All You Need to Know on the Opening Day of the Iowa State Fair

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DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Iowa State Fair opens Thursday at 5 a.m. and runs till August 17th. Opening Ceremonies will begin at 9 a.m. Regular hours run from 7 a.m. to 1 a.m. with buildings open 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.


Adults (12+): $11

Children (Ages 6-11): $5

Children (Ages 5 and Under): FREE


Three parking lots are available for motorcycle and vehicle parking: North, Sims, and Northeast Lot, $10 per spot. Bike parking is available inside Gate 10 for $2. The largest area reserved for visitors with disabilities is located in the North Lot.

DART Park & Ride:

Round trip costs $2. You can get a discount if you present your advanced fair admission tickets prior to your ride. Three Park & Ride locations are available with free parking:

  1. State Capitol – Pennsylvania and Grand Avenues Parking Garage and State Capitol visitor lots. Pick up is at the bell on East 12th Drops off at Gate 10.
  2. Center Street – Enter Center Street Parking Garage from West 7th Picks up at West 6th and Center Street. Drops off at Gate 10.
  3. Southeast Polk – Picks up Southeast Polk School at Northeast 80th Avenue and Highway 163. Drops off at Gate 8.

For more information go to:

Don't forget to take a selfie with the butter cow and post it to Twitter with #13Cow. We'll be making a gallery of the best images throughout the fair.

1 Comment

  • Train Collision, 1932 Iowa State Fair

    Think the Butter Cow is big? Get a load of this from 1932. My Pa was going to be a senior in high school. Yep, then he grew up, and kept telling us: “Quit tearing things up.”

    Train Collision, 1932 Iowa State Fair

    I wonder back then, if “This is a train wreck” meant the same thing as today, when we say: “This is a train wreck.”

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