DES MOINES — Nothing Compares to State Fair Favorites in 2019. From the food, to the games, to the competitions, your Fair Favorites are what make your experiences at the Iowa State Fair memorable. With over 1 million attendees and 11 fun-filled, action-packed, can't miss days, there are billions of Fair Favorites waiting for you at the Iowa State Fair, Aug. 8-18, 2019.
Check out the top 11 new things you can't miss this year:
1. Fair After Dark: Crafts and Crafts, Hungry Games - Go behind the scenes with your favorite Fair foods and crafts. Fair After Dark, 21 and over VIP events, is in its second year but with a totally different twist. Bring your appetite to the Hungry Games in the Elwell Family Food Center with "Chopped" Fair style, ugliest cake competitions and boozy samples galore. Get crafty in the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center with wood crafts, origami, fire art and a photography hunt along with craft beers. Fairgoers must be 21 and over to attend. Hungry Games in the Elwell Family Food Center, Aug 10 at 9:30-11:30 p.m.; Crafts and Crafts in the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center, Aug 15 at 9:30-11:30 p.m. (ticketed event; purchase tickets at iowastatefair.org)
2. Trio of Livestock - Find a new Fair Favorite livestock show. Friesian Horses, Hereford Pigs and American Blue Cattle are all new shows at the 2019 Iowa State Fair. Find show times on the Iowa State Fair's website, official Iowa State Fair app and the Daily Program, published later in July. To honor Iowa's beef, lamb and pork producers, a trio of cast bronze statues will be added to Pella Plaza. "The Trio – Off to the Show" is a life-size lamb and hog ready to show in 2019 with a steer to follow in 2020.
3. Quilt Block Book: New Quilt Block Book in Fabric and Threads - Since 2010, a quilt block design representing each of Iowa's counties could be found decorating the exterior of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center. Now, Iowa quilters have a chance to create and compete with the Iowa State Fair quilt block designs. To review the squares, visit Fabric and Threads on the second floor of the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building during the Fair.
4. Bacon Buddies/Shining Stars: Special Programming Showcasing the Fair is for Everyone - The Iowa State Fair is full of talent, from livestock shows to talent shows, and this year, you can support Iowa residents with special needs as they show swine in the Bacon Buddies swine show or perform in the Shining Stars Show. Everyone has a chance to show their talents at the Iowa State Fair. Bacon Buddies in the Swine Barn, Aug 10 at 7 p.m.; Shining Stars Show on the Anne and Bill Riley Stage, Aug 17 at 4:30 p.m.
5. Butter Sesame Street: 50th Anniversary of Sesame Street and Highlights Fair's IPTV Connection - The Iowa State Fair has a rich, long-lasting tradition with Iowa Public Television and we could not think of a "butter" way to celebrate the 50th anniversaries of both IPTV and their long-time program, "Sesame Street." See your favorite Sesame Street characters sculpted in butter, along with the Iowa State Fair butter cow in the John Deere Agriculture Building during the Fair.
6. 90th Anniversary of Baby Mine: Cement Sculptures - Ninety years ago, 15,000 Iowa children helped purchase a 4 foot, 1,160 pound baby elephant for the Fair by sending in nearly $1,000 in nickels and dimes. Baby Mine debuted at the 1929 Fair where 25,000 children showed up the first day of the Fair to greet him. You can find tributes to Baby Mine in the form of concrete elephant sculptures, located in Kids' Zone east of Little Hands on the Farm at the 2019 Fair. A life-size statue of Baby Mine can also be found in Hy-Vee Fun Forest.
7. New Foods and the Food Passport: New Foods are Always Popular and the Food Passport will be a New Way to Eat Your Way through the Fair - Is your Fair Favorite trying new foods? In 2019, there will be plenty of new foods to try. The top foods will be announced on July 16, 2019, during the live food experience. Watch it on Facebook and Instagram from 1-3 p.m. Then, prepare to bring your sense of adventure to the Iowa State Fair with a New Food Passport sponsored by Metro by T-Mobile, found at information booths, for a chance to eat your way through the Iowa State Fair to win prizes.
8. Maddie Poppe and Free Entertainment: Free Entertainment and Local Talent - Always a Fair Favorite, free entertainment is full of music, laughs and more. From local talent to American Idol's Maddie Poppe to classic rock acts such as Steven Adler of Guns N' Roses, country/folk artists Flatland Calvary and Fair Favorites, the Nadas and Vocal Trash, you can find it all at the MidAmerican Energy Stage, Anne and Bill Riley Stage or the Susan Knapp Amphitheater. See the full lineup at iowastatefair.org.
9. Ag Education-Have You Herd?: Dairy Tours, Goat Yoga - Have You Herd? There is a lot to learn about agriculture at the Iowa State Fair. Find time to attend a dairy tour, hear 4-H and FFA exhibitors give live animal demonstrations or get face-to-face with a goat at Goat Yoga. Have You Herd? is located in a tent outside of the east end of the Sheep Barn, Aug 8-17 at 11 a.m., 1 p.m. and 3 p.m.; Experience Dairy. Guided Tours in the North Annex of the John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn, Aug 11 at 3:30 and 4:30 p.m., Aug 12-17 at 9:30 a.m., 12:30 p.m., 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m., Aug 15 at 3:30 p.m. and 4:30 p.m. only; Goat Yoga in the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center, Aug 12 at 2 p.m., Aug 14 at 6 p.m. and Aug 17 at 10 a.m. (ticketed event; purchase tickets at iowastatefair.org for Goat Yoga)
10. Daytime Entertainment: Sea Lions, Mutton Bustin', Alligators, Bandaloni Back This Year - Sea lions, sheep and alligators, oh my. There's great entertainment at night, but it's the daytime entertainment that'll get your attention this year. With kid-friendly options such as the amazing Sea Lion Splash sponsored by Mountain Valley Spring Water and fast-paced Wool Riders Only Mutton Bustin' just west of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, to wide-eyed shows in Kids' Zone, where Kachunga will take on a ferocious, man-eating alligator and you can find a Nintendo Switch Road Trip Aug 8-11, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m., there's a Fair Favorite entertainment option for everyone.
11. Savings: Admission Tickets, Wristbands, Family Fun Packs - So many Fair Favorites are included in your Iowa State Fair Admission Ticket. Save even more by purchasing discounted Advanced Admission Tickets sponsored by Taco John's before August 8 online, at the Iowa State Fair Ticket Office or at participating Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drug, Fareway, Price Chopper and Cash Saver Stores. Make sure to enjoy extra savings by purchasing your Family Fun Pack and Thrill Parks Wristbands before the Fair too.
Visit iowastatefair.org for details.