DES MOINES — The Iowa State Fair will offer a variety of new offerings to taste, watch and experience this year, with new fair foods, attractions and entertainment are available in addition to the many traditional fair favorites.
The newly completed renovations to the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center include a fully air conditioned building and a new exhibit space for the Photography Salon on the third floor.
In celebration of the 75th year of the fair’s popular Photography Salon, the cultural center will display hundreds of black and white entries as a salute to Ansel Adams. In addition, the atrium will feature an exhibit of historic photos from Bill Woolston’s 1975 photo essay, “Iowa’s Fair.”
Stop by the West Grand Exhibit Area (north of Elwell Family Food Center) to check out the Hoover Presidential Library Museum Special Exhibit Preview. This new display focuses on President Hoover’s food relief efforts during World War I. Brush up on your history, snag a Hoover biscuit, and be sure to catch the Hoover Humanitarian Relief Ship as it cruises the grounds daily at 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
Visit Seward Johnson’s amazing “God Bless America” sculpture. Standing at 25 feet tall and weighing 5,900 pounds, the traveling sculpture depicts Grant Wood’s “American Gothic.” It will be on display every day at the entrance to Pella Plaza on Rock Island Ave.
This year the Thrill Zone will be relocated to the southwest corner of the Fairgrounds, west of the Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Building. Those daring enough to test their courage will find the Crazy Mouse, Sky Scraper, Sling Shot, and more in the new location.
This year’s fair foods feature over a dozen new items, including a collection of value-priced items. New bargain-priced treats include food contest finalists Funnel Cake Sticks, Smoked Brisket and Bacon Mac N Cheese, Caprese Salad On-a-stick, Brownie Blitz, and the Three Buck Bowl — all for only $3 each.
The fair’s newest Fair Square Flavor, Fair-berry, a tasty blend of crisped rice cereal and marshmallows with a burst of strawberry flavor, is available for just $2.
This year’s free stage line-up features alternative rock band Alien Ant Farm. The group boasts more than five million record sales, a Grammy Award nomination and four top-ten singles including their double-platinum cover of Michael Jackson’s “Smooth Criminal.” Other rock groups include Great White, Slaughter, Los Lonely Boys, Winger and The Romantics.
GenerationNOW Entertainment, Sub Sonic Social and 515 Alive present the “Fair-well to Summer Dance Party,” offering teens and young adults a place to show off their dance moves at the Iowa State Fair. Featured performances include Jesse Jamz (Sub Sonic Social/515 Alive), DJ Raj (Sub Sonic Social/515 Alive), DJ Mad Mardigan (Official DJ of the Minnesota Timberwolves), Mister Black (Firepower Records) and emcee Shawn Brighton. Not only will they be spinning music from all eras and genres but they will also be offering some fun surprises and special guests.
After reuniting in 2013, Trick Pony is back and better than ever with a new flare to fit today’s country radio. Their hits include “On a Mission,” “Just What I Do” and the top-ten single off their gold-certified debut album, “On a Night like This.” Other country acts include Dustin Lynch, The Swon Brothers, Kristian Bush and Eric Paslay.
Back by popular demand, the self-proclaimed “Glee-meets-Stomp” group Vocal Trash will perform daily. Also returning is southern rock band Black Stone Cherry, Here Come the Mummies and Hairball, the world’s ultimate 80s arena rock impersonation act.
The Iowa State Fair is set for Aug. 7-17. The fairgrounds are located at East 30th and East University Avenue, 10 minutes east of downtown Des Moines. Discounted gate admission tickets are on sale now through the print-at-home ticket option at iowastatefair.org. For more information, call (800) 545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.