DES MOINES, Iowa –The wait is almost over for the food and fun of the Iowa State Fair. Gates open at 5 a.m. Thursday. The Opening Ceremony is 9 a.m. on Expo Hill. You can check out the newly renovated Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center following the ceremony.
The third floor of the cultural center is now open for exhibits. It was previously used as a dormitory. That's where you will find the popular photography salon and fine arts exhibit. Gary Slater with the Iowa State Fair says, “It’s kind of like putting the milk in the back of the grocery store. You got to get all the way through it to get what you’re looking for.”
New elevators will help visitors get to the third floor and air conditioning will help keep them cool. Vendors on the first floor will have more space to spread out. Outside, you’ll find new steps to lead fair goers to the courtyard, which will feature the hands-on Art Attack activities.
The three phase project cost $5 million. Iowa State Fair Board President Alan Brown says, "To be able to take and air condition it and renovate it and expand it and spread the projects out so more people can view it during the fair, it's just a huge asset to what we have here."