The Iowa State Fair is in full swing in Des Moines and though it is not Siouxland history, the fair certainly has an impact on the state. The Fair has been a forum for displaying the pride of Iowa’s agricultural and industrial achievements. Thousands of visitors from across Iowa and the Midwest, and sometimes even further have come each day to experience all that Iowa has to offer.
The Iowa State Fair has been an annual tradition since it was held in Fairfield, IA in 1854 on October 25th until the 27th. The Fair has a long and winding history since its origins. After being held in Fairfield for the second time, it was traded from city to city, mostly on the eastern half of Iowa until it permanently moved to the fairgrounds of Des Moines in 1878 and moved again to the current fairgrounds in 1886. For the Fair’s entire history, it has only been canceled five years. The first time was in 1898 due to the Spanish-American war and the close proximity of the World’s Fair held in Omaha, Nebraska that year. The next time was during World War II, the Fair was closed in 1942 and did not reopen until 1946.
The various attractions of the Fair have always placed a large emphasis on agriculture, which to this day is still one of the largest businesses in the state of Iowa. Perhaps one of the most famous is the Butter Cow, which has been an attraction since 1911, however, it has since been joined by many other butter masterpieces that have included beloved cartoon characters, movie stars, and famous Iowans. The numerous buildings on the fairgrounds also hold several exhibitors displaying, antiques, Iowa wine, cooking-ware, and arts and crafts.
The sheer expanse of the Fair has attracted Iowa attention across the nation. For example, the Iowa State Fair has been prominently featured in the Travel book “1000 Places to See Before You Die” it is not only the only state fair to be listed, but also the only Iowa destination listed. Indeed, the Iowa State Fair is an amazing event that holds something for everyone. Everything from giant pumpkins and miniature horses, to just about anything on a stick, the Iowa State Fair proudly boosts more variety than many other state fairs. The Iowa State Fair also boosts a strong presence in Iowa’s past, present and future. Though it started as mainly an agricultural event, it has evolved and changed with the times to display the best Iowa has to offer and become an unforgettable event for everyone who attends.
For more information on the Iowa State Fair, please go to their official website.