There are not a lot of industrial and agricultural exhibitions around the world that can lay claim to being the inspiration behind three movies, a book and a musical. Welcome to the Iowa State Fair ladies and gentlemen! This famous fair has been part of the annual calendar for well over a century and a half, making it one of the most attended events of its kind in the world.
The Iowa State Fair sets new records on a regular basis and its most recent edition of 2017, recorded the biggest attendance in the fair’s history. 1,130,071 fans made their way to the legendary exhibition to enjoy the livestock, listen to great music and take part in all the fun activities that it offers. The fair will return in 2018 bigger and better than ever before. If you want to be a part of it, then book your Iowa State Fair tickets and make your way to the Iowa State Fairgrounds for an experience of a lifetime.
A Brief History
The Iowa State Fair traces its origins back to October 25, 1854 when it was held for the very first time ever in Fairfield. That was around two decades before hundreds and thousands of Americans from the East decided to migrate to “The Great American Desert.”
The inaugural edition of the fair needed to be managed by someone and that responsibility fell on the shoulders of the newly founded Iowa State Agricultural Society. Thomas W. Clagett was its first president, while Dr. J.M. Shaffer became the secretary. Shaffer remained in the post for quite a few years and became the driving force behind the Iowa State Fair during that time.
Temporary pens and sheds were set up for the livestock for the first Iowa State Fair. A tent was also erected to manage the exhibits along with a 1,500-foot circular track. Most of the people that attended the fair camped on the roads and at the fair itself. There were different competitions for the fans to enjoy and the inaugural edition was a success.
The Iowa State Fair has not looked back since and is now one of the most popular events in the country. In 2002, the attendance figures crossed one million, the first in fair’s history. The Iowa State Fairgrounds have been named in the National Register of Historic Places.
From One City to Another
The first two Iowa State Fairs were held in Fairfield but it moved to quite a few places after that. It was held in Muscatine, Oskaloosa, Iowa City, Dubuque, Burlington, Clinton, Keokuk and Cedar Rapids between 1856 and 1878. It was then decided to shift the fair to a permanent location and Des Moines was picked as the city. It has been held there ever since.
The Iowa State Fairgrounds is where the Iowa State Fair is now held every year. The grounds were situated in the west of Des Moines but then it was decided to move the Fairgrounds to the eastern side. The Iowa State Fairgrounds are now spread over four hundred and thirty five acres of land. Out of which, two hundred and seventy five acres are dedicated to the fair itself, while close to one hundred and sixty acres are used for camping purposes.
The Major Attractions
The food at the Iowa State Fair is diverse and extremely popular among the fans. In excess of two hundred stands are set up to cater for the people attending the fair. Food on a stick is one of biggest attractions. From Snickers to Oreos and hot dogs, there are literally hundreds of varieties to pick from.
Another big Iowa State Fair attraction is the Bill Riley Iowa State Fair Talent Search that began in 1959 for the first time. Kids of 2 to adults of 21 years of age can participate and the end act is the crowning of the Senior and Sprout champions. There are also a lot of rides for the fans to enjoy. Ferris wheels, bumper cars and other rides have been an integral part of the fair ever since its early days.
Last but definitely not the least, there is the famous Butter Cow which has been part of the Iowa State Fair since 1911. The first butter sculpture was created by J.K. Daniels and his place was then taken over by J.E. Wallace. Earl Frank Dutt then took over the sculpting responsibilities in 1957. Norma Lyon then created history by becoming the first woman sculptor at the Iowa State Fair in 1960. Norma was replaced by Sarah Pratt in 2006 and she has been doing the honors since.
Concerts are held at the Iowa State Fair Grandstand each Friday. The most famous names in music history have performed at the Iowa State Fair over the years. The list includes superstars like Johnny Cash, Elton John, The Beach Boys, The Eagles, Chicago, Metallica, Alicia Keys, Ozzy Osbourne, Alana Jackson, Kenny Chesney, Garth Brooks, Pentatonix, Cheryl Crow, Lady Antebellum, Florida Georgia Line and Christina Aguilera among a lot of others big names.
Discount Iowa State Fair Tickets
Since the 2017 edition of the Iowa State Fair set a new attendance record, the team behind the fair will be hoping that the upcoming edition is another record breaking event. Millions are expected to attend the fair next year and if you want to be a part of what could be a record setting fair, book your discount Iowa State Fair tickets now.