News

Weather, political soapbox contribute to record Iowa State Fair attendance

Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden interacts with people Aug. 8, the opening day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Interest in political candidates speaking at the fair contributed to record-breaking fair attendance, according to a fair spokeswoman. (Reuters)
Democratic 2020 U.S. presidential candidate and former U.S. Vice President Joe Biden interacts with people Aug. 8, the opening day of the Iowa State Fair in Des Moines. Interest in political candidates speaking at the fair contributed to record-breaking fair attendance, according to a fair spokeswoman. (Reuters)

The Iowa State Fair set three one-day attendance records on the way to breaking the previous attendance for the 11-day celebration.

From Aug. 8 to 18, 1,170,375 people visited the fairgrounds in Des Moines, according to a fair spokeswoman.

The recipe for records included unseasonably nice weather, an outstanding grandstand lineup, competition from livestock to quilts, new daytime programming, more than 50 new foods, and a parade of presidential hopefuls, she said.

Attendance bested records of 1,130,260 set in 2018 and 1,117,398 set in 2015. The fair consistently has attracted more than 1 million visitors since 2002.

With the exception of Aug. 9, each day’s attendance this year was greater than the same day in 2018.

Three one-day records were set this year: Aug, 13, 14 and 16. The 122,111 attendance Aug. 10 was the second-highest attendance on a Saturday, surpassed only by 127,277 in 1991.

A breakdown of daily attendance:

• Thursday, Aug. 8 — 84,928

• Friday, Aug. 9 — 103,096

• Saturday, Aug. 10 — 122,111

• Sunday, Aug. 11 — 108,283

• Monday, Aug. 12 — 97,682

• Tuesday, Aug. 13 — 102,953

• Wednesday, Aug. 14 — 109,323

• Thursday, Aug. 15 — 104,247

• Friday, Aug 16 — 112,891

• Saturday, Aug. 17 — 119,276

• Sunday, Aug 18 — 105,585

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.

Give us feedback

We value your trust and work hard to provide fair, accurate coverage. If you have found an error or omission in our reporting, tell us here.

Or if you have a story idea we should look into? Tell us here.