Axios Des Moines

Picture of the Des Moines skyline with DSM written across it.
August 16, 2022

Happy Tuesday.

📣 Husband calling contest: Come see Jason compete in this Iowa State Fair tradition at 10am Friday. (And apologies in advance to his husband, Joe.)

  • If you see us, say hi! We'll have Axios swag to give.

Today's Smart Brevity™ count is 900 words, a 3-minute read.

1 big thing: Scooter size matters

Man on scooter
Gary Carr on his scooter (left). Carr takes a break on a bench at the fair. Photos courtesy of the Carr family

The Iowa State Fair is enforcing a new rule this year that limits the size of scooters fairgoers are allowed to bring in, citing safety concerns.

Why it matters: Some older fairgoers and people with disabilities say the new rule has become an unexpected burden that prevents them from using the mobility devices they already own.

State of play: Gary Carr, 78, has COPD and has regularly attended the fair over the last 50 years.

  • Carr uses a three-wheeled scooter and an oxygen tank to help him get around the fairgrounds.

Yes, but: On opening day last week, Carr and his family learned his scooter is now eight inches too long.

  • He was told to leave it behind or rent one for the day for $65, his wife Sharon tells Axios. He chose to walk and carry his oxygen tank which resulted in slow movements and lots of breaks.
  • "It's embarrassing for him, period," she said.

Mike Bowlin of Indianola said his wife has used the same scooter at the fair for the last decade to ease her bone on bone ankle pain, but this year, they were also told it’s too long.

  • Their family has been at the fair every day this year, but Mike’s wife only got to go once when she borrowed a friend’s scooter. 
  • “This is our vacation,” Bowlin said.

The other side: The new rule was created because of concerns regarding larger scooters and the ability of other fairgoers to navigate around them, said Mindy Williamson, spokesperson for the fair.

  • Officials were also concerned about scooters bumping into other people and vendors.

Details: The new dimension, 36 inches by 52 inches, is based on rules at other similar-sized events, Williamson said.

  • Staff also consulted with the Iowa Attorney General's Office to see if the rule was legal and compliant with ADA policies, Williamson said.

The bottom line: Fair officials want people of all abilities to enjoy their time, but expect the rule to stay, Williamson said.

Full story

2. 🍪 Crumbl Cookies to open second location

Crumbl Cookies
Photo courtesy of Crumbl Cookies

Crumbl Cookies is opening a second metro location near Jordan Creek Town Center in West Des Moines.

  • It's planned for the strip mall at 6305 Mills Civic Pkwy, suite 3119, which houses T.J. Maxx and Kirkland's Home.

Why it matters: The Des Moines area went wild for the opening of the Ankeny location earlier this year, where two-hour long lines were the norm.

  • Another store closer to the western suburbs will likely also be a big draw.

State of play: The cookie chain is known for their creative rotating cookie menu, with flavors like cornbread, key lime pie and caramel popcorn.

What's next: While no grand opening date has been announced yet, expect it to open in the coming months, a spokesperson told Axios.

3. The Ear: I am Cornholio

Illustration of a corn dog laid over an exclamation point
Today's Ear inspiration: Beavis & Butthead. Illustration: Annelise Capossela/Axios

🕳 The biggest cornhole game: An attempt to break a world record of participants in a bags tournament is Saturday morning. Players and volunteers are needed. (Iowa State Fair)

🚨 A Des Moines father allegedly drank 12 Twisted Teas before getting behind the wheel with his 4-year-old daughter beside him. (WHO-13)

⛽️ Kwik Star is expanding its presence in the metro with a gas station planned for Pleasant Hill. (Business Record)

❤️ Go the unconventional dating route and you may find your match at the Skyglider tomorrow at the fair. (Star 102.5)

4. 🥂 Bachelor(ette) party bonanza

Illustration of coins flowing out of a champagne bottle.
Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

There's an escalating arms race in bachelor and bachelorette parties, with brides and grooms throwing ever-more-elaborate blowouts, Axios' Jennifer A. Kingson writes.

Why it matters: Inflation, higher airfares and the pressure to stage Instagram-worthy celebrations are driving up the cost of pre-nuptial revelry, putting social and financial pressure on young adults who already face all kinds of sticker shock.

  • 52% of respondents to a poll said they took on credit card debt to attend a bachelor or bachelorette party — and 15% felt uncomfortable about it.
  • LendingTree, which surveyed 2,100 consumers, found similar results: 56% of bridal party members felt pressure to spend more than they could afford, and 50% incurred debt as a result.

What's happening: The survey — conducted in June among 504 people who had gone to at least one bach party in the previous 18 months — pegged the median price of attending at $1,500, up from $1,400 in 2021.

  • Two-thirds of the guests flew somewhere to participate, with international travelers spending even more: $2,000 on average.
  • 55% were resentful, saying that hosts should ask guests in advance how much they're comfortable spending.

Our thought bubble: Who wants to go to Hawaii when you can visit the tropical Raccoon River beach instead?

New jobs to check out

🌳 Branch out with our Job Board.

  1. Director, marketing communications at Kum and Go.
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  3. Practice communications at Kyndryl.

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5. 🏆 Is it fair? The BLT roll

BLT Roll
A BLT roll from JR's SouthPork Ranch ($15). Photo: Linh Ta/Axios

Welcome to our special series this week, where we give you our honest fair food thoughts and see if it's "fair" for your money.

State of play: One of the most talked about new foods is the $15 BLT roll at JR's SouthPork Ranch — home of the famous $30 lobster roll.

  • The new dish is advertised as a "cool, crisp refreshing option" with a sweet corn aioli mayonnaise.

Our thought bubble: It tasted good, but left more to be desired at its pricepoint.

  • Crunchy bacon lovers can rejoice. There's tons of savory bits and the aioli made sure the sandwich wasn't dry. But the dainty amounts of tomatoes and lettuce were more reminiscent of salad bar toppings.

🧈 Butter ranking: one stick = meh; five = don’t miss it

  • Aesthetics: 🧈🧈🧈🧈
  • Creativity: 🧈🧈🧈
  • Overall taste: 🧈🧈🧈

See our other fair food reviews

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