DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa State Fair once again became the hottest ticket in town on Friday.
Tens of thousands of people flocked to the fairgrounds on its second day. The State Fair reports about 77,000 people punched their tickets on day one.
The crowd included tourists such as Long Island, New York native Chris Kanakaris. He traveled from New York City to Dyersville to watch his Yankees in the Field of Dreams Game, then decided to make the two-hour drive to Des Moines on a whim.
“I watched the news this morning: the first story was the Field of Dreams and the second story was the State Fair,” Kanakaris said. “I knew I had to come before I went home, and I’m pretty impressed by this. I’m glad I made the trip.”
Friday was also East Side Night, and a sizable crowd also came to watch country star Blake Shelton perform at the fairgrounds’ main stage.
“This is my first time at a State Fair, and I came for him,” said Natasha Ahlstrom of Humboldt. “I love the man, he’s so funny.”
“We watch The Voice, every season of it,” said Loran and Doris Weiler, who traveled from Le Mars for the concert. “He’s a character and we love watching him.”
The fairgrounds are more secure than in previous years: all guests now have to walk through a full-length metal detector before they scan their ticket.
Most fairgoers who spoke with WHO 13 News said the metal detecting process was fast and barely noticeable.
“It went well,” said Julie Smith, who accompanied Ahlstrom to the State Fair. “Even with this COVID, we still get to do our thing.”
The Iowa State Fair runs until Aug. 22.