The Iowa State Fair opened today and runs through Sunday, August 23. Senator Tom Harkin stopped by the Iowa Democratic Party’s booth in the Varied Industries Building (photos here).
Post any memories, comments or advice about the fair in this thread.
I like to park along Grand Avenue. You usually can find a spot within a few blocks of the entrance to the fairgrounds, and you don't have to walk through the midway like you do if you drive in from E. University. Also, the traffic can be very bad between the freeway and the fairgrounds all along E. University. Better to get off I-235 at E. 14th St, head south and then east on Grand.
Walking in through the Grand Avenue entrance, you're close to the DNR's building with lots of fish tanks on your left (kids love this). The Varied Industries Building is not far away on your right.
My kids like going through the animal barns, but I strongly recommend carrying young children (3 and under) in a comfortable backpack or soft carrier to keep them from stepping in manure.
If it's a hot day, kids like to cool off in the fountain area just south of the Ag Building. I buy lemonade from the honey producers in the ag building (tastes great, and they offer the best price at the fairgrounds). I never miss the Bauder's ice cream truck either.
Check the schedule ahead of time to see when there are shows you'd like to see. There's a huge variety of free entertainment at the fair. It could be a horse show or a frisbee-catching dog show or a musical act or a magician.
Tune out the corporate ag propaganda and enjoy looking at the animal babies in the Animal Learning Center, a little north of the ag building. Right next to that is a "little hands on the farm" outdoor activity that is so fun. Kids pretend to plant crops, then harvest them (riding on toy tractors) and sell them. When they leave the exhibit they get to exchange their pretend money for a real treat in the general store.
What do you love or hate about the fair?