Come See us at the Fair!

August 1, 2018
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The Fair is upon us! People from all over the world are settling into the Campgrounds, preparing their prize-winning livestock, and rolling in their food and drink stands for an exciting 11 days in Des Moines, Iowa. From August 9-19th, the whole state of Iowa will celebrate its single largest event and one of the country’s oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions—the great Iowa State Fair!

Beginning in 1854, the first Fair was held in Fairfield, Iowa and attracted an estimated 7,000-10,000 people. As of 2002, the Fair surpassed the one million visitor mark and has continued to do so almost every year since, setting a record-breaking number of 1,130,071 visitors in 2017. This year, we expect another memorable year filled with world-renowned entertainment acts, more than 80 foods on-a-stick, and 600 pounds of butter to bring our famous Butter Cow back to life!


Since 1993, the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation has been working toward our mission of preserving and improving our beloved and historic Fairgrounds. Over its 26-year lifespan, the Foundation has raised over $138 million through public and private contributions to support this mission and fund over 40 projects.

The Grandstand renovation project is complete - with an additional 4,000 seats, new restrooms, and the new Kum & Go Stage funded by Kum & Go and Kyle and Sharon Krause. This exciting renovation will accommodate larger musical acts and provide an exceptional entertainment experience for all concert-goers.

The Blue Ribbon Foundation also provides funds for this and other projects through our annual Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction and Fair Food Grazing Party and through our many giving programs. You can visit your family’s engraved brick or personal lamp post at this year’s Fair!

You can also come find any of the Foundation staff members or our many friendly volunteers throughout the grounds during each day of the Fair! Refresh your thirst during the summertime heat at one of our six water booths; purchase a memory for you or a loved one by stopping by one of our merchandise locations; and indulge your inner-child with our classic crisped rice treats on-a-stick at our Fair Squares booth!

Our annual Painting class will be held almost every day of the Fair at the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center, where you can bring one of your favorite aspects of the Fair to life with the stroke of a brush! We will also be holding our first-ever Bingo tent on Grand Avenue. Stop by to see some of our local celebrites announcing the Bingo numbers and donate just $1 to play for the chance to win half of the total earnings per game!


Whether you come for just one day or are hunkering down for a whole two weeks of camping, we would love to share many new memories with you at this year’s Fair and ensure that Nothing Compares to Iowa State Fair Moments!