What’s New at the Iowa State Fair 2013

Last Updated on January 2, 2016 by Jody Halsted

I don’t know about you, but I love the Iowa State Fair!  And I look forward to all the new food and attractions every year.  

If this is your first time visiting the Iowa State Fair with children, you’ll want to be sure to read my tips to see why you should pack swimsuits or a change of clothes for the kids.

Cotton Candy at the Iowa State Fair
Fresh Cotton Candy!

Iowa State Fair Food

I’ll admit it…  healthy eating is the last thing on my mind at the fair.  My never miss food is the Hot Beef Sundae at the Cattleman’s building…  

Hot Beef Sundae at the Iowa State Fair
The Hot Beef Sundae: Mashed potatoes topped with roast beef and shredded cheese with a cherry (tomato) on top.

But each year new fair foods tempt me.  This year I’m planning to track down a few:

  • Coconut Mountain On-a-stick, a soft and chewy coconut ball rolled in coconut flakes and dipped in fresh chocolate; available at Oasis Concessions.
  • Bratwurst on a Pretzel Bun at Arnold’s Concessions
  • Shrimp Corndog – Bringing the beach to Iowa, the Shrimp Corndog, available at the Po-Boy Stand, is a savory snack featuring three fresh shrimp dipped in corndog batter, fried to golden perfection and topped with a sweet jalapeno glaze. 
  • Soft Salted Chocolate-Dipped Almond Pretzel On-a-stick, a soft pretzel dipped in chocolate almond bark sprinkled with slivered almonds and a dash of salt, available at the Old Fashioned Root Beer & Pretzels stand.

If anyone is brave enough to try the  Deep Fried Prairie Oysters at Beef Quarters, do let me know.  I recall these being called ‘Rocky Mountain Oysters’ when I was growing up and I can’t admit to eating them then.  Not sure what this is?  Click here– but not for the squeamish!

If you have an iPhone, be sure to download the Iowa State Fair Food Finder app to help you track down your favorites.  Don’t have an iPhone?  Me either…  I’m an Android kind of girl.  Bookmark the Food Finder mobile page to eat your way around the fair.

Iowa State Fair Entertainment

Free entertainment is never hard to come by, and this year there is more.

For a healthy dose of 80’s rock, you’ll want to check out the new Budweiser stage- now with more room to rock!

Make the climb up Expo Hill for new extreme acrobatics and street performers.

The Kids Zone has expanded again this year and will feature a Lumberjack Show, daily crafts and free entertainment on the stage.

You’ll also have the chance to ride the  Moonraker in the midway.  The only ride of its kind in the US, and definitely not for the easily nauseated!

Iowa State Fair Animals

A highlight of the fair for my family is always a trip to the animal barns.  Not only can we see the largest pig and bull in the state, but we can often pet adorable calves, lambs and bunnies.  

This year the newly expanded AgVenture Discovery Trail features ten stops that will impress young Fairgoers and teach them about Iowa’s agricultural commodities. Kids can begin their journey at any of the 11 Information Booths throughout the Fairgrounds, at the Food and Family Project booth in the South Atrium of the Varied Industries Building or at the USDA booth in the Agriculture Building.

Iowa State Fair Comfort

Renovations are always going on at the Iowa State Fair and this year brings a  partly air conditioned Cultural Center and a new family restroom in the building.  (Yea!)

What are you looking forward to at the Iowa State Fair this year?

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