Iowa State Fair Sesquicentennial

Old Jun 24th, 2004, 11:07 PM
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Iowa State Fair Sesquicentennial

I have a friend in Des Moines who has nearly convinced me to make a trip to Iowa in August for the state fair. I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has been in the past, and whether this fair stands out for any particular reason. I know Iowa doesn't often rate as a destination on these boards, but I usually make a trip or two in that direction each year to visit friends.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 03:51 AM
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I've lived in Iowa my entire life, and have been to the state fair many times. In fact, my father used to be the judge for the gladiola (flower show) exhibition.

If you enjoy fairs, it's a great one. Heading there myself for a couple days this year. On the other hand, I mentioend this to a friend, who looked at me like I was nuts. It will probably be hot and humid, she's allergic to many animals and dust, and has no desire to subject herself to such things. Depends on your point of view.

I consider it quite the feeding frenzy. Nothing quite compares to the variety of food that you can find at the fair.

PS: Make sure and see the butter cow....

Jean
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 04:33 AM
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Believe it or not, I drove from Michigan to Iowa - and a major reason for this trip was to attend the Iowa State Fair. It is the largest single-state fair in the country. Mind you, I am not a big state fair or amusment park type of person. But I can tell you that I thoroughly enjoyed my time in Des Moines and at the fair. It really is something to see. It has that rather old-fashioned flair to it all. I loved it. I also stayed downtown Des Moines at the hotel where Tiny Tim used to live. Neat hotel - sorry the name escapes me right now. There are also other neat things to do in the area. (Madison County Bridges, Amana Colony, etc.)

Being as you are here at Fodors, I assume that you already have this web address - but in case you don't, info for the Iowa State Fair can be found at:
http://www.iowastatefair.com/

Have fun - and, "Meet Me At The Fair!"
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:20 AM
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You know the movie "State Fair?" - that's the Iowa State Fair they're talking about. I grew up in Iowa and currently live in Minnesota. The MN State Fair is actually larger - in both attendance and size, I believe. But I prefer the Iowa State Fair hands down. It is laid out well, plenty to do, lots of grassy areas for resting when you want, good shows at the Grandstand and free shows throughout the day. The only drawback is that it can get HOT in August in Iowa and there are few places to go to get respite from the heat at the fair (i.e. few, if any, air conditioned buildings).
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 08:27 AM
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You simply can't go wrong going to the Iowa State Fair, the exhibits, the people, the food. Take a chance and enjoy an adventure of a different kind. Yes, it can get hot but it can be beautiful too, isn't that the case with anywhere you travel? Since you'll be visiting friends you know you'll have a good time no matter what and it seems like they are anxious to "show off" their neck of the woods, GO FOR IT!
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 09:14 AM
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Marie - glad you like the deep midwest fairs as I do. I stated that I believed Iowa was the largest "single-state fair." I too have heard that there is a larger one, but that it involved more than one state, including Minnesota. Would it also include perhaps the Dakotas? North and/or South? Just curious if you happen to know which states are involved.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 12:21 PM
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I haven't heard of a multi-state fair in the Midwest. The Minnesota State Fair just includes MN - however many people probably come from surrounding states to attend. I think they do the same at the Iowa State Fair. I have been to both and love them both.
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Old Jun 25th, 2004, 05:58 PM
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Thanks for the input from those who have been there. I, too, had to pause and give some consideration to the heat and whether it would detract from the fun. But I think I'll be going anyway!
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 07:14 AM
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I think that Exhibition Hall at the Iowa state Fair has actually been air conditioned. I recall being sort of taken aback two years ago when I was there. It just didn't seem 'right'. It probably would have seemed a lot more right if it had been 100 degrees that day. So, save Exhibition Hall for the hottest part of the day. Jean
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Old Jun 26th, 2004, 11:00 AM
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Attended the Iowa State Fair last year.
Lots of free music venues around the fair. And of course the food....we joke about the pork chop on a stick!

Ah. yes, the butter cow...a must see!

Des Moines is a pretty city. At least I thought so. Hot and humid at fair time.
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Old Jun 28th, 2004, 10:50 AM
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You all got me curious, so I did a little internet research. Turns out that TEXAS has the largest state fair with 277 acres and attendance topping 3.5 million - Yikes! The Minnesota State Fair is the THIRD largest in attendance with 320 acres and attendance over 1.7 million in 2003. Interestingly, the Iowa State Fair has more land (approx. 400 acres) but less people (just over 1 million in 2003). That is one reason I like the Iowa fair over Minnesota. At the Minnesota State Fair it can get so crowded that you almost need a shoehorn to get through all the people. I can't imagine what it is like at the Texas State Fair!
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Old Jun 29th, 2004, 03:30 AM
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Very interesting, Marie. Thanks for the info and your research!
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