Aug 12, 2022 - Things to Do

Iowa State Fair: The actual tips and tricks you need

Kid playing game at the Iowa State Fair
A visitors plays a carnival game at the Iowa State Fair on August 19, 2021. Photo by Scott Olson/Getty Images

Ah, the Iowa State Fair. Our state's biggest event of the year.

  • So influential, we plan our school start dates around it. So notorious, squirting butter grease once graced the New York Times.

Whether you're a fair veteran or new to the event, it's an experience that takes a little planning and preparation to make it a more enjoyable time.

Here are some tips from other Axios Des Moines readers on how to make the most out of your visit:

  • "If your enthusiasm for the fair is greater than your stamina, rent a scooter.  Great way to see the fair." — Pat Edington
  • "Bring a cooling towel, hat and sunscreen! Also, bring more money than you think you'll need, so you don't rack up ATM fees!" — Christine Urish 
  • "Use the free parking and shuttle to the fairgrounds" — Jacqueline Thompson (It's just $2 to ride.)
  • "I enjoy going early in the morning to the Iowa State Fair, parking is easier to find and the weather is cooler." — Judith Jennings (Gates open at 8am.)
  • "The best exhibit is humanity. Take time to people-watch!" — Kathy Byrnes

🎯 Linh's tip: The secret to skee-ball at the Midway is banking your shots on the side.

  • Every other game is rigged, but you can learn the tricks here.

😋 Jason's tip: Share your food.

  • Most items are enough for a full meal. You’ll get to try more if you give more.
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