Iowa State Fair

Old Jul 26th, 2023, 08:20 AM
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Iowa State Fair

First-time fairgoer here, with a very limited amount of time to see the fair. I'll have a rental car but do NOT want to spend much time walking just to get to and from the fair, because of hot weather and limited visit time.

If you have been to the fair, what do you think is the best (most efficient and quickest, with cost of transportation not factoring in) way to get to and from the fair, from a downtown hotel that may not be on the public transportation route? Uber? Lyft? Drive to a parking lot (and which one) and shuttle in? Drive a rental car and park (and if so, where?)?

Which gate should we use to enter and exit if we want to be close to things like the animals and the Butter Cow, and stalls with food on sticks? Rides and headline music shows are not a priority; however, I'd like to take the sky tram to see the park from the air.

I would love any thoughts and tips you have for the Iowa State Fair!.
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Old Aug 24th, 2023, 08:56 AM
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So --- having received no tips relating to the Iowa State Fair, since we've been and returned I thought I'd share a little of our experience in case it's useful for anyone in the future who is unfamiliar with Des Moines and the Fair experience.

We made a very quick trip to Iowa, less than 24 hours. After landing at the Des Moines airport, picking up our rental car and first touring the State Capitol building (totally worth a visit), we drove to the Fair. We circled the outside of the Fair first, scoping it out for parking. We were not interested in rides or the campground so no desire to park near those locations. We ended up choosing Gate 9 and parked across the street in someone's yard, for $20. Lots of homeowners offer their yards for parking. The Gate 9 entry was next to the Craft Beer Tent, an auspicious beginning.

We bought 2 delicious local beers and set out to see the Fair. We were there on the first Saturday and some of our goals were to (a) see the animals (b) try the local Fair foods including foods on sticks and (3) avoid the politicians. Happy to say we succeeded with all goals!

The animals were impressive. There is one tent that seems to feature the "best of the best" in various breeds, so that you're walking past a pen, say, holding one type of cow, and then another, then pens of different types of goats, then horses, then chickens, etc.... say a miniature horse, or a huge horse, or a Naked Neck chicken... That was called Avenue of Breeds. Of course there are also the regular animal barns, but it was great seeing the different breeds all in the same tent.

We saved our appetites for the Fair, and had quite the assortment of fair foods. An Iowa Twinkie -- a deep-fried Twinkie with pulled pork, jalapeno, corn, cream cheese, barbecue sauce and ranch dressing. Cheese curds -- regular and dill pickle flavor. A pork chop on a stick; a deep-fried Oreo cookie; and a deep fried Three Musketeers candy bar on a stick, covered in powdered sugar. The pork chop was delicious. The Twinkie was not as bad as I had feared. We also got a bucket of Barksdale's chocolate chip cookies and took them back home and froze most of them. They seem to freeze well.

We found the building with the Butter Cow (and this year's butter sculptures of people, three athletes with Iowa connections, including Kurt Warner). These, including the cow, are all sculpted from butter and are behind glass presumably in a chilled room.

We rode one of the overhead sky trams or whatever it's called, and had a nice view of the fair below.

After about 4 hours we called it a day/night, drove to and checked in to our hotel, which I would recommend -- Surety Hotel downtown. Early the next morning we were back at the airport for our flight home. The airport is a convenient distance from downtown Des Moines.

Fun quick trip to Iowa.





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Old Aug 24th, 2023, 12:12 PM
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We took the liberty of modifying your title and adding a Trip Report flag because this now seems to have become a Trip Report
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