What to know before attending the 2021 Iowa State Fair

State Fair

Iowa State Fair

DES MOINES, Iowa — The Iowa State Fair returns for eleven days in August.

The state fair runs from Aug. 12-22. You can search the fair schedule here and the Grandstand concert schedule here.

Here is some other useful information to know before you attend the Iowa State Fair.

Advanced admission

You can buy advanced admission tickets prior to 11:59 p.m. on Aug. 11 and save money. Regular $14 adult admission tickets are just $9, and $8 tickets for children (ages 6-11) are $5 when purchased in advance. Children 5 years old and younger are admitted to the fair for free every day.

Advanced admission tickets can be bought online at iowastatefair.org, the Iowa State Fair Ticket Office or at Hy-Vee stores, Hy-Vee Drugstores and Dollar Fresh stores, Fareway stores, and participating Cash Saver and Price Chopper stores in the Des Moines metro.

Parking

  • University, North and Northeast parking lots: $10 per vehicle and per motorcycle (all vehicles/motorcycles must be removed by 1 a.m.)
  • Bicycle parking is available at Gate 11 for free

Safety regulations

  • The fair will follow all COVID-19 guidelines per the CDC in August
  • Weapons of any kind are not allowed on the fairgrounds. Firearms are prohibited on the Iowa State Fairgrounds with or without a valid permit to carry
  • All fairgoers will walk through a metal detector at the gates
  • The Iowa State Fair reserves the right to search all bags, backpacks, coolers, purses, containers, etc. upon entry to the fairgrounds. Refusal to comply will result in denied entry

Air conditioned buildings

The following buildings at the Iowa State Fair will have air conditioning.

Bruce L. Rastetter 4-H Exhibits Building, John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn Penningroth Media Center, Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center, Elwell Family Food Center, FFA Display Building, Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, Maytag Family Theaters, Oman Family Youth Inn, Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center, Ralph H. Deets Historical Museum, Richard L. Easter Museum Complex, Richard O. Jacobson Hall/Kenyon Gallery, Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, Robert G. Horner and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, Walnut Center and William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building

Charging stations

There will be nine charging stations for devices located throughout the fairgrounds, both indoors and outdoors.

Charging stations are located west of the DNR Building, north of Elwell Family Food Center, the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building, Robert G. Horner and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, Little Hands on the Farm, Susan Knapp Amphitheater and the Patty and Jim Cownie Cultural Center.

ATMs

There are approximately 48 ATMs located throughout the fairgrounds, including near the major entrance gates. Some other ATM locations include just outside the Robert G. Horner and Sheri Avis Horner Service Center, on the northeast side of the William C. Knapp Varied Industries Building.

Baby diaper changing/nursing stations

Nursing stations located in both the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center and Walnut Center will provide parents and children with a private atmosphere. Rocking chairs and an area for diaper changing are available. Diaper changing and family restrooms are also available at the Heritage Village restroom facility adjacent to the Susan Knapp Amphitheater, north of Ye Old Mill and inside the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center.

DART bus rides to fairgrounds

Fairgoers can park their car for free and ride DART buses directly to the Iowa State Fair. Free parking is available at the following three locations from 8:30 a.m. to midnight every day of the fair.

  • Iowa State Capitol – (on East 12th Street) 1007 E Grand Des Moines, IA 50319
  • Center Street Park & Ride – (at 7th Street and Center Streets) 830 6th Ave. Des Moines, IA 50309
  • Southeast Polk High School – (at NE 80th Street and Highway 163) 7945 NE University Ave. Pleasant
    Hill, IA 50327

DART round-trip fares can only be paid with cash the day of the ride. You can show your Iowa State Fair advanced admission ticket and receive half off the price of the round-trip fare. One-way fares are available upon request.

DART prices

  • $2 adults (ages 11+)
  • $1 children (ages 6-10), adults ages 65+, Medicare card holders and people with disabilities (half-fare)
  • Children ages 5 and under are free.

REMINDER: TSA requires all riders to wear a mask when on the bus. Masks will be available onboard.

Taxi, Uber, Lyft and RideShare

Pick-up and drop-off are at Gate 8. To order a ride to the state fair, call 515-282-8111 for a taxi, download the Uber or Lyft app, or call 515-288-7433 for RideShare.

On-grounds transportation

The inner grounds trams will not be running this year due to safety protocols.

For fairgoers’ convenience, the Iowa State Fair will now provide the Blue Line Parking tram, which is a free shuttle that runs daily from 5:30 a.m. until 1 a.m. The Blue Line Parking Shuttle has five routine stops and will stop at Gate 13 & 15 for entry to the fair.

Free campgrounds shuttles pulled by tractors run daily beginning at 8 a.m. One wheelchair-accessible unit will be available approximately every 15 minutes. These shuttles run continuously round-trip between the campgrounds, Farm Bureau Pioneer Hall and the Richard L. Easter Museum Complex.

Golf-cart mini-shuttle service (not wheelchair accessible) is available from the north University and
northeast parking lots to Gates 13 and 15, beginning at 8 a.m. While offered as a free service, riders may
make donations to the Shriners Children’s Hospital and the Za-Ga-Zig Shrine Transportation Fund. Golf
carts are not available for rent for safety and liability reasons.

Electric scooters/wheelchairs

A limited number of wheelchairs and electric scooters will be held for walk-up customers on a first-come, first-served basis. Rental locations are at Gate 8, Gate 10, Gate 11, Gate 13 and Gate 15.

Rental prices

  • Wheelchairs rent for $25 per day
  • electric scooters rent for $65 per full day (8a.m. to 11 p.m.) or $45 for a half day (8 a.m. to 3 p.m. or 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.)

Wheelchairs and electric scooters can be reserved online and over the phone. There is an additional $5 processing fee for all call-in reservations. Fairgoers reserve online at www.htmia.com or call HomeTown Mobility at 877-928-5388.

Strollers and wagon rental

Strollers and wagons are available on a first-come, first-served basis inside Gate 11 and Gate 15 from 8 a.m. to 10 p.m.

Rental prices

  • stroller rental is $10 per day
  • wagon rental is $20 per day

Information booths

Information booths at the fair are staffed from 8 a.m. to 9 p.m. They are located in front of the John and Emily Putney Family Cattle Barn, outside First Church, near Gate 10, near Gate 11 and on the Grand Concourse west of Ye Old Mill.

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