Less than a month away, the Iowa State Fair is right around the corner. It's never too early to buy a ticket, especially for those interested in saving nearly 30% on fair events. The State Fair Ticket Office is now open, and advance admission tickets, Fair Play Packs, Midway Mega Passes and more are available now through August 7.
Fair tickets can be purchased fee-free at the Ticket Office in the Fairgrounds' Administration Building. The Ticket Office also offers advance admission tickets, punch cards, Grandstand tickets, Midway Mega Passes, Fair Play Packs, Zipline passes and food tickets. The office is open from 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to Noon on Saturdays for walk-up orders only. All items are available while supplies last.
These items can also be purchased online at iowastatefair.org and printed at home without fee. Or, attendees can have online orders mailed directly with a 5% processing fee. Online orders placed after 4 p.m. on July 26 will not be mailed but will be held at will call. Visit the State Fair website for details.
There are still plenty of seats available for this year's Grandstand shows. This year's line-up includes performances from top country artists Toby Keith, Gary Allan and Alan Jackson as well as Grammy award-winning rock band Train. Former Saturday Night Live comedians Dana Carvey, Dennis Miller and Kevin Nealon will offer their own unique flavor of comedy in a stand-up routine, and pop sensations Carly Rae Jepsen and The Wanted will perform their own multi-platinum hits.
Of course, the Grandstand will also hold State Fair classics like the Grand Outlaw National Tractor and Truck Pull, and the Demolition Derby and Figure Eight. Visit the State Fair website for a complete line-up of events and performances.
Grandstand tickets are on sale now through all Ticketmaster outlets, online from the Ticketmaster website or by phone at 800-745-3000. All concert events are reserved seating and track events are general admission. Convenience charges apply to all tickets.
Package meals on Opening Day
The Iowa State Fair has held food drives before, but this year marks the first time Fair is holding a meal-packaging event on Opening Day to help fight life-threatening hunger around the world. Volunteers can help by giving an hour of their time at the event or making a monetary donation for supplies for these meals. "It's kind of a twist on our usual food drive," notes Iowa State Fair marketing director Lori Chappell. "Some of those meals stay local, but they also go across the country as well as around the world."
The event, in partnership with Meals from the Heartland, the Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Food and Family Project and GROWMARK, is part of the International Association of Fairs and Expositions' "Dream Big" food drive by fairs and festivals throughout the world. The overall goal of the initiative is to raise 20 million pounds of food, enough to meet daily food needs of nearly six million people. "Our goal at the Iowa State Fair is to package 250,000 meals," Chappell says. "We're hoping with the help of our fairgoers we'll make that happen and help people around the world."
1,500 volunteers are needed for one-hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. on August 8 in the South Hallway of the Varied Industries Building. So far, around 975 have volunteered. For those interested in volunteering, more information is available here. Monetary donations to help purchase supplies for these meals can be made here. The Fair is also holding a local food drive on August 13. Anyone who donates two or more canned food items will receive a $3 discount on regular gate admission from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
About the initiative
The IAFE has about 1,100 member fairs around the world, ranging in attendance of a few hundred to millions. Any of these fairs can choose to be part of the drive. "The beauty of it is that each fair is raising food for the hungry in their community," says Marla Calico, director of education at IAFE. "Ultimately, the money and the food raised stays in each fair's community."
The initiative was spearheaded by the current chair of IAFE, Marlene Pierson-Jolliffe of West Virginia. "She's been involved in the fair business almost all of her adult life," Calico says. "And she is passionate about the role fairs play in their community."
Many fair employees help out in the community outside of the fair, and fairs also hold food, clothing and book drives. "We knew that many fairs have already been quietly doing these types of things," Calico says. "Fairs are doing good things, so we knew there was already a track record but there was no comprehensive way of measuring that."
So, Pierson-Jolliffe presented the idea to the association's management team, and the initiative was born. Now, data can be collected. "We've got a running tote board," Calico explains. Donations are tallied each time someone goes online and submits totals. "We're just shy of 200,000 pounds at this point in time."
And it's still early in the fair season. Many state fairs have yet to start. "We're excited and we know a lot of fairs are going to be doing some big things," Calico says. "When you get someone who is involved with the fair I'll guarantee you they are doing 100 other things in their community already."
The Fairgrounds Are Also Hosting Events Throughout July:
*July 9-13: American Shetland Pony National Congress
*July 11: Gathering on the Grounds
*July 12: Auto Races
*July 13: Corndog Kickoff Benefit Auction & Fair Food Grazing Party
*July 17-22: Polk County Fair
*July 19: Auto Races
*July 19: Mid-States Horse Show
*July 26: Auto Races
More information is available at the Calendar of Events on the Fairgrounds website. The calendar is updated frequently, so check back often for additional upcoming events as well as any cancellations.
The Fairgrounds has space to accommodate just about any event, large or small. For building rental information, visit iowastatefairgrounds.org or call 515.262.3111 ext. 221