5 Reasons You Must Take a Trip to the Iowa State Fair
Every year, for 10 days in Des Moines, Iowa, at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, is the Iowa State Fair. Frankly the Iowa State Fair is regarded as one of the top-five state fairs in our nation. There are so numerous reasons to love the Iowa State Fair, but here are the TOP FIVE reasons why you should go to the Iowa State Fair!
The Iowa State Fair is known for being the most classic fair since its inception in 1854. I remember my father telling me his father would take him each year and they would sleep in the car. The Iowa State Fair is traditional with a focus on agriculture and livestock, naturally. The Iowa State Fair inspired Rodgers and Hammerstein’s 1945 musical film State Fair.
I've been out of town traveling again and I'm so happy to say we had sun every single day! We ran from this dreary city with terrible summer weather and enjoyed fresh air, sun and family. It had been seven months since we had seen my family and frankly, long overdue. My children were starved for fresh air and cousins. They played outdoors all day long and I never had to worry where they were!
We frequented the Iowa State Fair whilst there. The Iowa State Fair is the largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the largest agricultural expositions in the nation. The fair attracts more than a million people from all over the world. It is Iowa’s greatest celebration, a salute to the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. (can you tell I was raised there) If you are looking to see anything related to agriculture, it is at the Iowa State Fair. It is the true heartbeat of the Midwest, unequaled and un-duplicated.
We saw cows, horses, pigs, the biggest boar (weighing 1,039 pounds), the biggest bull, tractors, a butter cow, and we caught some horse shows (for my little one). The kids rode carnival rides until they were zombies. We ate pork chops on a stick, deep fried butter, ribs, brisket, pork sandwiches, alt water taffy and the best ice cream ever made. We saw winning fruits, vegetables, baked goods, photography and balloon towers.
I really can't recall all that we saw, there was just so much fun to be had!
Where else can you sample deep fried butter? It literally taste like a big cinnamon roll! Iowa Pork Chop on a stick! All things bacon! The biggest corn dog you will ever eat? The food at the Iowa State Fair is literally one of the best reason to visit the fairgrounds. You have to plot your route based on the food vendors. There are about 200 food stands and 70 food items on-a-stick available. Every kind of funnel cake you could ever want to try, beer, wine, and soda too. I say, skip the burgers and hot dogs and try all the pork vendors that Iowa has to offer. The Iowa Craft Beer Tent features 48 different breweries. This is where the men gather at night to enjoy the nightly entertainment offerings.
HOGS | ANIMALS
I am not sure if there is any other state in our nation where you will see hogs as large as an Iowa hog. Visit all the Livestock Barns. This is a location where my daughters will literally spend hours. You may even be blessed to catch a live birth of baby piglets, chicks, lambs or cows. The Swine Barn hosts the largest hog, and don't miss the Sheep Barn, Cattle Barn or the Horse Barn. Also, don't miss the Livestock Pavilion, where there are competitions throughout the fair. In addition, go support the kiddos who compete in 4-H. These kids work hard all year to show their animals and welcome all fair guests.
The Iowa State Fair has 4 stages, one amphitheater and free entertainment throughout the park through the full 10 days of the fair. The entertainment on the 4 stages is FREE as well. Not to be missed is the Petting Zoo for the kiddos, the Chainsaw Artist - really just spectacular what these artists can do, crowning of the Iowa State Fair Queen, various country, rock and R&B bands, and as always, family entertainment throughout the entire 10 days! At the Grandstand, there is the option to purchase tickets to see various artists that are visiting for concerts.
I mean, come on. Where else will you see a cow, made entirely of butter! Enough Said! One of THE main attractions is the 600 pounds of pure cream Iowa butter in the form of a cow. Don't miss seeing this one! A real cow can weigh upwards of about 1,000 pounds, but the Iowa State Fair butter cow weighs around 600 pounds. This butter cow could butter 19,000 slices of toast! The Butter Cow is located in the Agriculture Building.
GAMES AND RIDES | THRILL VILLE
Besides the food, the only reason my kids want to attend is the Midway Carnival rides, and the games. Although this area has been renamed for long time attendees looking for the Midway, it is not THRILL VILLE. Thrill Ville is located between the Grandstand and Ye Old Mill. Although, I take that back, my daughters love all things animal. But, the games and the rides are worth a day full day. We usually purchase a wristband and spend one entire day letting the kiddos run from one ride to the next. By the end of the day, everyone has had their fill of spinning! There is a location for the littlest of the little people, Thrill Town and then there is the location for the ultimate thrill seekers - THRILL ZONE! New this year are reloadable wristbands! Don't worry, the Giant Slide is still at the Iowa State Fair!
BONUS: SKY GLIDER
August in Iowa is not joke, it is hot. So, hop on the Sky Glider and take a rest and cool off and people watch over the 445 acres of the Iowa Fairgrounds. The Sky Glider is a ride that is an aerial tramway. You will have the opportunity to dangle your feet high above the Grand Concourse and get a lay of the fairgrounds. Be sure to remember where the Cultural Center is located. This is a spot not to be missed either.