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- The Word On -

State Fair

August 5, 2009
Traer Star-Clipper


Senator Charles Grassley

Grassley Q & A: Iowa State Fair

Q: What's the Iowa State Fair?

A: The Iowa State Fair is a great way for Iowans to showcase all that we have to offer to visitors from all around the world. The Iowa State Fair began in Fairfield in 1854, and moved throughout Iowa to Muscatine, Oskaloosa, Iowa City, Dubuque, Burlington, Clinton, Keokuk, and Cedar Rapids before finding its permanent home in Des Moines starting in 1878. Today, the Iowa State Fair is the summer attraction of choice for more than a million people annually, making it the state's largest event each year. The Iowa State Fair offers educational and informational activities and entertainment. Programs like Little Hands on the Farm and the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center provide an interactive way for kids to learn about agriculture. Attractions include one of the world's largest livestock shows and the famous life size "Butter Cow," a milking parlor, the Avenue of Breeds, a tallest corn stalk contest, the state's largest arts show, the State Fair Museum Complex, a wide array of music and events held at the grandstand, competitions for 4-H and FFA kids ranging from animals and livestock to horticulture, photography and ag machinery, a talent show and much more. The Iowa State Fair is also home to more than 600 exhibitors and concessionaires. More than 200 types of food will be available with about 40 food items being served on a stick, a time-honored and entertaining fair tradition. Many fair-goers enjoy camping in the 160 acres of campgrounds. Spots for campers can be reserved for the duration of the fair or on a first-come first-served basis for spots open on a day-to-day basis. With all that the Iowa State Fair has to offer, it really has earned its reputation as America's classic state fair. Visit to buy admission tickets or for more information about fair activities.

Q: What's your favorite part of the Iowa State Fair?

A: I get to the fair every year and really enjoy walking around to see everything that's on display and to visit with Iowans. I also enjoy the chance to see the biggest bull and pig. The youth talent show with "Mr. State Fair," Bill Riley, was always entertaining. Bill will definitely continue to be missed, but his talent show still lives on through his son, Bill Riley Jr., who now is the host. It's always impressive to see the talented Iowans who perform on stage. Most years I also pour iced tea at the pork tent and visit the beef tent to help promote these vital agricultural industries. The Iowa State Fair is second to none in providing knowledge and information about agriculture and agriculture-related activities to people from all around the world in a fun and entertaining way.



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