The Iowa State Fair is one of the nation's best when it comes to food. Each day at the fair there are over 200 different options, from tried and tested American favorites to international cuisine and things you have never eaten before. The 'on a stick' foods are by far and away the most popular, with some truly innovative creations.
There are dozens of opportunities to try the iconic snack at the Iowa State Fair. Try corndogs with fries, veggies corndogs, spicy corndogs, premium Kobe beef corndogs – the possibilities are endless - served on a stick, of course!
Unsurprisingly in the state which is home to the highest population of pigs in the US, pork dishes are hugely popular at the state fair. It's best served in a bun, with salad and a mountain of fries on the side.
There's nothing more American than a great slice of apple pie and once you have cast your eyes over the homemade pies entered in the fair's pie making contest, head outside to the food trucks where you can feast on juicy apples, crumbly pie crust and creamy Iowa ice cream.
If you are from outside Des Moines, staying in Iowa State Fair vacation rentals close to the event lets you make the most of each and every day. The program is published online, so check in advance if there is a particular agricultural class or demonstration which interests you. The Iowa State Fair mixes performances from the top names from the pop and country music scene with thrill rides, food concessions and family friendly entertainment.
The Butter Cow has been a mascot of the Iowa State Fair since 1911. Made from 600 pounds of best Iowa butter over a wire frame, the life sized cow can be seen in the Agriculture Building, Perfect for photo opportunities and fair memories, each year there's a companion sculpture too, usually featuring a pop culture icon.
A firm favorite with families, the Livestock Pavilion is where you will find all the farm animals. Take a seat in the grandstand and watch the judges deliberate over the finest cows or pigs, or watch traditional rodeo events. Backstage, visitors can see the animals in pens, with a wide range of different breeds on display.
One of the loudest and most vibrant places on a fair evening, the beer tent is home to around 50 local beer producers from across the State. It is the perfect place to try some new beers, make some friends and spend the evening listening to live music.
You don't have to plan a visit to the Iowa State Fair with military precision but having an idea of what you would like to see and in which order will make any visit easier. When it comes to accommodation, look for Iowa State Fair hotels close to the show grounds, allowing you to maximise your hours of fun on each day of your visit.
Don't bother saving cash for fairground rides, as these are paid for using a smart wristband system. Load your wristband up with credit and simply tap against the scanner each time you board a ride. Wristbands can be easily recharged with credit as needed.
The sheer size of the Fair can make getting around tricky, so make things simple by downloading the State Fair Food app which will show you which food concessions are available close by and guide you straight there using your phone's GPS.
There is limited parking on site but it is often quicker to use the park and ride. Park for free at one of the three DART locations and get half price bus fares right into the fairground.