Tips for Visiting the Iowa State Fair

IA IowaStateFair IDED dbe ff  ff ecdb

Visit the Iowa State Fair August 12-22 on the east side of Des Moines Iowa, easily accessed by I-80 and I-35. Billboards showcase the Iowa State Fair during early summer. There is plenty for every age and ability to see and enjoy if you just do your homework ahead of time. You may have a special event or exhibit that interests and you and you won’t want to miss it!

Iowa State Fair
So much fun here – image by

On August 8, The Des Moines Register will offer a coupon for half price entry on opening day of the fair, August 12, from 6:00 a.m. until noon. Visitors can also enjoy savings with half price tickets by coming from Monday – Thursday evenings after 5 p.m.

Inside the same building featuring many garden and agricultural products you will enjoy floral displays, food and other demonstrations, the best ice cream cones and fudge in the world and some of the biggest pumpkins you’ve seen in your life.

state fair midway jpg
Many food vendors – image by

Maybe you enjoy the animals. It might be just be walking through the barns and visiting with those exhibitors who brought their animals to the fair. Or maybe you want to watch the judging and see how good you are at picking the best of the show.

The cultural center’s displays will amaze you with the huge photo and art exhibits. Visitors may want to make a basket or a ring – you’ll probably find a time and place to do that in the cultural center. Also in the atrium, sandscapes are continually being built during the days of the Iowa State Fair.

Colorful pictures – image by

Take time to visit the miniatures or the doll houses and a huge variety of additional arts and crafts housed inside this building. Yes, it’s a bit of a climb up the hill, but just buy a snack or a lemonade on the way up to give you extra umph. You’ll be amazed at the bungee jumpers and may want to give that a try. Just step to the side of the cultural center for great fun.

Bungee Jump at Iowa State Fair
Bungee jump at Iowa State Fair – image by

Free shows are available throughout the grounds. You’ll find everything from Rock and Roll, hip hop and spiritual music to old time tunes and comedy. Find yourself a choice spot in the shade and join the crowd in enjoyment of your favorite entertainment.

Food – any kind of food – that could be a book in itself. You will find just about anything you want and some you don’t, somewhere on the grounds.

iowa state fair main attractions
You will find just about anything you want and some you don’t – image by

The church meals are always yummy and filling – or maybe you want a turkey leg, or funnel cake or guinea grinder or ice cream. Each year new food items are added to the already packed Iowa State Fair’s venue of food offerings. Water is sold up and down every street.

You will find many benches that folks have donated so others could sit down and take a needed break. Floral and other grounds displays are beautiful and it seems with all the containers that people attending the fair try to keep things neat and clean.

attachment    n
You can take a break on benches – image by

Kids and adults alike may enjoy climbing on the huge new farm equipment. You may notice it while driving through Iowa’s country-side, but you don’t quite realize how big farm equipment is until you stand up beside it. You might also ask the price. Amazing!

However, maybe you aren’t able to trek throughout the Fair Grounds because of a handi-cap or other issues. You can rent a little scooter enabling easier travel. Or, you can simply find handi-cap parking, be delivered to the building of your choice and spend a whole day inside.

You can rent a little scooter enabling easier travel – image by

One place I’d recommend is the food building right inside the grounds. You can spend many enjoyable hours listening to educational discussions or watching a variety of foods being judged. It’s calm, cool and sometimes there are great samples for your enjoyment.

Of course the Iowa State Fair Grandstand has a great line up.

Iowa State Fair Grandstand – image by

If Iowa or State Fair history is your bag, be sure to visit the museums on the north side of Pioneer Hall. The exhibits will quickly bring back memories or show younger people history of years gone by.

Parking is available off site and visitors can be bussed directly to the gate. For more information on this, parking, schedules and prices go to Iowa State as the Iowa State Fair message has much more to say than what I can write in this short piece.

New PH Cover Photo
Pioneer Hall is suitable if you want to know about history – image by

Be sure to wear comfortable shoes and clothing as it can be VERY hot or maybe you’ll even be puddling through some rain showers. But know that you will have a great time, whether you’re 6 or 86 – or older or younger – and that there is something for everyone to enjoy at the Iowa State Fair. It is indeed a great state fair!


Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here