There’s no better place to be a kid than the Iowa State Fair!

Whether it’s jumping into a hands-on Blue Ribbon Kids activity, pretending to be a farmer at Little Hands on the Farm or whirling on a midway ride, the Fair has enough kid-friendly activities to keep families busy all 11 days!

Interactive learning at Little Hands on the Farm

Blue Ribbon Kids Club

Blue Ribbon Kids, the Fair's special club for ages 10 and under, allows children to experience the Fair from a unique perspective. Blue Ribbon Kids members will get a rare glimpse at the heart of the Iowa State Fair and become part of the action during special kids' club activities. Blue Ribbon Kids' Club members not only get a hands-on Fair experience but will receive a birthday card and a quarterly newsletter after signing up.
Any questions please contact ewynn@iowastatefair.org.

2017 Kids’ Club weekday Events!

Weekday events are held at the Fun Forest Stage sponsored by Community Choice Credit Union

Blue Ribbon Kids Membership Form

Thursday, August 10 – Make and Take T-shirt Day at Kids’ Club - 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – Kids’ Club members will have the chance to color their very own Blue Ribbon Kids Club T-shirt.  T-shirts will range from youth small to adult X-large and will be on a first come first serve basis.  A new design for 2017 is being created!        

Friday, August 11 – Rabbit Hopping and Cavy Courses Demo at Kids’ Club - 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. - Have you ever jumped over a hurdle?  Have you ever seen a rabbit jump over a hurdle?  Well here is your chance!  Come learn about rabbit hopping and cavy courses from the people who know it best, our friends at Iowa Hopping.           

Monday, August 14 – Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation at Kids’ Club - 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – Come join our friends from the Iowa State Fair Blue Ribbon Foundation and learn how the foundation has restored the Fairgrounds over the last 25 years!  There will be story time along with a scavenger hunt!    

Tuesday, August 15 – Story Time with Dan Wardell - 10 a.m. – Meet and greet with IPTV host Dan Wordell from the IPTV Clubhouse!  It is sure to be an amazing time!               

Tuesday, August 15 – The Many Hats of an Iowa Farmer - 5 p.m. – Our friends from the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation will be on hand to teach us about the many hats of an Iowa farmer!  Get ready for this interactive activity all aimed at learning about the Iowa farmer!

Wednesday, August 16 – The Wonderful World of Eggs with the Iowa Egg Council - 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. – Did you know that Iowa is the number ONE egg laying state in the United States?  Make sure to mark your calendars for Wednesday, August 16 to come and learn all about the poultry industry in Iowa and the incredible, edible EGG!  What a fun day it will be!          

Thursday, August 17 – Hy-Vee KidsFit at Kids’ Club - 10 a.m. - Get ready to get moving with our friends from Hy-Vee as we learn about food and fitness!  Get ready to get challenged!                

Thursday, August 17 – “My Family’s Corn Farm” - 5 p.m. – Our friends from the Iowa Ag Literacy Foundation will be on hand to tell us all about their new children’s story book on corn farming in Iowa!  You will meet Presley, a farm girl in Iowa who raises corn, soybeans and hogs with her family.  Presley will be on-hand to read her story and sign your very own copy! 

Friday, August 18 - Kids’ Club Gives Back to the Des Moines Police Department - 10 a.m. and 5 p.m. - Come help give back to the Des Moines Police Department as we will have officers on hand to receive the coffee cups the kids will decorate in appreciation of our friends in Blue!     

Blue Ribbon Kids’ Weekend Events!

These exclusive events are only for Kids’ Club members who were on the membership roster by May 1, 2017.  The RSVP is in the April edition of the Kids Club Newsletter.  There are only 30 spots available per event.  Do not delay as these exclusive events will fill up fast!

Saturday, August 12 – Breakfast with the Butter Cow and FarmHer- Start you day with the world famous Butter Cow! Here is a once in a lifetime chance to meet our butter sculptress Sarah Pratt and enjoy a tour of the butter cow lead by Sarah along with a light breakfast.  An added perk will be to meet some Iowa Farmers and learn about this organization that is shining a light on women in agriculture!

Meet at 8 a.m. at the John Deere Agriculture Building - North Entrance

Sunday, August 13 - Farms and Friends Dinner Party - Have you ever wondered where your food comes from?  Have you ever met the farmer that raised your pork chop, your sweet corn or the ice cream we all enjoy?  This dinner party is the time to meet these hard working family farmers that are growing and raising the food you eat and buy at the store each day.  There will be a fully prepared meal of Iowa products and you will eat with the farmers who grew the products!  You will also see a glimpse inside each of their Iowa farms!  This meal will serve Iowa grown pork, sweet corn and ice cream!

Meet at 5 p.m. at the Gammon Barn - White Barn North of the Cattle Barn

Saturday, August 19 - Farms and Friends Dinner Party - Have you ever wondered where your food comes from?  Have you ever met the farmer that raised the hamburger you had for lunch or the sweet corn you had for dinner or your dessert of ice cream?  This dinner party is the time to meet these hard working family farmers that are growing and raising the food you eat and buy at the store each day.  There will be a fully prepared meal of Iowa products and you will eat with the farmers who grew the products!  You will also see a glimpse inside each of their Iowa farms!  This meal will serve Iowa grown beef, sweet corn and ice cream!

Meet at 5 p.m. at the Gammon Barn - White Barn North of the Cattle Barn

Sunday, August 20 – Rise and Shine at the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center –  Here is your chance to see the baby animals and learn from the Animal Learning Center Veterinarian prior to the opening of the building to the general public.  There will be a light breakfast served.  Start the last day of the 2017 Iowa State Fair at the Animal Learning Center!

Meet at 8 a.m. at the west doors of the Animal Learning Center

Team ISF

Team ISF is open to all youth, ages 11-14, who are interested in becoming more actively involved in the inner workings of the Iowa State Fair. Team members will not only have the opportunity to attend behind-the-scenes tours during the Fair but they will also have the option of assisting with the various programs and departments that make the Iowa State Fair one of the most acclaimed Fairs in the nation.

To join, simply fill out the membership form and return to Team ISF, Iowa State Fair, PO Box 57130, Des Moines, IA 50317-0003. A parent or legal guardian must fill out the bottom of the form. Once the form is returned a membership packet will be mailed to you. Remember, membership is completely FREE!

Team ISF Membership Form

Vet Camp

One of the most popular programs at the Fair, Vet Camp is an educational, exciting, hands-on learning program aimed at encouraging 4th - 7th graders to learn about animal health, welfare and what it is like to be an animal doctor. The two-hour program focuses on both large and small animal veterinary medicine. Vet Camp is FREE with paid Fair admission. Only 30 spots are available per session and sessions will be assigned according to date received.

Vet Camp Registration Form
Vet Camp Brochure 

Contact Emily Wynn at ewynn@iowastatefair.org or 515/401-1544 with questions. 

Advanced Vet Camp

Advanced Vet Camp is for 8th - 12th grade who have an interest in Veterinary Medicine.  This two-hour program will focus on both large and small animal veterinary medicine along with information on attending Vet School.  Advanced Vet Camp is FREE with paid Fair admission.  Only 30 spots are available per session and sessions will be assigned according to date received.

Advanced Vet Camp Registration Form
Vet Camp Brochure

Contact Emily Wynn at ewynn@iowastatefair.org or 515/401-1544 with questions.

Little Hands on the Farm

Located in Kids Zone, Little Hands on the Farm teaches children the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun and interactive way. Children ages 2 to 10 become farmers at this free, hands-on exhibit. Children obtain a gathering basket and proceed along a path that includes a garden, grain bin, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, sheep barn and dairy barn. After gathering particular items along the way they get the chance to sell these items at the Little Hands on the Farm Farmers’ Market for a Little Hands dollar to spend at the Grocery Store for such items as a piece of fruit, a granola bar or an ice cream sandwich. The last tour leaves the Start Barn at 7:30 p.m.

Little Hands on the Farm Map

Volunteering at Little Hands on the Farm

We're looking for volunteers to help out with this year's Fair. To volunteer, contact Emily Wynn at ewynn@iowastatefair.org or call 515/262-3111 x244.

Petting Zoo

Hedrick’s Educational Petting Zoo provides an educational and entertaining display of the widest variety of exotic animals. From camels, zebras, alpacas, and more, children and adults alike will love the up-close experience with some of the world’s most fascinating animals.

Formerly located north of Gate 11 will now be located in Kids Zone.

coloring contest results

Entrants from across the Midwest competed for ribbons in the Coloring Contest judged prior to the start of the 2017 Iowa State Fair.  All entries are on display in the Animal Learning Center throughout the Fair.

Complete results below:

3-4 Years Old

1) Miley Koehler, Glenwood, IA

2) Brooklyn Walz, North Liberty, IA

3) Evelyn Ricker, Spirit Lake, IA

5-6 Years Old

1) Patrick Nolte, Iowa City, IA

2) Mae Loecke, Ames, IA

3) Sripoorva Prasanna, Bettendorf, IA

7-8 Years Old

1) Preston Martin, Springville, IA

2) Braylon Bingham, Melcher-Dallas, IA

3) Clay Smith, Fort Madison, IA

9-10 Years Old

1) Rachel Dieleman, Sioux Falls, SD

2) Summer Field, Lakeville, MN  

3) Ashlyn Derr, Clive, IA

Anything Goes

1) Summer Field, Lakeville, MN

2) Anna Vandell, Deland, FL

3) Ally Riester, Manilla, IA

Intellectual Disabilities

1) Erika Ellenboga, Des Moines, IA

2) Kimberly Kalenske, Fairbank, IA

3) Abbi Allison, Des Moines, IA