The 2019 Iowa State Fair kicks off Thursday, Aug 8, 2019. It’s easy to stay up-to-date with all of the latest and greatest activities and news at the Iowa State Fair online at www.iowastatefair.org or the official Iowa State Fair App.
PLAN YOUR DAY
Planning your day at the Fair is made easy with our interactive online daily program and official Iowa State Fair App. Fairgoers can search by date, location, or keyword to create their own personal itinerary on Android and Apple devices. Please note: Apple users will need to re-download the App from last year. Visit https://www.iowastatefair.org/entertainment/fair-schedule/ or download the official Iowa State Fair app for a full list of daily activities.
Additional information can be found through social media or e-newsletters; sign up today at www.iowastatefair.org.
GET TO THE FAIR
There are multiple ways to get to the Fair: Fairgoers can drive, take DART Park & Ride, use taxis, Uber and Lyft or come by bicycle.
• Northern Iowa- From I-35, take I-235 to Exit 10A then head east on E University Avenue approximately four miles to the Fairgrounds.
• Southern Iowa - From I-35, take IA 5/US 65 to Exit 79 then head west on E University Avenue approximately four miles to the Fairgrounds.
• Eastern Iowa - From I-80 take Exit 141 (Hwy. 65 Bypass), travel south on Hwy. 65 to Exit 79 and head west on Hwy. 163 (E University Avenue) approximately three miles to the Fairgrounds. It is suggested that visitors enter the Fair parking lot at E 36th as a left-hand turn may not be allowed into the grounds at E 33rd at certain times.
• Western Iowa - From I-235, take Exit 10A then head east on E University Avenue approximately four miles to the Fairgrounds.
Taxis, Uber and Lyft:
Taxis, Uber and Lyft will be available at Gate 8 for pick up and drop off.
Bicycle parking is available inside Gate 11 for free.
DART Park & Ride:
Three Park & Ride locations are available, with free parking, from 8:30 a.m. to midnight each day of the Iowa State Fair. At the Fairgrounds, all DART buses will drop off and pick up at the DART Transit Hub sponsored by Buick GMC at Gate 10 on East 30th Street.
1. Center Street Park & Ride, 7th and Center Streets
Enter Center Street parking ramp on 7th Street. Bus picks up at the corner of 6th Avenue and Center Street.
2. Iowa State Capitol, East 12th Street
Parking available at State Capitol visitor lots. Bus picks up on East 12th Street, directly east of the Capitol building.
3. Southeast Polk High School, NE 80th Street and Highway 163
Parking available in high school parking lots. Bus picks up at main door of high school and drops off at DART Transit Hub at Gate 10 on the Fairgrounds. This is a very popular Park & Ride location and fills up quickly each morning.
If you’re heading to the Fair in the late morning or early afternoon, you are encouraged to use the Center Street or Capitol Park & Ride locations.
For more information on parking lot changes, or closures, please text FAIR to 75782. To see the daily program visit www.iowastatefair.org or download the new Iowa State Fair App.
Don’t Forget to Buy Tickets!
Purchase discounted Thrill Park passes, Family Fun packs and admission tickets before August 8 and save.
Purchase tickets online at iowastatefair.org or at the ticket office located in the Administration building on the Fairgrounds or at area HyVee, Fareway, Cash Saver or Price Chopper locations.
New this year is daytime entertainment for families from Kachunga the Alligator Wrestler, Sea Lion Splash and for the first time ever- Wool Rider’s Only Mutton Bustin’; kids and families won’t want to miss the action at the 2019 Iowa State Fair.
Kids Activities and Entertainment
• Back after a one year absence, Bandaloni is a one of kind, one man band complete with equipment and songs to keep the whole family engaged. He can be found strolling near Rock Island every day. Sponsored by Perficut
• Rock-It the Robot hasn’t been to the Fair for a few years and we have missed his high tech light show. The life-like, nine-foot tall gentle giant has numerous digital voices for speaking and singing and he engages crowds with his robotic humor.
• Find high flying acrobatics in The Red Trouser Show sponsored by Drake University at Expo Hill complete with fire and comedy. It’s a high energy show you can’t miss!
• The Andringa Family Foundation Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way at Kids’ Zone.
• Feel the squish of grapes between your toes at Grandfather’s Barn. Teams of competitors stomp grapes to win ribbons.
• Sign up at the Fair for fun contests like Bubble Gum Blowing, Pie Eating, Pedal Tractor Pull, Scavenger Hunt, Mom Calling, Children’s Singing, Checkers Tournament and even the Pigtail, PonyTail, Braid, Mullet & MoHawk Contest. (locations and times vary)
• Sandscapes – A team of national, international and world champion sculptures construct an agriculture-themed masterpiece daily in front of Thrill Ville. You can see straw sculptures near the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building sponsored by Principal and catch 3-D chalk art in the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center, too.
• Chainsaw Carvers Gary Keenan and TJ Jenkins work together to carve amazing works of art. Characters come alive with the whip of chainsaws and dust. Some are even sold in the woodcarvers auction at the end of the Fair with proceeds going to the Blue Ribbon Foundation.
• Alligator wrestling in Iowa? Only at the Iowa State Fair. Kachunga and the Alligator’s interactive program educates and entertains as Kachunga takes on a man-eating reptile. Who wins? You will have to see the show to find out.
• Sea Lion Splash sponsored by Mountain Valley Spring Water is a unique show that will have you cheering and laughing as sea lions balance balls, shoot hoops, dance and perform handstands.
• Wool Riders Only Mutton Bustin’ – “The Toughest Sport on Wool” will give boys and girls, ages three to six years old and weighing less than 60 pounds, a chance to ride a sheep for a full six seconds. Riders are timed and placed with a chance to compete in the finals, just like the big rodeo!
• Have you Herd? is a new program outside of the sheep barn where you can learn from a livestock exhibitor what it takes to get ready for a show. Don’t miss the interactive dairy tours and goat yoga with animals as well.
• The Hy-Vee Fun Forest Stage sponsored by Community Choice Credit Union has entertainment focused on kids each day. You can find Greg Frisbee’s crazy show and dance along with the Dollipops. At the Fun Forest Stage, near the play equipment, you can find the statue of Baby Mine, an elephant that the Iowa State Fair owned 90 years ago.
• The Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center sponsored by Christensen Farms is a highlight for many with live viewing of baby animal births. Learn about our Iowa livestock and see how much Iowa farmers care for their animals. Plus, you can sign up for text alerts on baby animal births by texting BABY to 75782.
• Sesame Street characters join the butter cow this year for the 50th anniversary of Sesame Street and the 50th anniversary of Iowa Public Television. Your favorite loveable characters will be a highlight of your visit.
Come celebrate 50 years of Sesame Street by seeing your favorite characters sculpted in butter. Standing alongside the iconic Iowa State Fair butter cow, Sesame Street will come alive in the John Deere Agriculture Building throughout the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18.
Sesame Street started as a colorful community of monsters, birds, grouches and humans 50 years ago, a place where everyone counts. Sesame Street’s founders changed children’s television forever with a diverse cast, a research-based curriculum and iconic characters.
The butter cow has been sculpted at the Iowa State Fair since 1911.