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An Iowa Native's Look at the Iowa State Fair

Iowa State Fair Favorites in DSM USA

August 3, 2017

I’ve been going to the Fair ever since I can remember. My family and I went every year, sometimes multiple times, and it’s always been a tradition. Each year when I go to the Fair, there are certain spots I have to hit, foods I have to eat and things I have to see.

Iowa State Fair Favorites

Foot-Long Corndog

My absolute favorite Fair food is the corndog. You can’t go wrong with a classic! But I don’t want just any corndog — I want a foot-long corndog from a Campbell’s booth, one of those booths with a big “C” at the top. Throughout my years of trying different foods and experimenting with corndogs from various stands, I’ve come to the conclusion that Campbell’s makes the best corndog, especially at 12 inches.

Sky Ride

I absolutely love riding the sky ride. Every year I have to take the north ride from east to west, the perfect route to take as the sun starts to go down early in the evening. Plus, you see some amazing sights as you descend toward the main drag outside of the Midway. The best view of the entire Fair is on that sky ride. You can see everything from the main street full of food stands and bustling people to the Grand Stand (be sure to listen for any concerts or tractor pulls happening inside!) to the animal barns.

Iowa State Fair Sky Ride

Animal Barns

Speaking of, you can’t go to the Fair and not take a stroll through all of the animal barns. Embrace the sights, sounds and smells as you walk through to see the sheep, cows, horses, chickens, rabbits, piglets and, of course, the big pig. Did you really go to the Fair if you didn’t stop by to catch a look at a 2,000+ pound pig?

Butter Cow

Another Fair classic! Located in one of the cooler buildings you’ll find at the Fairgrounds, the Butter Cow is a must-see (and a great way to cool off for a few minutes!). I never wait in the long line though. My family and I just stand on our tiptoes to see over the line and catch a glimpse of the famous cow and her fellow butter figures.

Iowa State Fair Butter Cow

Fine Art Exhibition

Another spot to cool off! It’s amazing to walk around the art building and see work that fellow Iowans have created. From photography to paintings to awe-inspiring doll houses (my favorite room to go to in this building!), we have some talented people of a variety of backgrounds in our state. Stopping by and taking a look at their art is a great way to celebrate them.

I am so excited for the Fair to open next week! The Iowa State Fair is one of my favorite summertime traditions here in Greater Des Moines (DSM), and I know it will be for years to come.

Learn more about other Attractions and Events happening in Greater Des Moines (DSM). 

Sarah Nelson

Sarah is a student at the University of Iowa studying Journalism and Mass Communication with an English minor and Fundraising and Philanthropy Certificate graduating in December 2017. She interned for the Greater Des Moines Partnership during the summer of 2017. Visit sarahn-dipity.com.