Changes Coming for 2017 Iowa State Fair

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DES MOINES, Iowa  --  The countdown has officially begun: the Iowa State Fair is just nine days away.

With the clock ticking, crews are working furiously to get everything ready. They’ve got their work cut out for them, as the 2017 edition will feature many changes and improvements. 

The changes start with entering the grounds; organizers are trying to make it as easy as possible to get guests in the gate. They’ve purchased an additional fleet of trams to transport visitors from their cars to enjoying something fried faster. 

The new shuttle route will be called the Blue Line. It will run four shuttles, starting at 5 a.m. each day.  Fairgoers can be picked from the Northeast, University, and North Parking lots, and then shuttled to Gates 13, 15, and 16 free of charge. 

Once inside, attendees will notice a big change--the kids and adult rides have been separated. The more kid-friendly rides will now be in an area called Thrill Town on the 30th Street and Dean Avenue side of the fair. The adults rides will stay next to the Grandstand in an area now called Thrill Ville.

The ticket purchasing process has also seen an upgrade, doing away with tickets and going digital. Most of the rides can now be accessed using a reusable wristband. 

“The ticketing system, this is an easy way for you to keep track of it. If you lose it, we can help you find it. If you do have credits, they do carry over so you can come back. Or you can even save them and bring them back next year if you want to,” said Mindy Williamson, Marketing Director for the Iowa State Fair. 

Wristbands can be purchased at the fair, but pick one up before it begins to get an advanced price. Wristband prices vary, but the best value is the plan offering 60 credits for $41. 

Getting from Thrill Town to Thrill Ville will also be smoother. The walkway and area between the Varied Industries and Jacobson Buildings got a complete remodel this year. 

“That used to be not a normal thoroughfare for fairgoers. Now it’s a walkway that includes displays, concessionaires. Now it continues clear until the sky glider over there. So, just a better way to get around the fair. Kind of connects our new Jacobson Building to the Grand Avenue population,” said Williamson.