Presidential candidates descend on Iowa State Fair

By Steve Spriester - Anchor

DES MOINES, Iowa - I was born in Seattle, lived in Denver and Kalamazoo, but Iowa is where I grew up. 

So, you might think I would have an idea about what awaits as I head to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines  -- but I have very little idea. My big confession is I've never been there.

I know both Democratic and Republican politicians have descended on the Fairgrounds since Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1954. 

They stand on the "Soapbox" stage and have 20 minutes to make their point and persuade those in the audience, then they usually walk the fairgrounds and do fair stuff. 

At least 20 candidates this year are expected to take the Soapbox, including former Vice President Joe Biden, who is expected to speak on opening day. 

We will be there when former San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro and former U.S. Rep. Beto O'Rourke speak Friday.

I also know one other big thing about the Iowa State Fair, and it's kind of the fair's unofficial mascot. 

They don't have "Big Tex," but they do have a 5 1/2-foot-tall cow sculpted out of Iowa butter. 

The Butter Cow was started in 1911. It's a dairy cow, and it's supposed to be "udderly" beautiful. Yes, this buttery creation has my attention, and I plan on seeing it, if we're not "spread" too thin. Puns aside, this creamy creature should be something to see.

Beyond that, this trip is an adventure of the political kind. I'm expecting a spectacle of speeches, handshakes and probably a lot of great food! 

I don't know if Iowa has fried Twinkies, corn dogs or the Cotton Bowl like they do in Dallas, but I do know it's the focus of presidential aspirations every four years. 

So we start our live coverage Wednesday from Des Moines on KSAT 12 News @ 9 and on the KSAT 12 News Nightbeat at 10 p.m.

WATCH: KSAT's Steve Spriester arrives to Iowa State Fair before opening day

WATCH: Crowds and 2020 presidential candidates head to Iowa State Fair

When the fair opens Thursday, the eyes of a nation will track what happens on the Soapbox, and we'll be there as Iowans move closer to deciding who they will caucus for in the first presidential vote less than six months away.

WATCH: Presidential candidates head to Iowa State Fair to address crowds on Political Soapbox stage

The Iowa State Fair is in full swing and several presidential candidates have arrived in Des Moines to address crowds Thursday on the Political Soapbox stage.

WATCH: Sights, sounds from the Iowa State Fair

While the eyes of the political world will be on the Iowa State Fair, the event isn't all about the presidential election. Check out some of the sights and sounds from the Iowa State Fair.

VIDEO: Presidential candidate Julian Castro heads to Iowa State Fair to address voters

WATCH: Julián Castro speaks at Iowa State Fair 

Former San Antonio Mayor and Democratic presidential candidate Julian Castro takes the stage at the candidate Soapbox on Friday morning at the Iowa State Fair.

WATCH: Julían Castro defends Joaquin’s Trump donor tweet in Iowa

In a sit-down interview with KSAT-12 news anchor Steve Spriester on the campaign trail in Iowa Friday, Democratic presidential candidate Julían Castro defended his twin brother Joaquin Castro, who has faced criticism from conservatives for a tweet he posted naming 44 major local donors of President Donald Trump.

WATCH: Anchor Steve Spriester talks politics and butter cows from the Iowa State Fair  

WATCH: Julian Castro discusses his brother, El Paso shooting, the legacy he hopes for his campaign

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