‘I’m loving it!’ Governor says of Iowa State Fair return; attendance down so far

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DES MOINES, Iowa — “It’s awesome to be back,” Iowa Governor Kim Reynolds said Tuesday about the return of the state fair. Organizers canceled the fair last year because of COVID-19. So far this year, attendance is down slightly compared to the record attendance of 2019.

Iowa State Fair attendance through first five days:

  • 2019: 515,100
  • 2021: 496,511

The increased presence of the Delta variant of the COVID-19 virus could dissuade some people from attending the fair but attendance is only down about four percent, according to fair official’s tally.

“People are so happy to be here,” Reynolds said about her conversations with fair goers, “They’ve been so positive.”

“We said all along, if you feel comfortable coming back, come back,” she added.

Weather conditions have also been favorable with the fair, so far, largely avoiding extreme heat or severe storms. “I think the numbers are going to be good,” the governor said about where attendance will be when the fair concludes on August 22nd, after its 11-day run, “I think overall they’re going to be pretty happy with their turnout.”

In 2019, the fair counted 1,170,375 attendees, besting the previous year’s record turnout by about 40,000.

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