Dear Fair Friends,
We knew the decision to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair wouldn’t get easier as the Fair dates approached. It was truly a surreal feeling to see the Fairgrounds so quiet instead of the normal hustle and bustle of the Fair. It definitely pulled at the heart strings when I stopped to think about all of the Fair things that we missed this year, things that we love to see, participate in, and eat!
One of the things that I have missed is the most is working with our partners that help make the Iowa State Fair the very best. We enjoy working with each and every one of them and we miss them this year. Thank you to our upstanding security team working with our Iowa State Fair Police Department from the Des Moines Police Department, Polk County Sheriff’s Office, Des Moines Fire and Rescue and the Iowa State Patrol. We can’t thank you enough for keeping our Fairgoers safe and secure as well as our general public outside of our August Fair dates. Thank you to our friends at DART and the Clearfield Lions, we can’t wait to work with you again in 2021 to safely bring thousands of people back to the Fair. Thank you to our volunteers. Many of you have given countless hours to help put on the Fair year after year and many of you are still helping with the Fair-like events we are doing today. Thank you to our sponsors. Reaching fairgoers with your messages and supporting the Fair are what you do best and we know you can’t wait to see people at the Fair again. To our vendors and concessionaires who have been a part of the Fair family for multiple generations; we know some of you will face some financial challenges without income from the 2020 Fair. We appreciate your willingness to do the smaller events that we can safely and we appreciate your understanding while we prepare for a bigger, better 2021 Iowa State Fair. Lastly, thank you to our exhibitors and competitors. Your spirit, creativity, and competition continue to get better and better each year. Keep working on your projects and perfecting your crafts, I have no doubt that the competition will be top notch in 2021.
Most of all, thank you to our Fair family. You have sent encouraging words, showed up and stood beside us to help support us until we are able to safely gather together again. We miss you and can ‘t wait for August 12, 2021 when we can open the gates to the 2021 Iowa State Fair.
We can’t predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will do, but we have learned that we can make the most of it and continue pushing forward. We have hosted a couple small Fair Food events and small Special Edition livestock events for our 4-H and FFA youth. During the 2020 Fair days, we were happy to see you share your memories, contests, videos, games, and at home activities on social media. Throughout the Fall and coming winter and spring months, we will continue preparing for the 2021 Iowa State Fair and do what we can to sprinkle in some of your Fair favorites along the way.
Our staff, volunteers, entertainers, vendors, and sponsors are working hard on the 2021 Iowa State Fair, August 12-22 and we can’t wait until we can all be together again. Until then, stay safe and healthy.
Gary D. Slater, CEO and Fair Manager
The Iowa State Fair Board voted on 6.10.20 to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair. For answers to some of the frequently asked questions, please see our Fair Updates. If you have a specific question, please email email@example.com or call 515-262-3111 ext 204.
For information about 2020 Fair Special Edition: 4-H and FFA Livestock Show, email firstname.lastname@example.org or 515.262.3111 x207.
Dear Fair Friends,
The Iowa State Fair Board today made the difficult decision to postpone the 2020 Iowa State Fair due to the ongoing coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.
The decision was complex and considered a wide array of factors. The Iowa State Fair’s top priority is protecting the health and safety of Fairgoers, staff, volunteers, exhibitors and entertainers. Amid the pandemic, we couldn’t, in good conscience, put on the Fair when we knew access to emergency safety services at the Fair could be limited, public transportation to and from the Fair would not be possible, the constant sanitization of a seemingly infinite amount of high touch surfaces lacked feasibility and social distancing in lines to get your favorite Fair food or walking the Grand Concourse would be difficult.
While we can’t predict what the COVID-19 pandemic will look like in August, we can make educated decisions based on information and guidance available today from health. Waiting any longer to make a decision would have been more potentially damaging to our great Fair partners and our planning.
Not getting together this August at the Iowa State Fair will be disappointing. Our staff, volunteers, entertainers, vendors and sponsors love to come together to put on 11 fantastic days each summer. We know that the Fair isn’t just an event; it’s a way of life for many, including our friends in agriculture and our young exhibitors.
Thank you for your patience in allowing the Iowa State Fair Board, staff and partners the time we needed to thoroughly review our options for the 2020 Iowa State Fair.
And thank you for your unwavering support. We can’t wait to get together again in 2021.
“Fairwell” for now and stay healthy.
Gary Slater- CEO and Fair Manager
In an effort to give us the best chance at the safest and healthiest possible Iowa State Fair in 2020, we continue to thoughtfully review our plans while carefully navigating the ever-changing COVID-19 landscape. We ask that you continue to be patient as we gather and analyze the many unique experiences that Iowans hold near and dear at the Iowa State Fair. We don’t take this decision lightly and we know that time is of the essence. You can expect the 2020 Iowa State Fair decision to be announced by June 15th.
Dear Fair Friends,
The Iowa State Fair is a celebration of everything Iowan; bringing the best in agriculture and entertainment together each August for the past 165 years. COVID-19 continues to offer us challenges, but it has also shown us unbelievable strength and kindness. We have been humbled by the number of emails, messages, and phone calls with words of encouragement. Please know we have appreciated every word.
Right now, like many of you, we continue to monitor the situation, doing our part to follow guidelines right alongside other Iowa organizations, businesses, and events. We communicate on a regular basis with our counterparts in other states through the International Association of Fairs and Expos and other Iowa tourism destinations as well as our elected officials and our public health department.
Fear of the unknown can be overwhelming at times. The safety and health of our staff, volunteers, and Fairgoers is our top priority. We never want someone to feel unsafe working or attending the Fair. It is because of this that we are carefully considering all our options. Although planning the best 11 days in August takes time, we believe at a minimum, our Fair partners and grounds crews require 60-70 days. With that timeline in mind, we will be making a decision about what the 2020 Iowa State Fair will look like in early to mid-June.
We have seen many changes in the past 6-8 weeks, I am sure we will continue to see things change in the coming months and days. With that being said, we are choosing to focus on what we CAN do now, what we CAN plan for now, and how we CAN bring you the best Iowa State Fair, August 13-23, 2020. Visit our website or follow us on social media for updates and thank you for your continued patience, support and encouragement.
Gary D. Slater
CEO and Fair Manager
The Iowa State Fair would like to recognize the Fair partners who are offering carry-out or call-in orders during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Visit https://www.iowastatefair.org/food/whats-new/ for a list of vendors.
Update as of 4.3.2020
Dear Fair Friends,
These are certainly unprecedented and unpredictable times and I hope you are staying safe and healthy. I wanted you to know that even in times like these, we continue to move ahead with preparations for the 2020 Iowa State Fair. We are working hard to make it the best one yet and believe in these uncertain times, people will need the tradition and family friendly entertainment options available at the Fair. Although, we may implement some changes related to COVID-19 protocols, we are looking forward to the Fair, August 13-23, 2020. Like many other businesses, our staff are working remotely, but we are still available to answer any questions or provide support at any time. Please contact us by phone at 515-262-3111 or by general email at email@example.com. Thank you very much for your patience and understanding as we work to get through these challenging times together. We will continue to share information as it is available.
Gary Slater, Fair Manager and CEO
Update as of 3.24.2020
As a reminder, our utmost priority continues to be the health and safety of the people of Iowa. Because of this, the Fairgrounds has postponed when possible all NON-fairtime events until mid-April. On behalf of our event promoters, participants, and attendees, we continue to assess the COVID-19 situation and will update the website with new information when available. If you have a question about an upcoming event, wedding or family celebration, please contact a member of the interim events staff at 515-262-3111 or firstname.lastname@example.org. A complete list of event changes can be found on the Iowa State Fairgrounds Event Calendar.
Update as of 3.18.2020
In accordance with state directives regarding protocols for the COVID-19 Virus, the Iowa State Fairgrounds are closed to the public at this time. Employees and authorized people only are allowed to enter the grounds. We apologize for the inconvenience.
Update as of 3.16.2020
In the interest of public health, Governor Kim Reynolds and Des Moines Mayor Frank Cownie have restricted large social gatherings. Because our utmost priority is serving the people of Iowa, the Fairgrounds will respectfully comply and is canceling or postponing all NON-fairtime events until further notice. On behalf of our event promoters, participants, and attendees, we are saddened; however, we know the safety and well-being of our community is our top priority. A complete list of event changes can be found at www.iowastatefairgrounds.org.
Scheduled events at our facilities
Most non-fairtime events on the Fairgrounds are organized and promoted by third parties. We are working with our event organizers to reschedule events when possible. Please contact the Iowa State Fairgrounds through the Contact Us page for refund ticket information and additional details.
These changes do not impact planning for the Iowa State Fair. We continue to work and prepare for the best 2020 Iowa State Fair, August 13-23.
The recommendations for everyday preventive actions include:
- Staying home when sick
- Washing hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
- Following proper coughing etiquette
- Avoiding close contact with people who are sick
- Avoiding touching eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
- If you have a compromised immune system, please check with your health care provider to determine your own risks before attending events or traveling
For a complete list of prevention and treatment, visit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Additional resources are available through the Polk County Health Department, Iowa Department of Public Health, World Health Organization, U.S. Travel Association, and Destinations International.
Please know this is a fluid and unpredictable situation, so we are in constant communication with our local city and state health officials for guidance. For up to date information, sign up for our e-newsletter, text FAIR to 75782, or email email@example.com.
The Fair's mission is to celebrate Iowa’s agricultural heritage by providing a quality environment and facilities to further education and to offer entertainment and competition for all ages. Offer opportunities for individual growth for all involved. We take safety very seriously at the Fair and strive to provide a family friendly, safe and healthy environment.
Through multiple channels, we work to monitor and communicate the latest issues in a timely manner. The Iowa State Fair is proud to partner with the Iowa State Patrol, the Polk County Sheriff’s Office and the Des Moines Police Department to provide public safety. Please call 800/545-FAIR or email firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.
Weapons of any kind are not permitted on the Fairgrounds. Firearms are prohibited on the Iowa State Fairgrounds with or without a valid Iowa permit to carry unless authorized by the Fair Board, as per Iowa Code. Failure to comply with this rule shall be cause for being expelled from the Fairgrounds and/or being charged under Iowa Code.
The Iowa State Fair reserves the right to search all bags, backpacks, coolers, purses, containers etc. upon entry to the Fair and upon request while on the Fairgrounds. Refusal to comply will result in denied entry. There will be additional bag searches upon entering main gates and the Grandstand.
PLEASE COMPLY WITH THE POSTED RULES AND SIGNS INCLUDING:
- ALL BAGS ARE SUBJECT TO INSPECTION
- WEAPONS OF ANY KIND ARE STRICTLY PROHIBITED
- NO OUTSIDE GLASS BOTTLES, CANS, DRINK CONTAINERS, COOLERS OR FOOD
- SMOKING IS PROHIBITED IN BARNS, OCCUPIED STRUCTURES AND MUSIC VENUES
- NO EXPLOSIVE AND/OR FLAMMABLE OBJECTS
- NO PETS ALLOWED, EXCEPT TRAINED SERVICE ANIMALS
- NO DRONES
- ALL LOCAL AND STATE LAWS AND ORDINANCES APPLY
- ANY ADDITIONAL ITEM(S) DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE, HARMFUL OR UNSAFE ARE SUBJECT TO CONFISCATION
The Iowa State Fair has the right to refuse entry or remove individuals for non-compliance. The Iowa State Fair is not responsible for damage or loss to vehicles or personal property.
THE FOLLOWING ITEMS ARE PROHIBITED ON IOWA STATE FAIRGROUNDS PROPERTY:
- FIREARMS, AMMUNITION AND WEAPONS OF ANY KIND
- MARIJUANA (INCLUDING MARIJUANA ENRICHED PRODUCTS) OR ANY ILLEGAL SUBSTANCE
- FIREWORKS OR OTHER SIMILARLY EXPLOSIVE AND/OR FLAMMABLE OBJECTS
- OUTSIDE GLASS BOTTLES, CANS, DRINK CONTAINERS, COOLERS OR FOOD
- PETS, EXCEPT TRAINED SERVICE ANIMALS
- ANY ADDITIONAL ITEM(S) DEEMED INAPPROPRIATE, HARMFUL OR UNSAFE
All local, state laws and ordinances apply. The Iowa State Fair reserves the right to refuse entry or remove any individual for non-compliance
Severe Weather Policy
Fairgoers may get general Fair alerts at ‘FAIR’ to 75782.
A severe weather announcement will be communicated over the grounds wide paging system alerting fair patrons to seek cover in the nearest building. The announcement will be repeated every two minutes.
Grandstand Severe Weather
If eminent weather is forecast, evident or indicated by Doppler radar or issued by the National Weather Service an announcement will be made to the attendants. This may delay the event start or require temporary relocation by Grandstand event staff.
Lost children or lost people should be taken to the Hall of Law – Iowa State Patrol Booth, located underneath the grandstand, until midnight. Paging is done from the Hall of Law from 9 a.m. to midnight; it is only available for lost children, senior citizens or medical emergencies. “Kid Find” wristbands will be available at all Information booths, the Hall of Law at the Star 102.5 booth at the west end of the Grandstand and at the 93.3 KIOA& 103.3 LAZER booth in Thrill Zone. Wristbands courtesy of Mercy Children’s Hospital and Clinics.
The Hy-Vee Health and First Aid Center is located east of the John Deere Agriculture Building, and a satellite station is located at the Robert G. Horner & Sheri Avis Horner Service Center. Locations are staffed by Des Moines Fire and Rescue.
All bags and backpacks are subject to search upon entry to the Grandstand. Refusal to comply will result in denied entry. Prohibited items include: weapons of any kind; bottles, cans, coolers; video or tape recorders (still photos may be taken at the discretion of the performer).
As an agricultural institution, we are proud to share our rich heritage through livestock education, entertainment and competition. The Iowa State Fair does not condone animal abuse of any kind. We have strict animal care policies in place, codes of ethics for 4-H and FFA members to abide by and an Animal Care Committee. We strive to make the Iowa State Fair a safe and enjoyable place for people and animals alike.
During the Fair, the Fair does not provide space for meet and greets, campaign rallies, fundraisers or other political events. Political signs and picketing are allowed only in designated areas.
Thank you for your cooperation and see you at the Fair!