Best time to go to Midwest

Iowa State Fair 2024

Feel the spirit of the Midwest at one of the oldest and best-known state fairs in the USA

Dates: August 8–18, 2024

Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair
Iowa State Fair

A huge slide, a corn dog, a purple ribbon gained at a contest—you can experience these simple pleasures at the famous Iowa State Fair. With over one million people in 11 days, it's one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. The Iowa State Fair is held every year, starting on the second Thursday of August.

Concert Lineup

Iowa State Fair offers grandstand concerts featuring mostly rock singers and country up-and-comers, like Lauren Daigle, Foreigner: Historic Farewell Tour, Jelly Roll, Greta Van Fleet Starcatcher World Tour, Brett Young, Thomas Rhett, Mötley Crüe, Gabriel 'Fluffy' Iglesias Live, The Avett Brothers, Ne-Yo, Kidz Bop. Apart from paid concerts, free admission will be available to the following concerts: The Steel Woods, Restless Road, The War and Treaty, Kelsey Hart, 49 Winchester, Hairball (80s rock tribute), Shaylen, Blake Guyre (Elton John and Billy Joel tribute), Ella Langley, and Matt Stell.

Attractions

The fairgrounds boast amusement entertainment options from the family-friendly atmosphere of Elwell Family Park to the adrenaline-fueled excitement of the thrill parks. Thrill Parks such as Thrill Ville, Thrill Town, and Thrill Zone feature a variety of traditional rides suitable for all ages. Meanwhile, classic fair favorites like the Giant Slide, Ye Old Mill, and Sky Glider continue to captivate fairgoers of all generations. Additionally, Elwell Family Park hosts a range of events, including the Antique Tractor Pull, Short Course UTV & ATV Cup, Charros Performance, Garden Tractor Pull, Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulls, Demolition Derby, and Figure 8 Races.

Agricultural Events

As one of the world's largest livestock shows and Iowa's largest arts show, boasting around 600 exhibitors, the fair offers a myriad of experiences. Visitors can cozy up to adorable baby animals, participate in livestock workouts, or opt for an after-dark access pass to delve into agriculture. From the serene atmosphere of Barnyard Yoga to the llama-focused, family-friendly event, there's something for everyone. Cap off the day with the vibrant Glow Party in The Garden. Fairgoers can learn everything about the history of the Fair in the State Fair Museum. Interactive exhibits in the Ronald and Margaret Kenyon Gallery give visitors an interactive experience with the livestock judging contest, a display of a thrilling train crash that is activated by a button.

Food

The Iowa State Fair has 200 food stands. Don't forget to try the iconic food on a stick—there are 70 different kinds! There is no fair without deep-fried Snickers, Oreos, fried Cokes, cheesecake, pickle dawgs, and a bacon-wrapped hot dog dipped in cornmeal.

Tickets & Location

At the Iowa State Fair, admission starts at $11 for adults and $7 for children. Dive into agricultural experiences for $20-$40, or catch the excitement of events like the Outlaw Truck & Tractor Pulls ($20-$25) and the Demolition Derby ($10-$15). Explore attractions with options like the State Fair Value Pack ($20) or indulge in unlimited rides with the Advance One Day Ride Wristband for $40. For top-notch entertainment, Grandstand Tickets range from $35 to $125.

History of Iowa State Fair

The first Iowa State Fair took place in 1854, with a budget of just $323. It was held at various locations before moving permanently to Des Moines in 1878. The Fair has been depicted in a few movies. It is described in the 'State Fair' novel (1932) by Phil Stong. The Butter Cow has been the most famous thing at the Iowa State Fair since 1911. It is located in the Agricultural Building.

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Authors: Sophia Andrus