brand.  I know she smoked Marlboro Ultra Lights two years ago, but this was a mooched brand so I have no idea what this was.  All too often, those responsible for the best sightings in the past have a way of delivering nearly every time you see them, and Hollywood definitely proved that again, giving me what would end up being my second-best sighting of the day.  I hope I’m wrong that she’s an alcoholic but the anecdotal evidence is not promising.

There weren’t many extraordinary moments in the last half hour but as close as I would come was Sighting #127, a mother-daughter duo in a dark spot near some food vendors on the east side of the concourse.   The darkness was an unfortunate obstruction but I was impressed with the mid-to-late-20s dark blond daughter, particularly with the black leather jacket she was wearing with her pale blue jeans.  I was only able to linger for a couple of drags given the terrible location before I had to depart but would be fortunate enough to see the mother and daughter walking together a few minutes later, obviously sans the cigarette, in a better-lit location.  The daughter wasn’t a knockout per se but had a modest beauty about her accentuated by the black leather jacket.

The concert let out around 11:30 and the departing crowds were pretty heavy, making me confident I’d break my all-time sightings record before the end of the night and surpass 143.  I walked past the grassy area outside of the grandstand a few times and put together a few decent sightings of 20-something smokers, the most memorable being the attractive brunettes who would be Sightings #135 and #136, but my standards were high after my great finds in the last couple of hours and nothing was rocking my world.  The older-skewing crowd was producing plenty of smokers who were too old to interest me as well.  As it got to be 11:45, my feet were exhausted and I decided to make my final walk to the shuttle bus.  I expected with the concert having just departed, there would be a lot of people waiting to board and just by standing in line a few minutes I’d break my 2011 record by counting the girls having one final cigarette before boarding the bus.

Before I got to the final stretch, I saw a duo of smoker girls on a bench near The Depot, the cutest of which was Sighting #139, a mid-20s Asian girl in a white and black striped dress standing while her friends sat.  It’s always hot to see an Asian girl smoking generally, and as I watched her take a drag from her all-white, I noticed the cigarette was crooked.  I don’t see the crooked cigarette a lot but it’s always kind of cute when I do, particularly when the girl has a prim and proper look about her generally but sucking in carcinogens from a less than perfect cigarette.

I was on the final stretch of pavement heading to the shuttle bus and as I saw the line for the bus wasn’t nearly as long as expected, I decided that I miscalculated and should have lingered a bit longer on the concourse in pursuit of that all-time record.  A duo of modestly attractive mid-20s gals was standing off to the side near some machinery smoking to become Sightings #141 and #142, but unfortunately the evening would end there.  I wasn’t that disappointed that I didn’t break the record given that so much of what I did see was very high quality, but in retrospect, an extra five minutes on the grounds would have really made this day one for the record books.  They announced Saturday’s attendance on Sunday night at it was 123,000, one of the highest-attended days of the ISF and 20,000 or so above the first Saturday of the fair last year.  As I’ve said before, the more bodies on the fairgrounds, the more likely some of them are attractive female smokers, so big crowds are always my friend.

I hopped on the mostly full bus and found myself sitting next to this still-attractive blond who chatted me up the whole 10-minute ride back to the Capitol.  She was 50 years old but was dressed like she was 21 in shorts and cowgirl boots.  At first I thought she was drunk and possibly looking for a lay, but as she started talking it was clear she was sober as a judge and just being friendly.  It was a nice chat and I was grateful that the lack of humidity didn’t turn me into a sweaty lobster that scares away women and children as it often has in the past at the end of a long day on the fairgrounds.  It was 12:40 before I made it back to my place but my feet held up better than usual.  I’m lucky I got such a nice and productive day for Saturday because it’s supposed to be rainy on Tuesday and Wednesday evenings, the only nights I’ll be able to make my midweek journey this week since Thursday won’t work this year.  I’m crossing my fingers and hoping the forecasted rain has moved out by Wednesday evening, but there’s a real chance of it being a disaster.  From there, it’s the Indiana State Fair on Saturday.  The pressure is on for the remaining fair venues to deliver the way Iowa did for me this year.  It was my best day at the ISF since 2014, and I am so grateful in the current era of plunging smoking rates that days like yesterday are still possible.

 

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