The Iowa State Fair has a long and illustrious history. It was first held in 1854 and the cost of hosting it was the princely sum of $353. By 1878 the fair had grown so popular that it was moved to the city of Des Moines, IA where it remains to this day

Old Photo of Des Moines IowaThe fair now takes up approximately 450 acres, however some idea of just how popular it is can be gained from the fact that a full 160 acres of that total area is set aside as a campsite for those who will be participating in the activities and exhibitions, as well as the hordes who visit just to take in one of the greatest state fairs in the United States.

The Basics of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines

The attractions at this Des Moines staple are varied. It plays host to one of the world’s largest stock shows and with 900 classes of foods to be judged it outstrips any other fair in the food department.

For many the highlight of the show are the competitions for best of breed and other awards in a variety of categories where livestock of varied types is judged. Only a small example of the varied nature of the program includes judging bulls, boars, pigeons, rabbits, horses, goats and dogs – and the list goes on and on. This is one of the reasons that the Iowa State Fair draws in breeders from across the U.S.

The Best Attractions in Des Moines…AND All Throughout Iowa

But it’s not all about judging livestock and other animals – there’s something for everyone. The fair regularly boasts well over 200 food stalls and the variety of foodstuffs on offer is truly mind-boggling. The fair is famous for its variety of deep fried ‘foods on a stick’ (bacon wrapped corn dog anyone?) that are available – but the most iconic food offering must surely be the pork chop – no wonder seeing as Iowa leads the nation of hog production. More unusual offerings often include such treats as deep fried Oreos.

There are also numerous amusement type rides and attractions that keep the entire family entertained during their time at the the Fair, from bumper cars to the iconic Ferris Wheel there really is something for everyone. When you have the thrill of a lifetime with one of these rides, you can thank a local Des Moines business owner for your experience. A lot of the rides are funded by local investors and the business community at large.

And let is not forget one of the undoubted stars of the show – the Butter Cow which has been taking pride of place at the Fair ever since 1911.

This is an event to enjoy no matter your age. My wife loves going here every year and actually recommends that you also check out this Des Moines lake park if you get the opportunity while you’re in town. If you have the chance set aside some time and get to the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines, Iowa – you will not regret it.