The Iowa State Fair tradition

Iowa State Fair

Every family has their traditions. Being from Iowa, the Iowa State Fair is one of my family’s many traditions. I have been every year of my life expect for four times. I usually only go for one day in the 11 days that the fair runs. I also try to make it a one grandstand show a year. (This year it was Pentatonix. They were great!) The fair is long standing tradition for most Iowans, and non-Iowans alike. So much so that over a million people visit almost every year!

"The internationally acclaimed Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines is Iowa’s great celebration, a salute to the state’s best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. It is the true heartbeat of the Midwest, unequaled and unduplicated.” - From (

Iowa State Fair

You will find that Iowan’s are proud of anything that is from their State. (We actually have a museum in Des Moines called “The Iowa Hall of Pride.” It’s real! Go visit sometime.) I don’t know where this pride comes from but it is important to our way of life in Iowa. People from outside of Iowa don’t get it. Much like people outside of America don’t get the pride most Americans have in our country. My husband is originally from California and the Iowa State Fair isn’t that big of a deal to him. He went with me this year for the first time in six years. We went out on a beautiful Sunday afternoon (with about 112,833 other people) and enjoyed walking around, looking at stuff, people watching, and eating a ton of food.

The food! The food, to me, is the best part about the fair. Sure, there is the butter cow, the art & cultural center, Ye old mill, the Varied industries building, various competitions, baby animal center, carnival games and rides, and entertainment galore but the FOOD, that’s what you go to the ISF for, in my humble opinion. There is nothing healthy about it, but there are always yummy treats to be found. Everyone has their favorite and can’t visit the fair without having it. My favorite is the Grater Traters. Potatoes spiraled into ribbons, fried, and smothered in cheese. Delicious! We consumed so much food, but it was all worth the calories. (see below for more pictures)

My husband feels like the ISF is the same thing every year, and for the most part he’s right. But there is nothing wrong with that! We all know what to expect, we love to see what’s new every year, and we wouldn’t change a thing. If you want delicious food, unmatched people watching, and some great entertainment you’ve got to try it. Even if it’s only once in your life.

Come visit! You’ll be amazed! And who knows, maybe you’ll make it a tradition of your own!


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