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Iowa State Fair: Dates, tickets, concerts and more
Home to foods on a stick and the world-famous Butter Cow, the Iowa State Fair is back on this year from Aug. 12 to 22.
Much has changed since 2019, the last time the fair was held. With increased security, pandemic concerns and must-see attractions, here is need-to-know information before heading to Des Moines.
Masks are not required for fairgoers, but of course people can wear them. There are no crowd capacity limits in buildings, concert venues nor other locations at the fair. Social distancing is encouraged when possible and newly implemented hand washing and sanitizing stations are available.
At each of the nine fair entrances, stationary metal detectors will replace handheld detectors used in the past to prevent dangerous and prohibited items from entering.
Prohibited items include: drones, skateboards, illegal substances (including marijuana), firearms, ammunition, stun guns, fireworks, bicycles and pets aside from service animals.
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Ticket prices and admission
Advance tickets can be purchased online at iowastatefair.org or at the Iowa State Fair ticket booth through Aug. 11. The ticket booth is open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. weekdays and 9 a.m.-noon Saturdays for walk-up purchases. Tickets also may be purchased at Iowa Hy-Vee stores, Hy-Vee Drugstores and Dollar Fresh stores, Iowa Fareway stores and participating Des Moines metro area Cash Saver and Price Chopper stores.
Advance tickets are $9 for ages 12 and older and $5 for children ages 6-11. Fairgoers ages 5 and under are free.
After Aug. 11, ticket prices increase to $14 for age 12 and older and $8 for children ages 6-11. But they remain free for those 5 and under.
Admission is not included with grandstand event tickets or other state fair event tickets. Admission tickets for the canceled 2020 fair will be honored at the 2021 fair.
Attractions and events
Sculpted with 600 pounds of butter and stored in a 40-degree cooler in the Agriculture Building, the Butter Cow is a constant attraction each year.
This year, the Jersey breed dairy cow will be accompanied by a butter sculpture of the Iowa State Fair Giant Slide, celebrating its 50th anniversary this year.
The Giant Slide was installed in 1971 and attendees of all ages climb 71 steps to slide for 5 seconds down five bumps to the bottom.
The Giant Slide butter sculpture will include fairgoers on mats, sliding down as spectators watch. Fair employees said they were not sure how large the sculpture will be.
Tickets from rescheduled concerts from 2020 are being honored, while refunds are in the process of being issued for those concerts that were not able to be postponed or rescheduled.
Social distancing is scarce, as all seats in both the pit and bleacher seating are open and available. Masks are not required in the outdoor venue.
Concerts occur each night of the fair and include Casting Crowns, the Beach Boys, Dan + Shay, Chris Stapleton, Blake Shelton, Sam Hunt, Boyz II Men, Cole Swindell and Dustin Lynch, Styx, Five Finger Death Punch and the Doobie Brothers.
Concert tickets can be purchased from the fair online or at the ticket booth.
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