Summer hardly seems complete without carnival games, corn dogs, and funnel cakes. The Iowa State Fair is almost here, and while you'll certainly find your standard fair staples, this fair goes above and beyond, drawing more than 1 million visitors each year. Here's a look at some of the key attractions you won't want to miss:
1. Awesome Grandstand Concerts
Each night, a new, nationally renowned act comes to the Grandstand. This year's performers include:
You can see the full lineup and purchase tickets on the Iowa State Fair official website.
- August 11: The Newsboys with special guest Francesca Battistelli
- August 14: Jason Derulo
- August 15: Dierks Bentley
- August 19: KISS
- August 20: Steven Tyler and The Loving Mary Band
- August 21: Lady Antebellum
2. Unique Food
Classic funnel cakes, sugar waffles, and SnoCones will always be fair staples, but the fair is taking it to the next level with unique offerings like Ice Cream Nachos and Cheddar Bacon Cheese On a Stick. Another cool creation is the Italian Bacon Wrap on a Stick, which is an Italian sausage wrapped in bacon, battered, and deep fried.
3. The Butter Cow
Each year, the official Iowa State Fair butter sculptor sculpts a cow out of real butter. The sculpture begins with a frame made from wood and metal, along with roughly 600 pounds of Iowa butter. By the end, it's transformed into a uniquely themed cow sculpture that measures up to eight feet long.
4. Free Concerts (Included With Fair Admission)
There are several additional stages located throughout the fairgrounds where you can see various performances throughout the day. Whether you love rock, country, funk, jazz, or another genre, you're sure to catch an act you enjoy. The Temptations hit the Bud Light Stage on August 13, while Bret Michaels performs on August 17!
5. The Crowning of the Fair Queen
Competitors from all over the state of Iowa come together to compete for the title of Iowa State Fair Queen. Contestants are judged on citizenship, community involvement, poise, and overall appearance. Attend the crowning ceremony on August 13, and you'll truly be impressed by how much these young people have done for the state of Iowa as well as their local communities.
6. Intriguing Agricultural Exhibits
It's not every day you get to see ten or more species of cows, some of the state's largest vegetables, and flowers that take your breath away. You'll get to learn a lot about agriculture in the state of Iowa and the biology of various plants and animals.
The fair grounds are open daily from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m., and buildings are open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. Daily tickets are $12 for adults, $6 for children ages 6 to 11, and free for children ages five and under.
What are you looking forward to most at this year's fair? Let us know in the comments below!