Crowd of thousands lines Grand Avenue for State Fair Parade


DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa State Fair officially returned on Wednesday with a parade through downtown Des Moines.

Thousands of people brought their chairs and sat along Grand Avenue to watch the parade Wednesday afternoon, even with a head advisory and temperatures threatening to touch the triple digits.

“We come every year, right here in the same spot,” said Tony Lange, who came to the parade with his children. “It feels great. It’s freedom. That’s what Iowa is during the fair.”

“We’ve never been to a State Fair parade, so it was important for us to go to it and see what goes on,” said Richard Merrick, who traveled from Maquoketa to watch his granddaughter compete for the title of Iowa State Fair Queen.

Even some out-of-state natives such as Minnesotan Katelyn Rinicker could not resist the allure of the parade.

“It’s one of the best state fairs I hear, so better start with the parade,” Rinicker said. “It’s so freeing. It’s amazing to be here and just see people.”

Some attendees considered the parade a return to normalcy after COVID-19 concerns cancelled the 2020 State Fair. However, the parade comes as delta variant cases are surging in Iowa and across the nation.

Despite the renewed threat, many attendees felt comfortable in the crowd.

“I’m vaccinated, so I’m plenty happy with it,” Merrick said.

“I feel young enough to bounce back if I were to get it,” Rinicker said.

The Iowa State Fair begins on Thursday. It lasts until August 22.

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