The World Pork Expo (WPX) is a one-of-a-kind event attracting people from around the world – 20,000 farmers and agriculture professionals from 48 countries attended this year, according to Texas Pork Producers Association. As a first-timer to the expo, I was amazed by how much there was to see. On my first day I walked around for a couple hours and still felt like I didn’t see everything! WPX has everything from a full trade show with booths and demonstrations to youth and open swine shows. The event takes place at the Iowa State Fairgrounds in Des Moines, an impressive venue itself. I’m sure I was one of the many people walking around with a gaping mouth. As the Ranch House Designs videographer, this event was truly awesome to be at with all the unique sights and smells. Here’s my list of five things I never heard said at the WPX (because it was so awesome):
1. “Where’s the food? I’m hungry!”
You seriously can’t go hungry at WPX. From ribs to pulled pork to sausage, pork is EVERYWHERE. And with many companies sponsoring meals, you can even feed the family for free! I enjoyed a lunch of delicious grilled pork ribs that volunteers served at the Big Grill one day and a sausage meal Pork Checkoff provided another day. And then there were the traditional fair foods, including burgers, popcorn, candy and even bacon ice cream, which sadly I didn’t get a chance to taste.
2. “Well, that person was rude.”
As you can expect in the Midwest, manners and hospitality are not in short supply. Everyone is eager to chat and give you a hand if you need it. At WPX, the staff and volunteers running the event were so helpful. I never felt bad for asking someone for directions and the volunteers were happy to give everyone tractor rides to and from the parking lots. In the show barn, one young man was so excited to show me his pig when he saw me with my camera that he invited me right over to his pens.
3. “What a rip-off.”
The giveaways alone make WPX worth a visit. Really, everyone I saw was walking around with buckets of free stuff from vendors. Sure, it’s free advertising for the companies, but who doesn’t love free stuff? And for an adult entry fee of only $10 (online registration) or $20 (at the gate), this event is definitely worth the trip.
4. “I’m bored.”
As I mentioned before, there is so much to see at the expo. With music and entertainment, food, livestock shows, and a huge trade show, there is no end to the activities. I spent a lot of time in the swine barn during the two days of junior shows and what an awesome arena to exhibit in for youth. The competition was strong and more than 1,000 youth came to compete this year. And the youngest showmen sure are great for pictures!
5. “Leave your kids at home.”
The expo is truly a family-friendly event. Children 5 years and younger can attend for free and there are a ton of fun things for them to do. There were water balloon tosses and root beer float booths. Everyone from young kids to grown men and women looked like they were having a blast.
Honestly, my only complaint was the lack of places to charge my phone! With all the Instagram posts, emails and photos, I drained my battery halfway through my first day and was left feeling helpless with less than 10 percent battery life! Was it just me? It’s possible I didn’t get the memo on the spot to charge my phone. Luckily, I managed and made it back to my hotel just before my phone died. Success!
To wrap up, if you haven’t been to the World Pork Expo before, I wholeheartedly recommend you plan a visit for 2018. You won’t regret it.