SOURCE: Iowa State Fair

October 18, 2007 17:49 ET

Iowa State Fair "Sounds Like Fun" to More Than One Million

DES MOINES, IA--(Marketwire - October 18, 2007) - For the sixth consecutive year, the Iowa State Fair topped the million attendance mark during its August 9-19 run. Ongoing capital improvements to the Fairgrounds -- including the new Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center and the renovated Ralph H. Deets Historical Museum -- were overwhelmingly popular with 1,002,464 Fairgoers.

"Despite rain, extreme heat and high humidity, large crowds turned out for the Fair's fabulous entertainment, expanded ag education activities, phenomenal foods, and several new facilities," said Fair Manager/CEO Gary Slater. "One of the most popular features of this year's Fair was the new Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center. Fairgoers young and old were mesmerized by the 317 lambs, piglets, calves, kids and chicks birthed and housed in the new ag-based education facility," he said.

The Animal Learning Center was one of several improvements to the Fairgrounds. The former Polk County Headquarters Building which houses the Ralph H. Deets Historical Museum reopened after receiving extensive renovation and restoration. At 133 feet in height, MidAmerican Energy's Iowa State Fair Wind Turbine soared above Fairgoers at its new Expo Hill home. The turbine's adjacent educational center provided Fairgoers with an opportunity to learn more about renewable energy generation and Iowa's leadership role in wind energy. And, the Fair also debuted twelve new horseshoe courts designed to National Horseshoe Pitchers Association specifications.

In addition to outstanding free entertainment featuring Iowa native Jason Brown, Don McLean and Josh Gracin, Fairgoers enjoyed viewing the butter-sculpted Harry Potter and the food entries in the Elwell Family Food Center. With 894 food classes and 12,479 entries, the Fair's food department -- the largest of any state fair -- had outgrown its previous home in the Family Center and was relocated to the Elwell Family Food Center, the former Iowa Tourism Building.

Fairgoers ages 10 and under enjoyed expanded Blue Ribbon Kids club activities. More than one thousand children attended the club's seven events which ranged from Character Counts to a behind the scenes tour of the Animal Learning Center; up from approximately 500 members and four activities offered during its 2006 debut.

The Fair's food and merchandise percentage was down to an estimated $2.14 million, a 6.47 percent decrease versus record-setting 2006 sales. The popularity of new foods like the Potato Lollipop, Apple Fries and Bauder's Mocha Latte Ice Cream Bar helped offset the down turn in sales.

The 2007 Grandstand line-up ranged in diversity from Alice Cooper to truck and tractor pulls to Casting Crowns. Grandstand ticket sales grossed nearly $1.53 million with 61,072 purchases.

Superlatives set during the 2007 Fair included seven record-selling prices and an all-time total proceeds record in the Sale of Champions; a record-setting 1176-pound jumbo squash; and a record number of entries in Boer Goats, Stock Dogs and Photography. In addition, the Iowa State Fair was named to Discover America's Top 200 Events in America.

The 2008 Fair is set August 7-17, "U Gotta Love It." For more information, call 800/545-FAIR or visit iowastatefair.org.

Contact Information

  • Contact:
    Lori Chappell
    515/262-3111, x. 204