Iowa State Fair Kicks Off First Weekend

The fair set an attendance record in 2019 with a total of 1,170,375 visitors. With a stacked lineup of things to do, plus musical guests like Brooks and Dunn, Nelly, and Demi Lovato drawing a crowd this weekend, could the fair be on its way to setting a new high? Photo: courtesy of Travel Iowa.

The Iowa summer staple is finally here, and with no shortage of things to do, animals to see and delicacies to taste. Whether you’re a one-and-done visitor or preparing several days’ worth of activities, we have some suggestions for an action-packed first weekend.

On Friday, head to the Elwell Family Food Center to view culinary competitions or attend a food seminar. The morning’s “Cooking With Coffee” event should be a great way to start the day. Then take some line dancing lessons in Farm Bureau Pioneer Hall to brush up on your moves. Iowa rock band the Nadas will perform in the evening at the MidAmerican Energy Stage.

Saturday is the perfect day to shop the vast number of creations for purchase in the Cultural
Center, Walnut Center or the Grandstand Shoppers Mart. Take a break from shopping and grab a glass (or two) at the “Wine Down in the Garden” event from 7 to 9 p.m.

Then check out “Reusapalooza” on Sunday in the DNR Building for upcycling activities all afternoon. Or learn about honey and beekeeping, Christmas tree production and bonsai techniques, all at the John Deere Agriculture Building. End the weekend with a musical performance from pop star Demi Lovato at the Grandstand.

To see complete schedules for each day of the fair and purchase tickets, head to

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