Can you smell the corn dogs? The gates will open on the 2014 Iowa State Fair in Des Moines later this morning. State Fair manager Gary Slater says a number of improvements have been made on the fairgrounds in the past year which should help to boost attendance. “The Cultural Center where the 75th anniversary of the photography exhibit is this year, as well as the fine arts, creative arts, woodcarving, doll house categories are housed in that building, completely renovated with new restrooms, new lighting, new electric and air conditioning.”

Attendance first reached one-million in 2002 and it’s passed the million mark ten more times since then. Slater says tickets to several grandstand acts have been selling well, especially to country music lovers. “The best-selling show is Florida-Georgia Line and they sold out the same day we put them on sale but we will have a thousand standing room only (tickets) that go on sale the day of show,” Slater says. “Lady Antebellum is almost sold out but again, we will have standing room onlys available the day of show.”

Slater says tickets are also selling very well for country artist Jake Owen and the 1970s-80s rockers Foreigner and Styx. Among the many building renovations, Slater says the fair has modernized the 4-H and FFA dormitory. He says the fair’s participation from those ag-related groups continues growing every year. He says, “That, of course, is mainly in the market animal divisions and horse divisions, maybe not so much do we have 4Hers and FFAers that have cow herds or a lot of animals but they do have those small projects.”

Slater advises fair goers to get there early and to make a plan, as the fairgrounds cover some 445 acres of land. The Iowa State Fair runs through August 17.


By Jerry Oster, WNAX, Yankton