Disability Assistance

The Iowa State Fair, America’s classic state fair, welcomes everyone to its celebration of pride and achievement held annually in August.

The Fair Board is committed to making the Fair’s 450-acre, 127-year-old facility accessible to all. No qualified individual shall, on the basis of disability, be excluded from participating in or be denied the benefits of public services, programs or activities held on the Fairgrounds.

Suggestions for improvements and additional services are always welcomed by the Fair Board, which will continue efforts to make the Fairgrounds accessible to everyone.

Renovation always complies with federal specifications and guidelines related to accessibility. As maintenance and modernization funds become available, the special needs of all Iowans will be kept foremost in mind.

Following are services that provided convenient assistance and accessibility to Fairgoers at the 2014 Fair. During the Fair, hard copies of the complete Accessibility Guide are available at the Administration Building as well as all information booths. 

Wheelchair & Scooter Rentals

HomeTown Mobility is now accepting reservations online at www.hometownmobilityia.com and by phone at 877/928-5388 from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday and on weekends during the Fair (August 7-17). A limited number of wheelchairs and scooters will be available for walk-up customers during the Fair on a first come, first serve basis. Reservations will be accepted for full day scooter and wheelchair rentals only. Reservations must be made 24 hours in advance. A security deposit of a driver’s license is required at the time of pick-up for all rentals. Cancellations must be made at least 48 hours in advance to receive a full refund (less a $5 cancellation fee per unit). Rental locations are at Gates 11 & 15 and on the southeast corner of the Swine Barn. (Click here for a map of the Fairgrounds.)

Scooters

$55 per full day (8 a.m. to 11 p.m.); $35 per half day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

Wheelchairs

$15 per day

ADA/Disabled Parking

The largest area of parking reserved for visitors with disabilities is in the North Lot. Admission to this lot is through Gate #2 at East 33rd Street and East University Avenue. Vehicles with a DOT parking permit or a license plate designating a disabled driver or passenger will be directed to the reserved parking area north of the Grandstand racetrack. Vehicle parking is $10 on a space-available basis; some hard-packed surface parking is available.

Additional parking for people with disabilities is located on the inner Fairgrounds in Lot B. Vehicles must have DOT parking permits or license plates designating a disabled driver or passenger. Inner grounds parking is $10 on a space-available basis.

Some hard-packed surface parking is available; however, the rolling nature of the terrain means most of the parking area is unpaved. Designated accessible parking spaces on main streets in the inner grounds will not be available during the Fair.

Parking personnel will do their best to direct disabled visitors’ vehicles to the closest, most convenient parking available. As north parking lots fill on high attendance days, the Des Moines Police Department determines when outside gates to the Fairgrounds are opened and closed. When one gate closes, generally, another is opened to assist in keeping traffic congestion on city streets to a minimum.

Assisted Listening Devices

Available for the Cattle Barn Penningroth Media Center, Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, Sheep Barn Sale Ring and Swine Barn Sale Ring when the State Fair sound system is being used. For more information, call 515/262-3111, ext. 522, at least 48 hours in advance.

During the 11 days of the Fair, a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) will be available 24 hours a day for outgoing local/credit calls located outside the Robert G. Horner & Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, west of the Administration Building.

Buildings

Ramps, curb cuts, street-level entrances and observation ramps make most buildings and facilities accessible to those using mobility aids. Accessible seating is available in the Grandstand, Pioneer Livestock Pavilion and Jacobson Center. Donations from Iowans across the state have paid for the replacement of many blocks of sidewalks each year to help eliminate and reduce barriers that impact those with mobility aids.

Dart State Fair Park & Ride Buses

Most DART Park & Ride buses are wheelchair accessible. For further information call DART at 515/283-8100. 

First Aid

Hy-Vee Health and First Aid Center is located east of the John Deere Agriculture Building. A satellite station is located in the Robert G. Horner & Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, west of the Administration Building. Both are staffed by representatives of the Central Iowa Chapter of the American Red Cross.

Grandstand Seating

When ordering Grandstand tickets through Ticketmaster or the State Fair Ticket Office, please request seating for the disabled; room for one person and two companions will be provided in an accessible seating area. For information on Grandstand shows and ticket buying procedures, call 515/262-3111 ext. 305.

On-Grounds Transportation

  • COURTESY CARTS: Golf cart mini-shuttle service (not wheelchair accessible) from north parking lots to inner gates is available. Golf carts are not available for rent for reasons of safety and liability.
  • SHUTTLES: Trams provide convenient transportation on the lower fairgrounds at several locations. Operating daily beginning at 8 a.m., these trams feature a curbside electric/hydraulic lift, making them wheelchair accessible.
  • TRAMS: Inner grounds boarding points: Adjacent to the East Sky Glider aerial tramway on the Grand Concourse; the west end of the Grand Concourse, across from Public Safety; south of Gate 10; north of the 4-H Building; the northeast corner of the Sheep Barn; north of the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion; northwest of the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center; adjacent to Grandfather’s Barn; adjacent to Richard O. Jacobson Hall and Kenyon Gallery; and north of First Church.

Livestock traffic or special events may occasionally shut down portions or all of the shuttle service for short periods of time.

Paging

Representatives of the Iowa State Fair Public Safety Department offer paging for lost children, senior citizens and medical emergencies ONLY from 8 a.m. to Midnight in the Robert G. Horner & Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, located west of the Administration Building. After Midnight this service is available at Iowa State Fair Public Safety headquarters, located at the west end of the Grand Concourse.

Restrooms

Facilities with ramps, widened doorways, handrails and stalls built to accommodate those using mobility aids are available in major buildings across the Fairgrounds. They include the Robert G. Horner & Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, Grandstand, Walnut Center, Patty & Jim Cownie Cultural Center, Elwell Family Food Center, Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, 4-H Exhibits Building, Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center, William C. Knapp Varied Industries Buildings, Stalling Barn, Cattle Barn, Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, plus facilities east of the Susan Knapp Amphitheater, north of Gate 15 and north of Ye Old Mill.

Sign Language Interpreters 

Sign language interpreters will be on hand in Fun Forest to assist visitors with hearing loss. All shows on the Fun Forest Stage will be ASL interpreted. To arrange for a sign language interpreter for a specific event, please call 515/262-3111, ext. 222, at least one week in advance.