Fair Dates

Fair Dates

The Fair is an 11-day adventure held every August.

Many people have inquired about how the Fair dates are set. Historically, the Fair always ended on the Sunday one week before Labor Day and the earliest Fair dates were August 13-23. In 1994, the Iowa State Fair Board, in an effort to avoid earlier school start dates, moved the dates of the Fair up one week. The Fair now ends on the Sunday two weeks prior to Labor Day. Based on calendar shifts, the earliest Fair is August 7-17 and the latest is August 13-23.

Upcoming Fair Dates

YearFair Dates
2014August 7-17
2015August 13-23
2016August 11-21
2017August 10-20
2018August 9-19
2019August 8-18
2020August 13-23

While the Fair Board thought they had solved the problem, the first day of school for many Iowa districts continues to get earlier, despite a state law requiring that classes may begin no earlier than a day during the calendar week in which September 1 falls unless September 1 is a Sunday. In that case, classes may begin any day during the week before September 1. School districts avoid this law by simply submitting a waiver request to the Iowa Department of Education.

Early school start dates also hurt Iowa’s more than $6 billion dollar tourism industry. Hotels, restaurants, attractions and other recreational events throughout Iowa also feel the sting of schools starting early as families adjust their travel plans for school schedules. You may wish to contact your local legislator as well as your school board and superintendent of schools to voice your concerns about how early school start dates negatively affect our communities. For assistance with letters to the editor or contacting your legislator, visit the Travel Federation of Iowa's helpful and easy to use website.

The Iowa State Fair Board and staff are concerned about the Fair’s dates but are not able to change them without encroaching on county fairs. In addition, many exhibits like agricultural and horticultural crops, livestock, 4-H and FFA projects are simply not ready to be exhibited at the end of July.

The Iowa State Fair appreciates your ongoing support and looks forward to seeing you August 7-17.

Fair Dates 1854 to Present

Fair Dates

Fair Dates 2000-Present

Year Fair Dates Fair Theme
2000 August 10 to August 20 Zero In, August 10-20, 2000
2001 August 9 to August 19 It's a Winner!
2002 August 8 to August 18 The Big One
2003 August 7 to August 17 One in a Million
2004 August 12 to August 22 Still the One
2005 August 11 to August 21 America's Favorite Fair...and it's right in your own backyard
2006 August 10 to August 20 Only at the Fair
2007 August 9 to August 19 Sounds Like Fun
2008 August 7 to August 17 U Gotta Love It
2009 August 13 to August 23 State Fair Time
2010 August 12 to August 22 Non Stop Fun
2011 August 11 to August 21 Nothing Compares, 100 Years of the
Butter Cow
2012 August 9 to August 19 Nothing Compares, It's Fairlicious
2013 August 8 to August 18 Nothing Compares, Happiness Is

Fair Dates 1975-1999

Year Fair Dates Fair Theme
1975 August 15 to August 24 The Colonizers
1976 August 18 to August 29 Spirit of Iowa '76
1977 August 18 to August 28 New Horizons
1978 August 17 to August 27 Take a Closer Look
1979 August 16 to August 26 Get In Touch With Iowa
1980 August 14 to August 24 Celebrate, Iowa
1981 August 13 to August 23 So Much More To Go For
1982 August 12 to August 22 So Much More To Go For
1983 August 10 to August 20 So Much More To Go For
1984 August 15 to August 25 Just See Us Now
1985 August 15 to August 25 Augustfest!
1986 August 14 to August 24 Come Home to the Iowa State Fair
1987 August 20 to August 30 Celebrate an American Classic
1988 August 18 to August 28 An Old-Fashioned Good Time
1989 August 17 to August 27 An Old-Fashioned Good Time
1990 August 15 to August 26 Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Fun Fest
1991 August 14 to August 25 Iowa’s Blue Ribbon Fun Fest
1992 August 20 to August 30 The Only Fun of Its Kind
1993 August 19 to August 29 The Only Fun of Its Kind
1994 August 11 to August 21 The Only Fun of Its Kind
1995 August 10 to August 20 The Fun and Only
1996 August 8 to August 18 Let Yourself Go
1997 August 7 to August 17 Go for It
1998 August 13 to August 23 Way Too Much Fun
1999 August 12 to August 22 Knock Yourself Out

Fair Dates 1950-1974

Year Fair Dates Fair Theme
1950 August 25 to September 1
1951 August 25 to September 3
1952 August 23 to September 1
1953 August 29 to September 7
1954 August 28 to September 6
1955 August 27 to September 5
1956 August 24 to September 2
1957 August 23 to September 1
1958 August 22 to August 31
1959 August 28 to September 6
1960 August 26 to September 4
1961 August 25 to September 3
1962 August 17 to August 26
1963 August 16 to August 25
1964 August 21 to August 30
1965 August 20 to August 29 Our Indian Heritage
1966 August 19 to August 28 Our Explorer Heritage
1967 August 18 to August 27 Our Pioneer Heritage
1968 August 16 to August 26 Our Gay 90s Heritage
1969 August 15 to August 24 Our Roaring 20s Heritage
1970 August 21 to August 30 Discover Iowa
1971 August 20 to August 29 Discover Mexico
1972 August 18 to August 28 Discover Canada
1973 August 17 to August 27 Discover Hawaii
1974 August 16 to August 26 The Discoverers

Fair Dates 1925-1949

Year Fair Dates
1925 August 26 to September 4
1926 August 25 to September 3
1927 August 24 to September 2
1928 August 22 to August 31
1929 August 21 to August 30
1930 August 20 to August 29
1931 August 26 to September 4
1932 August 24 to September 2
1933 August 23 to September 1
1934 August 22 to August 31
1935 August 21 to August 30
1936 August 26 to September 4
1937 August 25 to September 3
1938 August 24 to September 2
1939 August 23 to September 1
1940 August 21 to August 30
1941 August 20 to August 29
1942 No Fair (World War II)
1943 No Fair (World War II)
1944 No Fair (World War II)
1945 No Fair (World War II)
1946 August 21 to August 30
1947 August 22 to August 29
1948 August 25 to September 3
1949 August 24 to September 2

Fair Dates 1900-1924

Year Fair Dates
1900 August 24 to September 1
1901 August 23 to August 31
1902 August 22 to August 30
1903 August 21 to August 29
1904 August 19 to August 28
1905 August 25 to September 1
1906 August 24 to August 31
1907 August 23 to August 30
1908 August 20 to August 28
1909 August 27 to September 3
1910 August 25 to September 2
1911 August 24 to September 1
1912 August 22 to August 30
1913 August 20 to August 28
1914 August 26 to September 4
1915 August 25 to September 3
1916 August 23 to September 1
1917 August 22 to August 31
1918 August 21 to August 30
1919 August 20 to August 29
1920 August 25 to September 3
1921 August 24 to September 2
1922 August 23 to September 1
1923 August 22 to August 31
1924 August 20 to August 29

Fair Dates 1875-1899

Year Fair Dates
1875 September 27 to October 1 (opening ceremony is on September 28)
1876 September 11 to September 16 (extended one day because of rain)
1877 September 17 to September 21
1878 September 16 to September 20
1879 September 1 to September 5
1880 September 6 to September 10
1881 September 5 to September 9
1882 September 1 to September 8
1883 August 31 to September 7
1884 August 29 to September 5
1885 September 4 to September 11
1886 September 3 to September 11 (extended one day because of rain)
1887 September 2 to September 7
1888 August 31 to September 7
1889 August 30 to September 6
1890 August 29 to September 5
1891 August 28 to September 4
1892 August 26 to September 2
1893 September 1 to September 8
1894 August 31 to September 7
1895 September 6 to September 13
1896 September 4 to September 11
1897 September 11 to September 18
1898 No Fair (World's Fair held in Omaha, NE, Trans-Mississippi Exposition and Spanish American War)
1899 August 25 to September 2

Fair Dates 1854-1874

Year Fair Dates
1854 October 25 to October 27
1855 October 10 to October 12
1856 October 8 to October 10
1857 October 6 to October 9
1858 September 28 to October 1
1859 September 27 to September 29
1860 October 2 to October 5
1861 September 24 to September 27
1862 September 30 to October 4 (extended one day because of rain)
1863 September 15 to September 18
1864 September 27 to September 30
1865 September 26 to September 29
1866 September 18 to September 22 (Tuesday was rainy - opening ceremonies postponed until Fair extended one day)
1867 October 1 to October 4
1868 September 29 to October 3 (Fair extended one day because of rain)
1869 September 14 to September 17
1870 September 13 to September 16
1871 September 11 to September 15
1872 September 9 to September 13
1873 September 8 to September 11
1874 September 22 to September 25