The Numbers are in and it was a Record Breaking Year at the Iowa State Fair
Monday, August 20, 2018 Des Moines, IA
Numerous records broken in the Fair’s 11-day run
From attendance to parking, livestock and woodcarvings, to renovations to the Thrill Parks and Grandstand, it has truly been a record breaking year at the Iowa State Fair.
The Iowa State Fair is rooted in tradition, so breaking a record in the Fair’s 164 year history is nothing short of amazing. The estimated attendance through Friday was lagging behind the 2017 numbers just slightly, but nice weather over the weekend boosted the attendance just enough to reach an estimated 1,130,260, just 189 people over the 1,130,071 attendance record set in 2017.
The increase in attendance makes sense when you consider that a record 15,775 people attended the Thomas Rhett concert on Wednesday, August 15,2018. The Thomas Rhett concert along with Reba’s crowd of 14,102 and a closing night crowd of 11,817 for Florida Georgia Line pushed the total Grandstand attendance to a new record of 89,558 over the 11-day concert series. In 2017, the highest concert attendance was Pentatonix at 10,643, which was considered a sell out before Grandstand renovations this year opened up 4,000 additional seats.
A lot of the concert goers traveled to the Fair by car with a record 75,554 cars parked on the Fairgrounds. With the addition of parking along the northeast side of the Fairgrounds last year and a tram service, the previous record was 71,226.
Last year, the ride areas were renovated and in 2018, a record number of credits redeemed in one day, a testament to the Fair’s investment in cleaner, safer, and more family friendly rides and games. The digital wristband program was a considerable upgrade for kids and families too.
The wood carver’s auction and the Sale of Champions are events that benefit programs supported by the Fair. The Woodcarver’s Auction supports the Blue Ribbon Foundation who raises funds for building improvements and renovations on the Fairgrounds. The auction raised a record $56,500 this year. The Sale of Champions supports student scholarships and shattered records in 2018. The Reserve Grand Champion 4-H Market Steer sold for a record $60,000 while the Grand Champion 4-H Meat Goat sold for a record $21,000. The 4-H Market Hog was not only a new record for hogs at $61,000, but it was an all-time record for all animals sold in the Sale of Champions ever. Total, the Sale of Champions raised a record $381,500 to support student scholarships.
And, the numbers are still coming in. With less than 24 hours since the 2018 Iowa State Fair closed, we are still gathering the numbers on many of our activities, contests, and events. We can’t wait to see what other records we may have set in 2018!
About Iowa State Fair
Frequently ranked as one of the top events in the country, the Iowa State Fair is the single largest event in the state of Iowa and one of the oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions in the country. Annually attracting more than a million people from all over the world, the Iowa State Fair, located at East 30th and East University, just 10 minutes from downtown Des Moines, is Iowa’s greatest celebration with a salute to the best in agriculture, industry, entertainment and achievement. Nothing Compares to State Fair Favorites, August 8-18, 2019. For more information, visit www.iowastatefair.org.