They all shared one feature, though: they were parties with a theme to them, and they made the folks who came feel like they belonged.
Now, almost all of the little Iowa faires have disappeared; there are only two, now, that aren't part of a big corporate machine. I'll miss one this coming weekend, in the Amana Colonies, and if it weren't for the fact that the class I'm going to instead is one I've literally waited for a year to become available, I'd be there. The other one is farther away, and I'm seriously planning to go to it anyway, even though it'll probably mean flying from a customer site to Omaha or Des Moines and driving a couple of hours each way in a rented car.
The other Iowa faires are run by a guy who's plainly in it for the money, and it shows. It just doesn't feel the same. It feels like he wants to be what the Minnesota Renaissance Festival has become: a themed shopping mall with entertainment that never changes, and is an afterthought at best - and grudgingly included.
There's one faire that hasn't lost the magic, and I've raved about it before: the Siouxland Renaissance Festival is a delight to go to every year, and the people are committed to keeping the fun in it.
Like vakkotaur, I don't miss going to MNRF; I probably will skip it entirely this year. I'm also not planning on going out of my way to go to any of the corporate Iowa faires. I went to Siouxland, and will keep going, but I'm missing the other ones, and beginning to have a bit of withdrawal.