In 1977, a US Representative hailing from Iowa, Tom Harkin, held a small steak fry as a fundraiser for his re-election campaign that attracted about 20 supporters. Since that time, Harkin's Annual Steak Fry has grown to become a must-attend event for Democratic candidates, party officials, activists and caucus goers; this year approximately 12,000 are expected to attend.
The Iowa Independent's John Deeth has some great information on the history of the Steak Fry at his blog that is a fun read.
This year, six Presidential candidates--Biden, Clinton, Dodd, Edwards, Obama and Richardson--will be attending and speaking at the event, along with Iowa's three Congressional Representatives. It's a beautiful, sunny day in Indianola, and the crowd promises to be lively and enthusiastic.
I offer this dairy as a live thread for those who are following today's festivities, which is being broadcast live on C-Span. The event will also be live streamed courtesy C-Span.org.
Candidate supporters are out promoting their campaigns, steaks are frying and excitment is in the air!
Obama just wrapped up a pre-steak-fry rally at a nearby park; I haven't seen news regarding whether or not any of the other candidates held a similar event.
Edwards is distributing a newspaper at the event called "The Edwards Extra", touting his policy positions and proposals.
Last year, Obama was a huge draw. This year, it looks like all of the candidates will have a commanding presence and lots of cheering supporters.
So fire up the grill, pass the A-1, and enjoy!
UPDATE: Senator Tom Harkin has just posted a new diary about the Steak Fry, which will presumably include commentary on his live interview that follows the conclusion of the Presidential candidates' remarks. Thanks for the heads-up, PatsBard!