2019 Iowa State Fair, Day 1

By every objective measure, I had an exceptional day of fetishing at the Iowa State Fair on Saturday, August 10, 2019.  It was the kind of day I would have considered pretty impressive even 10 years ago.  Especially in the evening, I had a steady drumbeat of extra-base hits, but even in the daytime hours I did pretty well.  And I got one sighting that can only be described as surreal.  It will be a controversial sighting among readers, but given the rarity of seeing something like this even a quarter century ago let alone in 2019, it’s the early frontrunner for 2019’s sighting of the year.  I got 130 sightings by night’s end, definitely above-average, and had I not an emergency issue with a badly cramping foot for the final four hours of the night, I may very well have beaten my one-day ISF record of 143 sightings.

I didn’t know what to expect going in, as there was an unforecasted shower at 8 a.m. and reports of pop-up showers possible in the afternoon and evening.  And the grandstand act for the night was rock band Slipknot.  I haven’t followed rock music for a quarter century so I didn’t know anything about this group beyond the fact that they’re from Des Moines.  Never would I have imagined they’d sell the place out and produce absurd crowds of favorable demographics.  There certainly wasn’t any sign of the tidal wave of fairgoers when I boarded my shuttle bus at 10:45 a.m. after waiting in a very short line and then arriving at the grounds shortly after 11 to clearing skies and rising temperatures.  It always feels great to enter the grounds and yesterday was no exception, but I made sure to keep expectations low especially for those early hours.

After a mediocre first sighting, I was near the southern gate entrance and spotted Sighting #2, a sighting with an interesting dynamic as it appeared to feature a modest age-gap couple of whom both parties were smoking.  An early 30s blond decked out in a gray T-shirt and black leggings who had full lips and a definite look of a smoker sat down on a bench with freshly lit cigarette in hand.  Her presumed husband looked at least 10 years older, but not old enough to be her father.  I was on a bench across the street watching her take a few nice drags and testing out the camera on my new phone with a couple of shots that were apparently too far away to offer much detail.  It’s a learning curve with new phones.  But most prophetic of the theme of the day was that the aforementioned gray T-shirt on the blond featured a Slipknot logo.  That was my first of many indications that Slipknot was gonna be the story of the day.

A few minutes later, also on a block on the south side of the grounds in the general vicinity of the livestock buildings, I’d get another solid moment for before noon when I walked past a bench and spotted Sighting #3, this sweetheart of an early 20s dark blond in a ball cap, orange T-shirt, and dark blue jean shorts sitting with her boyfriend.  She was smoking and he was not….always something I love to see.  The girl was not a perfect 10 but had a girl next door aura about her and definitely looked out of place with a cigarette this day and age.  I sat to the side and got a couple of pics that I figured would turn out better, but mostly just watched her show, with nicely paced drags and cloudy exhales, none of which was objected to by her lucky nonsmoking boyfriend.  She crushed out the cigarette and walked it to the nearest trash can before she and the boyfriend walked away.   Less than a half hour into the day and I was already on the board!

If Slipknot was the big story of the day, the second biggest was Presidential politics.  A full NINE Presidential candidates took to the Des Moines Register stage to stump for votes over the course of the day, and just walking around I was only a few feet away from Jay Inslee, Amy Klobuchar, and Tim Ryan, along with Washington political reporters Dave Weigel and Dan Balz.  At one point my Presidential candidate count was higher than my smoker girl count!  That’s what Iowans get to put up with every four years, but for a political junkie like myself it’s kind of fun.

The south side of the grounds was the hotspot for late morning and early afternoon sightings, and I would come across my second-best sighting of the day in front of the horse barn of all places.  Three women stood in front of the building, and only one was a smoker, but damn if she didn’t put all of the other smoker girls yesterday on notice.  Sighting #5 was this exceptionally wholesome ponytailed blond wearing a casual red T-shirt and farm girl jeans, exactly the kind of girl you’d expect to see standing in front of a horse barn but about the last kind of girl you’d expect to see smoking a cigarette.  When I first laid eyes on her I figured she was about 18 but upon further inspection she was more likely 21 or 22.  The two nonsmoking women standing with her were both older, probably in their 30s or 40s but with no obvious indication that either was her mother.  It was such a badass image of this country cutie blond standing in front of the brick horse barn holding her cigarette in her left hand next to those scruffy jeans.  But as outstanding as this presentation was, it was her actual smoking that really floored me….

She held the cigarette to her mouth from the left to avoid the nonsmokers, taking a deep drag and proceeding to pump out the exhaust of her exhale while still dragging, and mostly with her mouth.  That’s a trick my favorite lady in Missouri does, exhaling while still dragging, although she usually exhales through her nose.  It’s pretty rare to see this trick done through the mouth since blondie’s mouth was already occupied sucking in the cigarette’s carcinogens, but she apparently pursed the lips on one side of her mouth while puckering up the other side to create this stunning visual.  And the best part was she did it on almost every drag!  And I say almost every drag because there was one where she was conversing with the nonsmoking women and turned to the right while still exhaling, creating a massive cloud of secondhand smoke right in their airspace.  It was a perfect combination of a unique and beautiful girl with a cool storyline and exceptional smoking optics.  I got to see about seven drags before she leaned over to crush the all-white cigarette on the pavement, regrettably tossing it into the trash can and denying me a butt ID.  And while I did get a number of photos of this one, including some dragging shots, I was unimpressed with the way they turned out.  I thought I was easily within range to get quality pics, but the images of her face are a tick blurry when I cropped them.  They’re not bad photos, but they don’t properly convey how much of a beauty she is or how great of a smoking show she put on.  Take my word for it though that my day was suddenly really on its feet and it wasn’t even 1:00 yet.

The momentum continued with another of my top-five sightings of the day which played out a block or so north near the big slide.  I knew I had struck gold again approaching from the west when I saw a really attractive mid-20s blond in a light blue tanktop and shorts lighting up in a grassy area with a bloody mary in her other hand.  But I’d get even more than I bargained for when I got there to find it was a two-for-one sighting, with young children standing in between the smoker ladies.  Sightings #7 and #8 didn’t appear to have a big enough age gap to be mother and daughter, but the blond who I saw light up first was clearly the younger of the two by several years.  The other gal was a brunette who appeared to be mid-30s with the weathered features of a long-time heavy smoker starting to take effect, but she had a great body draped in a black tanktop and white shorts.  Then there were the kids, a light brunette boy who looked about seven and a cute little girl who looked three or four, standing right below their mother(s) as they smoked their cigarettes and drank their bloody marys.  It was definitely a colorful sighting, both literally and figuratively, and while the brunette was at an angle where I couldn’t see a ton of her smoking, I sure could see the blond’s and she impressed me most anyway, taking nice indulgent drags with beautiful timing.  I scored a number of quality pictures for this one that also capture the kids hovering next to the carcinogen-spewing ladies.  It was a great five-minute show before the two of them stomped out their cigarettes, unfortunately never giving me an opening for a butt ID.  Scoring this sighting within a few minutes of the previous one really had my adrenaline starting to crank!

And while I wouldn’t quite live up to either of the previous two sightings for a while, within about a minute of the previous sighting I stumbled into a foursome that included what I expected was a set of parents and their likely daughter with her husband.  The 50-something mother was the only one smoking when I arrived, but in seconds, the late 20s ballcap-and-jeans daughter was breaking out a pack of Marlboro Lights and firing one up for herself.  So Sighting #9 consisted of a possible mother-daughter sighting where neither generation of males were smoking in the company of the women.  The daughter was modestly attractive but it was the storyline of this sighting that made it worthy of a writeup.

The streak continued with Sighting #10 near the south side seating area, where an attractive but slightly husky mid-20s blond had just lit up a Camel Light and was smoking in the presence of yet another nonsmoking boyfriend.  She was a little too chubby for me to be genuinely into, but she was cute and the dynamic of all these smoking women in the company of nonsmoking guys was really cute.  It was a pretty wild 15-minute stretch that the last several sightings played out, which definitely is not something you can take for granted on a day at the Iowa State Fair where some afternoons are entirely uneventful.

And while it took a while before my next marquee moment, it would definitely be another of the day’s more memorable finds when I found it.  I walked behind The Depot bar and grill on the northwest side of the grounds and saw this vaguely hippie-looking couple where the 20-something guy was fairly scruffy and was smoking a cigarette in an isolated spot under a canopy.  The light brunette girl sort of fit the profile too but was decked out in this blue and purple flower-print dress with a sunhat on her head, giving her one of the more unique presentations of the day.    It was also abundantly clear that the girl was at least five months pregnant with a considerable baby bump stretching out that dress at the belly.  There was an open bench and I sat down just in case the guy would pass his pregnant girlfriend the cigarette.  Within a minute or so, he did and Sighting #12 would be one of the more unlikely pregnant smoker sightings I’ve ever come across.  She took a couple of drags on the cigarette and then spit a lugie to the ground, passing the cigarette back to the boyfriend.  For the next few minutes this process would continue and the couple split the cigarette about evenly, with the pregnant light brunette spitting lugies after pretty much every drag.  Unfortunately, the aforementioned canopy and operator error on my phone robbed me of any good pics.  The canopy had a horizontal pole right in my line of vision and I kept fumbling the shots.  The best I could go was get a rear side shot when they were heading into The Depot after finishing the cigarette.  The day continued to run far ahead of where I was the year before at the ISF during those early afternoon hours.

I didn’t see too many teen smokers on Saturday but my next noteworthy sighting featured one.  A duo of nerdy-looking but cute young ladies wearing Harry Potter-like glasses who were almost certainly sisters stood near the bathroom area east of the grandstand, with the older, chubbier girl smoking a cigarette.  She was overweight to the point of barely counting as Sighting #19, but I did so anyway as she was young and cute, but intriguing me far more was the younger sister to her right who had the same cute nerd look but was slender, decked out in a white T-shirt and a pleated black miniskirt.  I’d guess she was about 17 or 18, and I had a strong suspicion she was gonna get her hands on big sister’s cigarette and become Sighting #20.  Sure enough, in about a minute, the cigarette would be passed along to the cute girl who took a few of her own drags, and the contrast between her nerdy profile with the pleated miniskirt and that cigarette she was dragging from cannot possibly be overstated.  They passed the cigarette back and forth to its completion and then tossed the butt, denying me the ID, and headed into the midway.  While I got some photos, it was once again a bit of a fail as the clear shots I got were when the older sister had the cigarette.  I smudged the lens on my camera at the worst time so the smoking shots of the younger girl were blurry.  I was definitely having some issues with the camera phone up to that point but I’d mostly get them worked out as the day went on.

While teen smoking wasn’t entirely extinct yesterday, make no mistake that the cool kids are vaping and juuling.  It’s crazy that I’d never heard of juuling 18 months ago and now it’s destroying my life!  At one point I’d say my vaping/juuling sightings count exceeded my smoker girl count, which has never happened before.  The only scenario where I can envision this ending well is if the FDA bans these things and a generation of teens that have experimented with them will migrate to cigarettes out of necessity.  That seems like a long shot though.  Most stunning was a long-haired dark blond who looked 13 at most sitting there in the same general area as my nerdy teen smokers, taking a hit from her Juul pod twice and hacking away both times.  I wonder if these things are as prolific in middle schools as they seem to be among high schoolers.

As usual, the Bud Tent on the east side of the grounds provided me my share of sightings yesterday, and during the daytime most of the smokers gravitate to the alleyway behind the Bud Tent, the source of last year’s best ISF sighting in the painted-on neon white pants.  I’d get my share of great stuff here in the evening, but the only Bud Tent daytime sighting that left a mark was Sighting #23, featuring a mixed-gender late 20s group that included a sexy light brunette in a blue tanktop and jean shorts with a bit of a cute redneck flair who was passing a Marlboro Black back and forth with a guy friend.  Her drags were intense and nicely timed with some cloudy and inconsiderate exhales plastering innocent bystanders in her way.  After smoking most of the cigarette behind the Bud Tent, they got up to walk away, and while I thought I got more pics of her than I did, you can sort of see the cigarette in her hand as she smokes while texting, her sexy body in full profile.  I thought I got a great dragging pic after that but it didn’t take.  The guy got the cigarette after that and finished it to its completion.

Behind The Depot I would get a slim cigarette sighting, possibly a VS 120 but I’m not quite sure.  Sighting #26 was an attractive mid-30s blond in a mixed gender cluster of four.  She was the only smoker, and she didn’t seem at all the type to be smoking 120s as she came across as brash and boisterous talking to her group, not dainty and feminine.  It was an interesting contrast and I had a nice bench to sit and observe the sighting play out for several moments as the blond tended to her VS 120 at a pretty regular pace while dominating the conversation with her friends’ group.

It was late afternoon by now and just like the previous year, things were starting to get a bit stale with the pace of sightings slowing at a time during peak attendance hours when you’d think sightings would be booming.  But seated on a hill on the east side was the girl who’d break the stalemate.  From a distance I spotted an attractive mid-20s blond with a cigarette in her hand talking to what I expected was a family cluster of four.  I ascended the hill to get a better look at Sighting #36 and she was definitely worth the closer look, a dark blond with long curly locks rolling onto a gray tanktop with dark jeans below.  She was very wholesome-looking but at the same time I wasn’t too shocked that she was a smoker.  And as I got there, the 50-something woman sitting next to her, who I presumed to be her mother, was also smoking.   I was a bit isolated on this hill which was a good news-bad news situation as I could sit up there and watch the smoking show, but I couldn’t sit close enough to take great pictures without getting busted.  I nonetheless took a pile of pics, including some dragging shots, but they’re not close enough to fully appreciate.  It was an awesome show though as the girl was jubilant and full of life, chatting with mom and the nonsmoking family members while intermittently dragging from the cigarette.  Her exhales always impressed, on a couple of occasions blasting out with extremely generous nasal force and producing a bountiful cloud.  After getting a number of snapshots, I set my phone down and unfortunately missed out on her standing up briefly with cigarette in hand and pulling her jeans up, which must have been giving her a wedgie, and then sitting back down before I could get another pic, but she did it all with a bubbly flair that was really needed at that point in the day after more than an hour of bland sightings and a rising tide of vaping.  She smoked the cigarette to its end but didn’t go anywhere for a while, leaving me to walk away without a butt ID.  A few minutes later though, I would return to see mother and daughter walking away, and now was my chance to get some closer photos walking by.  I got one really good profile shot that conveys how much of a girl-next-door she is and how unlikely it was to see a cigarette in her mouth not that much earlier.

The next sighting was certainly an interesting one.  There’s a young gal in her late 20s who works at my agency named Samantha.  I don’t know her beyond saying hello in the hallways when I walk past, but she’s a long-haired dark brunette with a pretty face.  I always got a bit of a smoker vibe from her, despite her wearing these matronly sweaters and dresses to work, but I’d never gotten anything to confirm that suspicion….until yesterday.  I had seen Samantha and her husband walking around at the fair earlier in the day, but it was in the midway a few hours later that I was really shook to my core seeing a young brunette’s lips wrapped around the filter of a mostly smoked cigarette…..and Sighting #39 was Samantha!  That was the last and only drag I’d see from her, but after several months working with her and never once seeing her go out for a smoke break, it was startling to say the least to see her smoking.  And it’s unlikely she’s just a social smoker given that she wasn’t drinking and was just hanging out on the midway with her husband, not the kind of setting a married woman would take occasion to have a smoke break if she was merely a social smoker.  Given that this gal gets off work the same time I do and I see her drive out of the parking lot at least twice a week, never once with a cigarette, it was confusing, but in a really nice way.  The only explanation I have is that she must be pretty deeply in the closet about her smoking and thought she was getting away with one in the back of the midway, but she wasn’t counting on the biggest smoking fetisher in Iowa to be walking around!  Now I wonder how long it takes her when driving home from work before she lights up a cigarette.

By this point in the day, Slipknot fans were standing in multiple lines up and down the concourse that were football field lengths long hours before the show started.  I’d never seen anything like it.  I walked along those long lines to survey the crowd but it was very inconvenient to navigate, so I sought some crowd relief by heading to the south side, keeping in mind to be sure to be in the vicinity of the grandstand by the time they started to let the crowd in.  For the time being, the trip to the south side paid off as I encountered a trio of two females and male.  All were smoking, but only one was of interest to me, a late 20s or early 30s ponytailed, long-haired light brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts who would become Sighting #46.  She could have stood to lose a few pounds but was within the zone of attractive weight for me anyway, and was cute to see with a cigarette wearing her tanktop-and-jeans combo.  There was a certain light in her eyes that made her interesting to watch even though her smoking style didn’t have any real bells and whistles.  I hung around for about a half dozen drags and snapped a few solid photos before taking off, noticing by the green and white markings on her cigarette that it was a Marlboro Light Menthol.

Progressing along the south side past the livestock buildings and hooking around to the west side, I walked through the Ford display area toward The Depot when I spotted this attractive and studious looking long-haired dark brunette, who looked late 20s, stopping in front of this storage container where she lit up and became Sighting #49.  She struck an impressive pose with her glasses, gray tanktop, and medium-blue jean shorts with a lot of nice leg showing below.  The best part though was the smoking as she was pretty aggressive in her dealings with that all-white cigarette, taking deep and intense drags that drug on for several seconds.  She was distracted on her phone which made it easy for me to watch the show, and made it fairly easy for me to get some photos although her isolated location kept me from getting as close as I’d have preferred.  It was a great farrow-to-finish show and given how deep her drags were it really didn’t last overly long as she was walking away in about five minutes, her discarded butt a Marlboro Light.

I kept looking nervously at the skies as sunny conditions started to yield to the kind of humidity-fueled clouds that often fire up thunderstorms just as they warned might happen.  None looked immediately problematic and I never heard any thunder so I was never in imminent fear of a short circuit, but it was always on my mind.  It certainly was humid though, which would really become tangible after dark.

I’d get a rare treat next just south of the concourse when I got a sighting of a very attractive early 20s mixed-race girl.  Sighting #55 was unusual in many respects in that the cute dark-skinned girl was in the company of a middle-aged white guy who I can only assume was her father.  Both were wearing Slipknot T-shirts, with the daughter decked out in a matching pair of tight black pants and some stylish-looking boots.  From what I could see, her freshly lit cigarette was an all-white.  Unfortunately she was a slow smoker and it worked to my disadvantage in the end.  After 6 p.m., photos become less reliable and one action shot of her dragging was quite blurry.  From there though, she sat on the curb and her father lit a cigarette standing above her.  I got a few nice holding shots, but he ended up standing in front of her before I got a good dragging pic.  I was able to look to my right and catch a few of those drags, but her smoking pace was such that I didn’t want to invest 20 minutes in the sighting.  I’d see her and the dad again after the concert though, both smoking once again.  The future of smoking depends upon girls like her taking up the habit, but right now they’re few and far between.

And then came the moment that would turn a really good day into a great day as I once again saw the sort of sighting that I figured was already obsolete a decade ago but which I somehow keep getting.  I know my critics detest my reports of underage girl sightings so now would be a good time to avert your eyes if you’re offended by that sort of thing because Sighting #58 is an underage girl sighting for the history books.  A few hours earlier, I alluded to a 12-13ish blond who I saw taking two hits from a Juul pod and launching into a severe smoker’s cough after both.  Well now I was looking at that same cutie standing in line with her mom and presumably brother and friend, but her Juul pod was replaced with a cigarette.  This was all transpiring standing in a long line for the Slipknot concert so there was hordes of humanity in every direction, yet here was this girl who couldn’t be a day older than 13 publicly smoking a cigarette.  Her presumed mother, a mid-30s blond, was smoking too, but the other girl who looked about the same age as the smoker, and the younger boy were not.  Best of all, this was playing out just a few feet in front of the curb with the line at a stand still since they weren’t allowing anybody inside yet, meaning I had a perfect vantage point to sit there and watch it all.

And what a show!  Aside from a slightly alternative piercing in her eyelid, this girl couldn’t have possibly evoked the innocence of small-town Iowa youth better, her golden blond hair flowing all the way down her back and her slender body contained in a black Slipknot T-shirt and an entirely presexualized pair of dark jean shorts.  If there was any doubt by looking at her face that this girl was of seventh grade vintage, it was dispelled when looking at her twig-like legs coming out of those utilitarian jean shorts.  The girl’s smoker’s cough I detected when vaping earlier in the day was not on display here as she smoked, but it was clear this wasn’t just a “treat” cigarette mom gave her while waiting for the rock concert.   This girl was a real deal smoker, which was especially adorable on her exhales, which drifted into the face of her female friend and brother almost as a necessity in this tightly packed crowd.  At one point mom and daughter were both briefly looking down at her cigarette as if conversing about the awkwardness of smoking in this crowd.

My vantage point was almost perfect here, but she turned her head to the left when she took a drag, meaning that was the only pose of her I didn’t get on camera.  Toward the end of her cigarette I took a big risk and walked to her other side, and while I missed the pic of her drag by a split second, what I got instead was even better….a geyser of smoke blasting out of her face with the glowing sun as a backdrop.  I believe it was the final drag from her cigarette as the mother was soon taking pics of the girl, her friend, and brother.  Her cork filter cigarette butt was smashed under the heel of her sneakers and lying in the pavement with a black ash smear just like so many dozens of others on the pavement of the concourse, yet this one was almost certainly smoked by the youngest smoker of this year’s Iowa State Fair.  It was bonkers to consider that I started fetishing at the Iowa State Fair in 2006 and now I was getting a sighting from a girl who either wasn’t born yet at the time or was still being spoon-fed in her high chair.  I was on the clouds as I walked away from this one, always taken aback to my youth when I see girls this age smoking and remembering how exciting it was when I found out the first girls in my age range were smoking.  But of course that was 30 years ago when smoking was still culturally acceptable in some circles.  For any girl of her pedigree to be a regular smoker today, and allowed to do so at the most public venue in the state in front of tens of thousands of people, just completely defies belief.

While nothing would live up to that one anytime soon, or perhaps ever in the 2019 fair season, the dam was about to burst with a faster pace of overall sightings. Sighting #61 had quite a bit of potential as I came across a trio of two guys and a girl on the west side of the concourse.  The girl was an attractive, long-haired mid-20s blond in a black tanktop and jean shorts holding a mostly smoked cigarette.  Her group was obviously waiting for somebody and she was calling them impatiently to identify the location they were sitting…and unfortunately not attending to her cigarette.  I took a few distant pics but they were all blurry as it was now after 7 p.m. when the sun angle makes photos from any distance at all very challenging.  Finally, after a good two minutes, she took a drag and dropped the cigarette to the ground.  Was hoping for more from this one but the girl was hot.

More to my liking was Sighting #66, a very attractive early-to-mid 20s long-haired light brunette in a green tanktop and jean shorts with a very sexy body sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette next to a nonsmoking boyfriend.  Her presentation was stellar and she looked too wholesome to be a smoker, especially in the company of this boyfriend, but there she was puffing away.  I had a feeling she spotted me so I didn’t attempt a photo, but hovered in the area and watched a few drags before she got up and tossed the butt in the trash and walked away with the boyfriend.  At the very end of the night, this girl got on my shuttle bus and rode home with me.  I was excited about the prospect of her getting off at my bus stop and her lighting another cigarette once she got off the bus, and I figured this was a very likely scenario, but she didn’t get off the bus at the stop that I and just about everyone else got off so I wouldn’t get the opportunity for that encore.

I was keeping close tabs on that line for Slipknot, and particularly the middle-school rocker girl who was still at the exact same spot in the line which wasn’t moving yet but I figured would start moving any moment now.  I decided to get in line for root beer at the nearby stand and was briefly despondent about this choice as the line was long, but it worked out that way for a reason as there was a duo of early-20s cuties smoking cigarettes in between the lemonade stand and the root beer stand right in my line of vision.  I got to watch the performances of Sightings #67 and #68 while standing in line for my drink.  The girl on the left was a ponytailed dark blond in a black tanktop and tight jeans who was the better and faster-paced smoker of the two, and had a sexy badass aura as she placed that cigarette in her mouth and dragged as if warning emerging threats to watch their step.  The brunette next to her was just as cute, but her style was less memorable and she didn’t exude the same IT factor.  Still, it was a great double sighting and I got to see it play out for several moments while in line for root beer.  The line actually went faster than I expected and I had root beer in hand while the girls hadn’t yet finished their cigarettes.  It would be a real trick for me to get a photo at this hour of the evening while operating single-handed with my other hand occupied by root beer.  It wasn’t perfect but I got a nonblurry photo of the two of them, with the dark blond in mid-drag on what had to be the final throes of her cigarette.

Next came a sighting that impressed through sheer force of numbers more than anything specific about the girls, but as I ventured to the east of the grandstand I came across a cluster of no fewer than five 20-something girls smoking at the same time.  I hadn’t seen this many girls smoking at once at a fairgrounds sighting since the 2007 Minnesota State Fair when seven girls from the same group were outside the beer gardens smoking at the same time.  Unfortunately, the group that made up Sightings #69, 70, 71, 72, and 73 didn’t have any top-tier beauties amongst them.  There was an Asian girl in a black dress who was the best looking of the five smokers, and a couple of others who were attractive enough that I’d date them, but the fact that there were five girls and I couldn’t get genuinely excited about any of them was fairly telling.   There was only one girl in the group who wasn’t smoking, and of course she was the best-looking of the bunch.  Earlier in the day I’d have probably attempted a photo of this as the novelty of five girls smoking at the same time is impressive, but the logistics of snapping a photo of five of them with swarms of people crissing and crossing every direction just wasn’t viable, particularly at an hour when most photos were coming out blurry anyway.

Plus, I had a higher priority here.  The line for Slipknot had been moving some since I went to get my root beer a few minutes earlier, and the crowd had to pass through metal detectors before being allowed in.  I had a hard time imagining what a second act from the mother of the year and her middle-school daughter would look like under these circumstances, but once again I’d have storybook timing to find out.  I approached the grandstand gate in front of the metal detectors and once past the entry partition was a mother and three young kids who decided that the two nicotine addicts amongst them had better get a final fix in front of thousands of onlookers before entering the grandstand.  There was a line of people moving from the side in front of me so pictures would be (mostly) elusive, but there stood mother and daughter with unlit cigarettes in hand, and only seconds after my arrival the daughter was firing up what was at least her second cigarette in the last half hour.  And so she stood with that adorable early teen girl pose, her arms folded around each other except with a freshly lit cigarette protruding from her fingers, untethering those arms only when taking a drag from her cigarette.  It was surreal in every possible way, and the density of the crowd appearing to work in her favor as apparently nobody was paying attention to the 13-year-old girl openly smoking in the year 2019….except me.  I managed one cloudy holding pic at her new location but unfortunately one of the guys manning the metal detector probably screwed me from another farrow-to-finish sighting when he shouted, “I got room over here” as if letting the crowd know now was the time to approach.  The teen cutiepie bent over to crush out her half-smoked cigarette on the pavement and followed her mom and the other two youngsters to the gate, where I knew no additional smoking would transpire until the concert was over….

Every time I get a sighting like this I think “surely this is the last one”….yet they keep coming, if not once every year than at least every two years.  At a human level, it’s a bit distressing that there are parents enabling a behavior that when initiated at this young age very likely means a lifetime of health problems and overall limited choices, but the visual is just so otherworldly that I can’t help but be gratified at a gut level.  I’ll never forget being the sixth grader who lit up like a Christmas tree upon learning the first girls in my class were smoking….so it’s fun to know that there are at least a few girls out there providing the same thrill for budding male fetishers their age today.

It was now going up to 8:00 and I had a fast-escalating problem.  This was the first major test for a pair of shoes I got at the beginning of summer, and the test was not going well.  My right foot was starting to cramp up big-time and every step was increasingly painful….and I still had nearly four hours of sightings to go!  I wasn’t sure I would make it the rest of the night, but if there was any chance I could, it would require a lot of sightings to play out in a way that I could sit down and watch them unfold.  I’d be lucky enough to get my chance on that on numerous occasions during the impressive evening show.

Walking past the row of bar and grills on the main stretch of the concourse, I would come across the girl who would become my third-favorite sighting of the day.  Sighting #76 was a sexy mid-20s blond with long straight hair, dressed to kill in a skimpy top showing off several inches of perfectly toned midriff, and a pair of tight dark jeans that were sculpted to perfection around her hourglass figure.  She was standing amongst a mixed-gender group of friends….and holding a cigarette.  The image exuded femininity and I couldn’t resist going for a couple of pics.   And I was close enough that it turned out despite the darkening conditions and no flash.  Unfortunately the risk I took getting a frontal pic from her next drag would keep me from being able to stick around for more.  I don’t believe I was caught, but I snapped the shutter at the exact moment she turned my direction and placed the cigarette in her mouth for a no-handlebars dangling drag.  It was too perfect of an opportunity not to, although one of these times I’m gonna run out of luck.  Whatever the case, there was a modicum of blur here but the snapshot was quite fantastic in capturing her dragging and in a frontal pose.  I hightailed it out of there after the risky pic wondering if I’d have been better off just sticking around and watching the show.  Thankfully it wouldn’t be an either-or scenario as more opportunities would present themselves to see more of her in the near future.

From there I went to the east side of the grounds in hopes the Bud Tent would have some pretty faces with cigarettes sticking out of them.  The place rarely disappoints in the evening and tonight would be no exception.  I got a quick sighting from one of the employees of the food stand next to it who I’d seen working at several points in the day, and at one point thought I had seen her vaping.  Well the sexy and petite early 20s blond in the white top and maroon shorts was definitely smoking now and had become Sighting #79 while talking to three other people hovering in the area who she appeared to know.  Unfortunately I only got to see the last two drags before she leaned down to stub the cigarette out.  She was so pretty I tried to get a photo after she was done but it’s too blurry to bother with.  Still, one of the prettiest smokers of the day, and given that she works at the booth next door, there’s a chance I’ll see her again when I return to the fair on Wednesday and Friday.

I’d have a little better luck walking back in front of the Bud Tent where my eye caught an attractive 20-something brunette in a camouflage-colored dress sitting on the curb smoking a cigarette.  The camouflage dress may make Sighting #80 sound a little trashy but she pulled it off and didn’t really live up to the redneck girl image the dress would indicate.  She sat by herself smoking her all-white with great timing and solid drags and exhales, and to my left there was another exhibit vying for my attention as a cute mid-20s light brunette was smoking a cigarette in front of her presumed boyfriend.  Sighting #81 was several inches shorter than her boyfriend and at one point she took a drag and exhaled upward, pretty much nailing him right in the face.  This sighting was suddenly taking the lead in the competition between the girl to my left and the girl to my right, but after a couple of drags the girl on my left handed the cigarette to the husky boyfriend, at which point the brunette in the camouflage dress dominated my attention yet again.  She took several final drags and finished the cigarette, crushing the all-white butt on the curb and heading back into the Bud Tent.  Her discarded butt was a Camel Crush, still a surprisingly popular brand among the younger smokers in Iowa.  Toward the end of the night, I’d see her smoking again outside the Bud Tent.

A nonsmoking girl captured my heart before I left the Bud Tent as well, this wholesome early-to-mid-20s long-haired brunette in a sexy black leather miniskirt talking to three guys.  Despite the humid conditions yesterday, there were a few girls wearing black leather, possibly in connection with the Slipknot concert, but this girl’s sexy miniskirt was the marquee leather ensemble of the night.  The runner-up was a blond in sexy black leather shorts who I saw toward the end of the night.

It was back to the grandstand area next, and particularly the area just to the east of the grandstand where there are bathrooms and an area where plenty of spillover crowd members listen in to the concert from the grandstand.  And there’s always been a fair amount of smoking there too.  Last night would be no exception as I walked past this late 20s couple sitting up against the wall.  The boyfriend was already smoking a cigarette and, as luck would have it, the light brunette girlfriend in the sexy red top and tight jeans was plucking out an all-white and dangling it from her lips.  She was chatting it up with the boyfriend and lit it, and I sat down a few feet beside her for a pretty good vantage point.  Sighting #84 seemed pretty full of life, possibly enhanced by some alcoholic beverages but not necessarily, and she attacked that cigarette with some pretty fierce oral aggression, with long drags and cloudy exhales being major themes of her repertoire.  I was sitting close enough that I figured I just might be able to pull off a photo, despite it being past sunset at this point.  Not only did I get a good shot, I got one of my best shots of the day, with the brunette taking a no-handlebars dangling drag, the cherry glowing bright at the tip of her dangling cigarette puckered in her mouth as she ingested the cancerous fumes.  Unfortunately, the momentum would come to a crashing halt as she crushed the cigarette out almost immediately afterward with nearly half of it left, which was very disappointing given how smoothly the sighting had been going up to that point.  The couple sat there longer than I was willing to wait, but when I returned about a half hour later I checked out her discarded butt, which was an all-white L & M.

While that light brunette was the main event at that location, another attractive 20-something brunette was smoking to my left and would be Sighting #85, and shortly after she was done another young couple fronted by a wholesome mid-to-late 20s brunette in a ball cap and jean shorts came out of their respective bathrooms and fired up cigarettes as well to become Sighting #87.  Yet it was another returning player who stole the show in this general area a few yards away and forced me to vacate what had been a plum position….

The #76 blond with the perfect body and the bare midriff who I’d gotten an appetizer from about a half hour earlier was back….and smoking another cigarette.  She was with the same cluster of guys and girls, and was once again the only one smoking, her glowing cigarette protruding from her right hand so naturally that it seemed like an extension of her body.  I had to leave early during her last sighting in fear of the fallout of a risky photo, but there’s no better story in life than a second chance, and I was getting mine now.  She seemed to tend to the first cigarette a little more aggressively, but particularly with my foot situation, I was perfectly willing to sit there and watch the show as long as it took, and it was beautiful seeing a female in her prime practically dripping with sexual kinetic energy smoking a cigarette like this.  I got to see several drags before she finished it off, getting up to identify the butt as she discarded it but discovering as I got closer that I didn’t need to as a pack of Camel Crushes was poking out of the rear left pocket of her low-waisted jeans, where I knew she’d be tapping into it further as the night went on….and I’d be right!

It was after 8:30 now and the Slipknot concert was thundering from inside the grandstand.  I walked around the seating behind the grandstand expecting some hotties would be having a smoke while eaves dropping on the concert from outside.  And sure enough, I found one in Sighting #89!  Seated on a bench was this couple that was dark complected enough that I figured they might be Hispanic, but it’s possible they were just darker-toned whites.  Whatever the case, they were mid-to-late 20s and only the girl was smoking.  She was a light brunette in a black tanktop with green shorts on the bottom and a lot of bare flesh on display…which is exactly how I like it!  Unfortunately, she had this giant stuffed midway prize on her lap that kept her feminine features a little bit hidden.  She made up for it with outstanding smoking though, including long and indulgent drags and cloudy, extremely messy exhales.  Her first exhale involved something I hadn’t seen before.  She took a drag from her cigarette and then approached her cup full of beer to her mouth, exhaling her cigarette smoke as the cup approached her mouth.  It sure seemed as though the cup itself absorbed most of that exhale, which I guess is her way of consuming her smoke twice!  After that though, it wasn’t the cup that would take the brunt of her obnoxious exhales…it was that poor nonsmoking boyfriend who took it in the face the next three times as her giant exhales sailed right into his grill.  The whole presentation was very sexy and, once again, even though I had little to no confidence in photos turning out, my perch at the bench right in front of them was just so convenient that I snapped a couple of shots.  They were blurry and by no means “great”, but I captured the mass of smoke pouring of her face after her final drag, this being the only exhale where the smoke didn’t go into either her beer cup of her boyfriend’s face.  She crudely flung her spent cigarette butt to the pavement below her feet where the runoff from the nearby drinking fountain kept the pavement wet, her sizzling Camel Menthol butt producing creamy smoke as it commingled with the moisture below it.

Despite my agonizingly painful right foot situation, the evening was going very well but I’d have a rare moment of disappointment next when I caught the beginning of Sighting #93, a long-haired mid-20s blond in a fringy white blouse and white shorts walking westward down the concourse with two guys.  She had a cigarette in hand and I was able to follow, watching her take a drag from it…..and then hand it to the guy in the group I presumed was her boyfriend.  That was a bummer but I could live with a shared cigarette sighting if she got it back regularly, so I followed.  Unfortunately, she would never get it back.  A sighting that started with a ton of potential fizzled and took me along for an extended wild goose chase to the west side of the concourse.

But the gray cloud would have a silver lining…..because having followed her on that wild goose chase, I was in the right place at the right time to see my third and final sighting of the night from the hot blond with the bare midriff.  She was standing in the middle of the concourse with a guy from her group who I now presumed was her boyfriend.  She had been the only one smoking in the past two sightings but now he was too.  The lighting in the middle of the concourse was helpful in laying bare how sexy she was…..her weathered features indicating that she’s smoked pretty heavily for a while….her incredible body….and that cigarette in her right hand still being wielded with pride.  The last time a female wielded a flaming torch with this much spunk was the Statue of Liberty!  She appeared to be squabbling a little with the boyfriend as they stood there, but it could just be that they’d both had quite a bit to drink.  It ended quickly though and the duo began migrating eastward on the concourse.  I followed from the rear and got the opportunity to take the headwind of several of her exhales.  Her smoking pace continued to be a little slower than I’d prefer but that body was something impossible to not admire smoking or not.  I’d been having better luck with photos after dark than during the day so I took another close shot from the rear which really highlights how great her body looks….and how awesome that cigarette looks in her hand just to the right of her body.  She’d stop in the middle of the concourse again and they’d finish their cigarettes.  I’d hoped I might see her again, but that would be the last time.  Three cigarettes in less than an hour with such a supercharged presentation and some quality evening photos to boot though….I couldn’t really ask for much more from her last night!

The momentum continued into the midway…even though I hadn’t planned to make another trip down the midway last night.  I was hovering near the edge of the grandstand where the spillover crowd was listening to the Slipknot concert….and saw a duo of early 20s sexpots in tight jeans walking past en route to the nearby midway, and the taller of the two girls lit up a cigarette.  Sighting #98 was tall and full-bodied in a way that wasn’t at all fat but had some meat on her bones in a sexy way, her bubble but contained in a tight-fitting pair of medium blue jeans and her very long light brown hair hanging all the way down her back and onto her butt in curls.  It was a savage presentation made all the more sweet by the fact that she was walking down the midway dragging from her cigarette with zero inhibition, exhaling recklessly with negligible regard for any fairgoer in her path.  I took one rear photo but unfortunately didn’t get the cigarette in the pic. I guess one could say her face was wholesome but mostly it was that wild presentation that won me over.  And her blond friend wasn’t nearly as attractive upclose even though she had a more conventionally attractive body.  Her face was decent but she looked like she was high out of her mind.  Maybe she wasn’t but she sure looked like it.  The duo rapidly navigated the midway with my tall, curly-haired brunette incessantly smoking until they got to the back of the midway.  It was a bit of a surprise when at this point the blond decided to light up a cigarette of her own and become Sighting #99.  She didn’t do as much for me as the friend, but for a minute or so it was outstanding to see two young ladies walking down the midway so shamelessly with cigarettes in hand, unlike so many of their contemporaries who, if they smoke at all, seem to do so in hiding and in shame in the nooks and crannies of the grounds.  I’d see these two both smoking again about an hour later, this time on the concourse.

It was an absolutely miserable night with really high humidity and my clothes felt permanently damp, my sunburned forehead radiating heat and, particularly with the brisk walking pace I continued to keep, I was covered in sweat, my hair slicked back and probably making me look drunk or high.  I was certainly getting a lot of looks from random passersby as if thinking “what’s this guy on?” and I imagine walking around in pain made my discomfort that much more obvious.  Typically I have a disarmingly wholesome Captain America look, appearing many years younger than my nearly 42 years, that helps me go about these adventures arousing less suspicion than perhaps most guys my age would.  But judging from random people’s reaction to me last night, I wasn’t fooling anybody!

Yet what keeps me going even in the most miserable conditions is the kind of sightings night I was having last night, ticking off one memorable extra-base hit after another.  I’d hit the century mark in style shortly after 9:30 when I spotted a gorgeous blond in white shorts with cigarette in hand walking east from the midway with her boyfriend and another couple.  Sighting #100 was a tall drink of water and had a model’s beauty with a slight Taylor Swift resemblance.  She looked about 23, her shoulder-length blond hair flowing onto a black tanktop with a flower pattern and a pair of white shorts that nicely framed her ass and long legs.  But she still managed to look more girl next door than sexy temptress.  Her cigarette appeared freshly lit and she dragged from it at a nice pace, but I was disappointed when she surrendered the cigarette to the boyfriend.  Here we go again, I thought….another hot smoker who forfeits her cigarette to a guy after a sighting with a very promising start.  It didn’t play out that way though as she got it back after one drag….and kept it.  Seeing how adorable she looked strutting around with that cigarette in her right hand, I decided I needed to try for one more picture for the evening.  There’s typically nothing worse for photo-taking than carnival backlighting, and in this case the brightly lit ferris wheel was behind her from a distance…..yet somehow the two photos I took kind of worked.  There’s some definite blur, but you can certainly admire her feminine presentation, particularly in the second photo when she’s in mid-drag.  It was my last photo of the night, but I’m very impressed by how not terrible it was.  As for the sighting, it was poised to simply be a memorable extra-base hit worthy of the body of work I’d already put together, but it ended with a huge flourish as the two couples approached the Sky Glider to take an evening ride on the chair lifts overlooking the grounds that helped catapult the sighting into the day’s top-five for me……

But with a short line to get aboard the Sky Glider, my blond had quite a bit of cigarette left to smoke, and was getting no help from the boyfriend.  She rapidly escalated the pace of her smoking, dragging incessantly and belching out huge plumes of smoke.  She was very close to the pace of supersmoking as she turned that cigarette a fire engine shade of red, her smoke undoubtedly spilling into the plastic partition for the attendant inside the Sky Glider booth to choke on.  I gotta figure the cigarette was red hot on her lips as she took one drag after another, spewing smoke all over the place…..and I was lucky enough to stand there and watch it…and smell it.  The cigarette probably still had two or three more drags left in it, but the Sky Glider car was coming and blondie was out of time, pumping one final drag into her black lungs and then tossing the cigarette to the pavement where the hot ash continued to smolder after all of those successive drags.  She followed her boyfriend onto the ride, and he was about to ride this Sky Glider with one very stinky blond girlfriend!  This wouldn’t be my final great sighting of the night, but it would be the last magical sighting.

It was a short walk east from there to the Bud Tent, which delivered once again.  There’s basically potential for nicotine hotties behind, in front of, and on the west side of the Bud Tent, and last night it was the curb on the southwest side that delivered.  A trio of 20-something babes sat there with a guy on the right side.  Two of the girls in the group were extremely glamorous hotties enjoying a night out and the third girl, a light brunette who was talking to the guy in the group, was still attractive but not in the same league as the two biggest babes.  The gorgeous blond on the left and the third girl were both smoking cigarettes and became Sightings #103 and #104.  And with a fresh bottle of Pepsi in my hand, I was able to give my aching feet a rest and just stand there pretending to be listening to the music going on in the Bud Tent behind them.  The third girl’s cigarette was almost gone which made it easier to focus on this blond in the bare midriff multi-color top and black miniskirt chug away at her freshly lit cigarette.  I’d wrinkled my nose up to that point in the day to see girls share their cigarettes since it was usually with boyfriends or husbands, but in this case I was perfectly fine to see the blond hand the cigarette to the sexy brunette in the middle wearing this striped white and black two-piece outfit, who became Sighting #105.   The brunette was a great smoker, taking regularly paced drags and exhaling tight plumes that often had nowhere to go but into the face of the blond who handed her the cigarette.  She got about five or six drags from the cigarette, and even though she was amazing, that blond who had the cigarette originally just impressed me a little bit more.  Looking at the two of them, it was abundantly clear that both girls were three sheets to the wind and while that’s normally not my favorite look, it was cute here, particularly since their smoking seemed to be as blissfully obnoxious as the rest of their state of mind as the blond was now dragging intensely and exhaling into the friend’s face as she spoke.  Drunk or sober, it was a heavenly image to see these beautiful faces dragging from cigarettes.  The blond eventually sat the smoldering cigarette on the pavement without crushing it out and got a little help standing up.  It was pretty clear from the telltale blond filter that the cigarette left to smolder was a Camel Turkish Royal but I sat down to confirm as soon as they drifted a few yards away.

Only a few yards to the east would come the next girl to impress, although Sighting #106 had a decidedly more girl-next-door image than the glam girls from the last sighting.  Appearing as though she was with family, including a middle-aged woman who appeared to be her mother, a pretty dark brunette in a black tanktop and pale pink shorts sat on a bench with cigarette in hand.  She bore a vague resemblance to a smoker girl whose videos I watch on You Tube named Caitlin Paige, although a little less chubby but not quite as pretty as Caitlin.  At first I figured this brunette was slightly under 21 as she didn’t have a drink in her hand, but later on she picked her drink up from the ground indicating she was at least 21.  Whatever the case, she was a fun smoker to watch as she bantered with her family in a playful/sarcastic way, nobody else of whom was smoking at the time.  I got to see about four drags before she flung the spent cigarette butt to the trash can a few feet in front of her.  I’d see her again about an hour later and while she wasn’t smoking the second time, seeing the contrast between the black tanktop and pale pink shorts that I hadn’t fully appreciated when seeing her sitting down was incredibly sexy.

The pace and quality of sightings seemed to slow down again for the last hour and a half of the night, and my personal discomfort was such that it was hard to stay fully engaged.  In front of Jalapeno Pete’s in the main beer gardens, a cluster of three 20-something chicks and a guy were sitting on the curb out front, with an attractive brunette in a black tanktop and jean shorts smoking a cigarette.  Sighting #110 struck a nice presentation with her long dark hair and sweet smile, but I sensed she was a social smoker having that occasional cigarette while out drinking.  The guy in the group seemed to be her boyfriend and she offered him a drag from her cigarette, which he took.  Her dragging pace was slower than I’d prefer and unfortunately the sighting would end prematurely as a friend came out from inside the bar and beckoned her and the others inside.  This meant the cigarette was surrendered to the curb only half smoked.  It was a Camel Light.

As 11:00 approached, I knew the Slipknot concert would soon end and I wanted to be there standing outside the gate when it did, knowing I just might get to see my favorite mother and early teen daughter exiting the concert.  I figured it was a long shot with the glut of people that would be pouring out of the grandstand from multiple gates, but I stood outside the gate they went in thinking that would be my best chance.  I put together a couple of sightings of fairgoers I hadn’t seen yet that day lighting up as they walked out but no sign of 13-year-olds with cigarettes this time.  Even so, it was helpful to just stand there for 15 minutes watching the crowd and not be walking as my foot situation had definitely not improved since before the concert.

Nonetheless, I soldiered on for the last hour, exploring the concourse east to west and back again since that would be where most of the smokers were hanging out.  In some cases, heavy crowds at their apex make fetishing harder since you can’t really see beyond your arm’s length with so many people and that was the case after the concert dismissal.  I still stitched together a number of modestly satisfying sightings though and would get delayed satisfaction from the girl who would become Sighting #126, a sexy mid-20s blond I’d noticed on the grounds before.  She stood out because of the torn-up acid-washed jeans draping her lower body, and now as she sat out on the curb in front of Jalapeno Pete’s, she stood out again because she was smoking a cigarette.

It was 11:47 and I needed to get from the northeast side of the fairgrounds near the Bud Tent to the southwest side where my shuttle bus loaded, so the night was very close to its end, but perfect timing allowed me to make my final walk down the concourse in the company of my last extra-base hit sighting of the night.  Walking in front of me was a light brunette who appeared to be a fair worker in some capacity who was celebrating the end of her shift in style, walking the exact same direction I was going with an unlit cigarette in her mouth.  Sighting #130 looked about 23 and was the embodiment of the girl next door, her long light brown her in a ponytail, wearing a T-shirt and carrying a book bag over her shoulders, with a pair of pale blue jean shorts on the bottom and long legs coming out.  This eyebrow-raisingly wholesome profile was soon corrupted when she flicked that cigarette to life, progressing eastward down the concourse with the cigarette in hand.  All I had to do was walk to my shuttle bus at the usual pace and get a free-of-charge farrow-to-finish sighting of her smoking this thing.  And so I did, watching that cigarette protruding from the fingers of her right hand as she hoofed it eastward, testing the limits of my belabored feet, but I always seem to find the adrenaline needed to press on when in pursuit of a hot sighting.  Her smoking pace was just as swift as her walking pace, pulling that cigarette to her mouth every 15 seconds or so and just letting the smoke pour out of her mouth and nose, occasionally right in my path as I walked behind her.  She was sometimes “changing lanes” as she walked and drifting northward as I kept pace, which made me think she may have been aware she had an admirer a few paces behind her, but then she was always drifted right back to my lane and was walking right in front of me again, rapidly smoking her cigarette.  She reinforced my impression that she was a fairgrounds worker as she briefly stopped and said hello to an acquaintance who was also wearing ISF garb.  The Depot is at the far west end of the concourse and after a full smoking show from one end of the concourse to the other, she finally arrived at her destination, perhaps for an evening libation, and stomped out the finished cigarette on the pavement before going outside.  She completely mutilated that cigarette butt with her shoe, but I was still able to identify is as a Camel Light.  I love it when a great day of sightings ends with a flourish like this, and in this case she took the literal hurt right out of the final two-thirds of the long walk to my shuttle bus.

I boarded the shuttle bus at 11:57.  Technically the last one is supposed to be out of there at midnight but on a night with this kind of crowd still at the fair I bet they kept hauling people out of there at least another half hour.  I’ve never wanted to test that theory though.  As great of a day of sightings as it was, I was still very ready to be out of there as the air conditioning on that bus felt like heaven with my face covered with sweat and my T-shirt sticking to me like Saran Wrap.  Beyond that, what a sensational day of sightings to be riding home from, far exceeding expectations when I got there that morning and setting the bar high for the remainder of the fair season.  And frankly, I would bet that Slipknot was personally responsible for about a third of my sightings yesterday. While there are still some serious worries moving forward with the overwhelming majority of those under 21 vaping and juuling rather than smoking, days like today are helpful psychologically in that the terms of surrender will at least be manageable and the collapse probably won’t happen all at once.  Good days of sightings, and even some great days, will continue to be possible.  And with 130 sightings today, at least a dozen of them qualifying as extra-base hits and one sighting I’d consider an all-time classic, it was pretty close to being an indisputably great day.

It’s an extremely aggressive schedule for me in the days ahead.  I’ll be attending the Iowa State Fair on Wednesday night for my after-work half-day visit, but I’m anticipating very low attendance and will only be visiting to see a trio of 90s-era women country singers performing on the free stage.  I suppose I’ll walk around before and after the concert just in case but it would be pretty shocking if I got many great sightings…or any at all.  I’ll make up for it on Friday when I’ll go back for what I will count as my official second day of Iowa State Fair sightings, heading there mid-afternoon and staying till midnight.  Friday’s grandstand act is bro country superstar Luke Bryan, and the crowd he’ll bring in makes for an opportunity I can’t resist even though it’s gonna create a massive logistical nightmare for me.  The nightmare will come from the fact that the first thing on Saturday morning I’ll be driving down to Sedalia, Missouri, for a day at the Missouri State Fair with country act Brothers Osborne performing in the grandstand and likely drawing a demographically favorable crowd as well.  This is the most aggressive fetishing schedule I’ve ever taken on and several things will have to come together perfectly for it to work out, including favorable weather and my feet holding up, which is no sure thing after the aches and pains of last Saturday night.  But with the sunset of smoking on the horizon, I can’t pass up opportunities to snatch some sightings before the hourglass runs out of sand.  If either day at Iowa or Missouri is anywhere close to as good as yesterday, it’ll have been worth it.







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