One of the country's oldest and largest agricultural and industrial expositions, the Iowa State Fair is set to unveil exciting new agricultural events this year. Fairgoers of all ages will find many new activities that challenge, entertain and educate both farmers and city folk. "Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair, and the 2011 version is set for August 11 to 21 in Des Moines.
Here's a summary of the highlights, prepared for Wallaces Farmer by Megan Grandgeorge, marketing and tourism assistant at the Iowa State Fair office. See you at the 2011 Iowa State Fair!
You can watch or join in the new ag-related contests and competitions
Several new contests: Come see the latest addition to the Fair's long tradition of competition and agriculture! The "Farmer's Challenge" will have couples vying to prove their agrarian excellence in a variety of fun and challenging contests. The competition will include such events as the hay bale throw, hay bale shuffle, gate hanging, hay moving and the Saturday night hustle obstacle course.
While many of these events will test the farmers' strength and skills, the egg gathering contest is sure to provide laughs as competitors race to discover the hard-boiled egg in a basket of uncooked imposters.
The contest will be held Thursday, August 18 at 6 p.m. in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. Teams of one male and one female may compete by signing up between 3:30 and 5:30 p.m. the day of the competition at the Pavilion.
Youthful farmers can also join the fun by entering teams of four in the "Young Farmer's Challenge" for competitors ages 15 to 21. The contest will begin at 12:30 p.m. on August 18 in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. Registration takes place 10 a.m. to noon at the Pavilion.
Cash prizes and plaques will be awarded to the top three teams in both contests. Complete rules are available at iowastatefair.org.
Mutton Bustin' will give youngsters a chance to try their hand at riding
Also new this year, Mutton Bustin' will provide youngsters a chance to try their hand at stock riding. Mutton Bustin' packs all the excitement of bull riding but on a much smaller and safer scale. Dare devils ages 8 and under will have the chance to see how long they can stay on the back of a sheep. Kids will don protective gear and hold on tight to outlast other contestants and be named Mutton Bustin' Champion.
The contest will be held August 19 at 12:30, 3:30, and 6:30 p.m. with registration 60 to 90 minutes prior in the Pioneer Livestock Pavilion. Complete rules are available at iowastatefair.org.
Several new shows: Two new breeds join the Iowa State Fair's impressive lineup of livestock and horse shows in 2011. The Dexter cattle show makes its debut at the State Fair August 18 at 1 p.m. in the Outdoor Arena. This unique show is one of only a handful in the country.
Appaloosa horses make a return to the fair this year. The Appaloosa horse shows will be August 20 at 8 p.m. and August 21 at 9 a.m. in the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center. Tickets for evening horse shows are $5 for adults ages 12 and older and $2 for children ages 6 to 11. Daytime horse shows are free. Horse show tickets go on sale at the Jacobson Exhibition Center two to three hours before the start of the show.
Excellent entertainment: Live entertainment will thrill audiences from the Iowa State Fair's grandstand and also at the free stages each night.
Grandstand tickets are still available for Ronnie Dunn with special guest Steel Magnolia, Lynyrd Skynyrd and Doobie Brothers, and Sugarland and Sara Bareilles. Tickets are available at all Ticketmaster outlets, online at Ticketmaster.com, and by phone at 1-800-745-3000.
The fair's free stages will also offer nightly shows free with gate admission. Notable free stage acts include The Band Perry, Jason Michael Carroll, Lee Brice, and Allstar Weekend. View the complete entertainment lineup at iowastatefair.org.
Discounted gate admission tickets are on sale through August 10 while supplies last at participating Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drugstores, Dahl's Food, Fareway stores and the State Fair Ticket Office, located on the Fairgrounds. Or purchase your tickets online at iowastatefair.org and print them at home, fee free. "Nothing Compares" to the Iowa State Fair, set August 11-21.
FOR MORE INFORMATION: For information on the Iowa State Fair, including the complete daily program, livestock schedules, and premium books, visit the Fair's website at iowastatefair.org. See you at the 2011 Iowa State Fair!