By Jackie Wallentin
Editor's note: Jackie Wallentin is a summer intern working in the Marketing Department at the Iowa State Fair.
"Happiness Is" all the new and thrilling things to see, do and taste at the 2013 Iowa State Fair. New entertainment, attractions and contests are available in addition to the many Iowa State Fair favorites like the Ye Old Mill, Hog Calling Contest and classic corndogs. "Nothing Compares" to the array of exciting adventures that await fairgoers August 8-18 at the state fairgrounds in Des Moines.
* Entertainment. Audiences will be wowed with the many new high energy attractions available all 11 fun-filled days of the fair. Fairgoers of all ages can find something to make them happy.
The Budweiser Stage has found a new home, and is now located directly west of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center. Music fans can rock out with an even larger crowd. This year's Budweiser Stage will feature rock stars like Foghat, Blue Öyster Cult, Skid Row, L.A. Guns and more!
Two new acts performing at Expo Hill will amaze audiences with their advanced skills. Team Rock is a group of national champion extreme breaking experts. Prepare to be amazed as street-performing circus duo Mango and Dango combine technical skills, comedy, chance and circumstance into acts of hilarity and dexterity. Watch as the pair blends acrobatics, dance and danger to create a circus experience no one will want to miss!~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
More family fun is not hard to find in the expanded Kids' Zone – a special area with rides, games and entertainment, all planned to excite young fairgoers! The Timberworks Lumberjack Show highlights talented tree choppers who offer feats of strength like axe throwing, underhanded chopping, log rolling, cross-cut sawing, hot sawing and chainsaw carving. Join in the hands-on weekday activities at one of the many Blue Ribbon Kids' events, or roll up your sleeves to enjoy daily crafts for kids at the newly relocated Art Attack. Kids can even enjoy the new Kangaroo Jumper and Krazy Maze, both at an extra cost.
Even a fair classic like the Midway has been improved for 2013. In addition to the 40 thrilling and exciting rides in the Belle City Amusements Midway, the newly restored Moonraker offers a unique spin on fun. The only one in North America, the Moonraker sends Fairgoers 70 feet into the sky at angles upwards of 90 degrees.
* Opening Day. Fairgoers will have a chance to give back to the community by packing meals on opening day, August 8. In partnership with Meals from the Heartland, the Iowa Soybean Association, the Iowa Food and Family Project and Growmark, the fair is hosting an event to package 250,000 meals. To reach our goal, the fair needs approximately 1,500 volunteers to package meals for one hour shifts from 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. To make a monetary donation or to sign up to volunteer your time, please visit iowastatefair.org.
* Ag Education and Livestock. Not only does the Iowa State Fair pride itself on showcasing some of the finest livestock and crops in the country but also for providing fairgoers with quality education on the importance of agriculture in Iowa's future.
Two new equine events join the fair's already large host of horse competitions and entertainment. Cowboy mounted shooting demonstrations, one of the fastest growing equestrian sports in the country, will come to the fair on Friday, August 9. Fairgoers can also cheer on their favorite team at the Supreme Six-Horse Hitch on Tuesday, August 13, and Sunday, August 18 at the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center.~~~PAGE_BREAK_HERE~~~
The newly-expanded AgVenture Discovery Trail features 10 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.
* Contests. The Elwell Family Food Center is home to the largest foods department in the nation with 890 contests, 41 of which are new this year. New contests include Blue Ribbon Baked Beans, My Tractor Cake, Grandma's Corn Casserole and more. The first place chef in the Kenmore Honored Harvest Time Recipes Contest will win a $5,000 kitchen makeover, a trip to the New York City Wine and Food Festival to cook with celebrity chefs and their recipe in the Kenmore 100th Anniversary Cookbook.
* More Improvements. The 127-year-old fairgrounds received a few updates for the 2013 fair as well. As part of its ongoing renovation, the Cultural Center will now be partly air conditioned, with full completion of the project in 2014. A family restroom was also added to the building, which houses the largest art show in the state. The building is open daily from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m. A new restroom located near the North Lot will also be completed in time for this year's Fair.
Discounted gate admission tickets are on sale now through August 7 while supplies last at participating Hy-Vee, Hy-Vee Drugstores, Dahl's Foods and Fareway stores (without fees). Tickets can also be purchased at the State Fair Ticket Office located in the Administration Building on the fairgrounds (open 8 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday and 9 a.m. to noon on Saturday). Remember, "Nothing Compares" to the 2013 Iowa State Fair, August 8-18.