1. Nothing Compares To State Fair Thrills

Iowa State Thrill Parks: THRILL VILLE, THRILL TOWN and THRILL ZONE officially open in 2017. From state-of-the-art reloadable digital wristbands to super spectacular rides, join the fun in 2017 with the new THRILL PARKS at the Iowa State Fair, August 10-20. THRILL VILLE: Thrill seeking, jaw dropping, gut wrenching super-speed screams. Located between the Grandstand and Ye Old Mill. THRILL TOWN: Pint-sized little thrills for kids and parents. Located northwest of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center and east of Gate 10. THRILL ZONE: Unforgettable, thrilling, heart-stopping and memory making rides. Located west of the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building sponsored by Touchstore Energy Cooperative of Iowa.


2. Blue Ribbon Foundation’s 25th Anniversary Celebration

The Blue Ribbon Foundation has been a key component of the Iowa State Fair for 25 years. Since its inception in 1993, the Foundation has raised more than $135 million for renovations and capital improvements on the historic Iowa State Fairgrounds. Read about the Foundation’s journey in the book, A Great State Fair: The Blue Ribbon Foundation and the Revival of the Iowa State Fair, available for sale in the NEW State Fair Store located in the Robert G. Horner and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center. Fairgoers can support the Blue Ribbon Foundation by purchasing Iowa State Fair memorabilia and bottled water. Speaking of anniversaries, 2017 marks the 50th anniversary of the First Church on the Fairgrounds.

3. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Contest

Ketchup with your closest comrades Saturday, August 12 for the nationally acclaimed Nathan’s Famous Hot Dog Eating Regional Contest. The top male and top female finishers will relish in their victory and be invited to compete in the National Nathan’s Famous Fourth of July International Hot Dog Eating Contest on July 4, 2018. Nathan’s Famous Hot Dogs will be providing hot dog samples north of the Susan Knapp Amphitheater Stage August 11 – 13 sponsored by Coors Light with media sponsor KSDM Fox 17.

RELATED: Food & Drink Events in Greater Des Moines

4. Fair Food

Food is one of the main attractions at the Iowa State Fair with nearly 200 food stands and 75 delectable items on-a-stick. All your Fair favorites will be back along with a list of exciting, sometimes wacky food adventures. The top 3 new foods will be announced in July and Fairgoers can vote for their favorite food during the Fair.

5. Fair-Ovation

Get ready to learn about the latest and most innovative ideas from Iowa’s youth on Sunday, August 13 at the Oman Family Youth Inn. In partnership with the Iowa Governor’s STEM Advisory Council, Fair-ovation is an opportunity for youth to showcase their ideas, inventions and concepts for professionals to review. You won’t want to miss Iowa’s future innovators!

RELATED: Iowa State Fair Tips

6. 2016 Panorama Photo Display

At the 2016 Iowa State Fair, photographers Tim Olson and Tony Moline used 1920’s equipment to shoot a 150-foot long panorama portrait showcasing roughly 800 visitors, exhibitors and vendors during the Iowa State Fair. This year the panoramic print will be on display, along with excerpts from interviews, in the Patty & Jim Cownie Cultural Center Atrium during the Fair.


Welcome to the home of diabetes! 😂🍡🍗🍦🍢🌭🍭#myiowastatefair

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7. National Livestock Shows

The Iowa State Fair is honored to host the Red Angus National Show in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion sponsored by Prairie Meadows, Saturday, August 19. If you love horses, you will be thrilled about the National Shire Horse Show August 12 – 15 along with the National Percheron Show August 17 – 20.

*Evening horse shows require admission.

RELATED: Find an Event in Greater Des Moines

8. Spirit of Iowa Tribute Bell

The Spirit of Iowa Tribute Bell is to raise awareness of veterans’ needs. Fairgoers can be a part of the creation of the bell August 12-14. The completed bell will be showcased in the Veterans Day Parade August 14. The bell will honor those who have served, those who do serve and those who will serve.

9. Heroes’ Day

Heroes’ Day celebrates EMTs, fire and rescue, policemen and paramedics for opening day of the Iowa State Fair Thursday, August 10. Special displays will be on Grand Avenue and the Governor’s Lifesaving Awards and Outstanding Service Awards will be presented at the Susan Knapp Amphitheater sponsored by Coors Light with media sponsor KDSM Fox 17 at 9:30 a.m. Thank you to our Heroes in police, fire and rescue and EMTs for all you do!

10. More Parking

Getting to the Fair is easy. Due to popular demand the Fair will now offer additional parking in the northeast corner. For easy access, Fairgoers can take the Blue Line Parking Shuttle from the Northeast Lot ($10) to gates 13, 15 and 16. Bicycle parking is also available inside Gate 10

RELATED: Family Friendly Things to Do in Greater Des Moines

11. Budweiser Clydesdales

The American icons are making another appearance at the Iowa State Fair. The Budweiser Clydesdales will have a parade starting at 5:00 p.m. August 16-20. From their first appearance in 1933 to their enduring presence on the American landscape, the Clydesdales are more than the symbol of Budweiser beer; they are the living embodiment of America’s great industrial spirit. Their last appearance at the Fair was in 2014.


#clydesdale #myiowastatefair

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Iowa State Fair
August 10-20, 2017
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Content courtesy of the Iowa State Fair.