Most of these facts are attributed to www.iowastatefair.org unless otherwise cited.
1. D) The first Iowa State Fair was held in Fairfield in 1854 before eventually moving to its present location at East 30th and East University in 1886.
2. D) Iowa State Fair attendance first topped the one million mark at 1,008,174 people in 2002.
3. B) In 2008, a record 1,109,150 people walked through the turnstiles at the Main Gate; 2011 came in second with 1,080,959 attendees.
4. B) About 700 exhibitors and concessions operate daily during the Iowa State Fair. This includes nearly 200 food stands, 300 exhibitors and 200 merchandise booths.
5. C) Belle City Amusement Inc., from Longwood, Fla., has supplied the Iowa State Fair with its carnival for the past several years.
6. B) Although they’ll never admit it on the record, most residents charge anywhere from $5-$10 per car and see each available space in their yards filled three times daily. According to a few east-siders we spoke to, the average yard in that neighborhood can hold about 10 cars. So, $3,000 is an approximate annual profit from parking.
7. B) About 24 cows are milked daily during the Iowa State Fair (many more during the first weekend when dairy cattle are showing).
8. A) The Avenue of Breeds represents 100 breeds and 100-120 different animals.
9. B) It would take 96,075 bales of hay to fill the Paul R. Knapp Animal Learning Center building from top to bottom — that’s $480,375 worth of hay.
10. C) The Iowa State Fair features the largest state fair foods department with about 900 classes judged annually.
11. D) This year the Iowa State Fair is offering 65 foods on a stick including hard-boiled egg, honey, deep-fried Twinkie, peanut butter and jelly, sesame chicken, but not sushi. Not yet anyway.
12. B) Pork lovers pig out on anywhere from 5,000 to 6,000 chops daily during the Iowa State Fair’s 11-day run.
13. C) The Iowa State Fair offers 20 different places to get a corn dog.
14. C) The hottest temperature ever recorded at the Iowa State Fair topped out at 108 degrees on a hotter-than-hell “Older Iowans’ Day,” Aug. 16, 1983.
15. D) George Herbert Walker Bush never made his way to Iowa for the State Fair. U.S. presidents who have visited include:
-Herbert Hoover and Dwight Eisenhower in 1954;
-Gerald Ford in 1975;
-Jimmy Carter in 1976 (as a candidate);
-George W. Bush in 2002;
-Barack Obama in 2007 (as a candidate) and 2012; and
-Ronald Reagan broadcast from the Fair as sports director for WHO radio in the 1930s.
16. C) If you put all the toilet paper stored up for the Iowa State Fair onto one roll and unrolled it, it would stretch 1,818 miles. That’s enough distance to travel from Des Moines to Chicago and back five times or from Des Moines to L.A. once.
17. A) An average 1,600 tons of manure-laden bedding is hauled away each year from the Iowa State Fair to be land-applied to several hundred acres of farm land.
18. B) While a real dairy cow weighs more than 1,000 pounds, the Iowa State Fair’s famous 600-pound butter cow would butter 19,200 slices of toast and take an average person two lifetimes to consume.
19. Ha! We know we got some of you on this one. The answer is A) Floppy the Dog. Other sculptures that have joined the Butter Cow include:
-Grant Wood’s famous “American Gothic” (honoring Iowa’s Sesquicentennial in 1996);
-Elvis Presley, 1997;
-An American eagle, 1998;
-Leonardo da Vinci’s “The Last Supper,” 1999;
-Christian Peterson sculpting “The Gentle Doctor” statue (Petersen was then butter sculptor Norma “Duffy” Lyon’s mentor and teacher), 2000;
-John Wayne, 2001;
-The “Peanuts” gang, 2002;
-Harley-Davidson motorcycle (in honor of the company’s 100th anniversary), 2003;
-Birthday cake in honor of the fair’s sesquicentennial, 2004;
-An Iowa barn, 2004;
-Tiger Woods, 2005;
-“Mr. State Fair” Bill Riley (in honor of his 60th fair), 2006;
-Superman (Norwalk, native Brandon Routh), 2006;
-Harry Potter, 2007;
-Olympic gymnast Shawn Johnson, 2008
-A tribute to four Iowans who changed the face of the world’s agriculture, including Etta May Budd, George Washington Carver, Henry Wallace and Norman Borlaug, 2008;
-Tribute to the 40th anniversary of Neil Armstrong’s walk on the moon, 2009;
-50th anniversary of Dr. Seuss’ “Green Eggs and Ham,” 2010;
-Replica of 1911 butter cow sculptures, including a calf, young boy and chicken. A sculpture of a young girl with a butterfly was added as a tribute to Norma “Duffy” Lyon, 2011;
-Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, 2012; and
-This year will feature a tribute to the Lincoln Highway and President Abe Lincoln.
20. D) Either music isn’t what it used to be or today’s generation lacks the appreciation for a good live show compared to their parents or grandparents — both are probably true, but statistically the Iowa State Fair Grandstand does not draw the crowds like it did in the ’70s. Then again, performers no longer put on two shows as they did back then. Record-holders for drawing the largest audience to Grandstand live music events are:
-Sonny and Cher with 26,200 in two shows in 1972;
-The Beach Boys with 25,400 flip-flop wearing wannabe beach bunnies in one show in 1975;
-Johnny Cash coaxed in 25,300 free-from-Folsom Prison folks in two shows in 1970;
-Chicago played to 24,700 in one show in 1974; and
-The Oak Ridge Boys drew 23,500 in two shows in 1982. Bob Dylan, on the other hand, barely seemed present during his 2001 performance.
21. B) Alabama played the Iowa State Fair stages in 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 1986, 1987, 1988, 1990, 1991 and 1998. The only other musical act that’s made more appearances at the fair is Lou Christie with 13 Grandstand appearances in 1981, 1982, 1987, 1988, 1989, 1991, 1993, 1995, 1996, 1997, 1999, 2004, 2005, plus free stage appearances in 2000 and 2008 and at the Blue Ribbon Weekend in 1992.
22. D) KC and the Sunshine Band has given free stage performances but never on the Grandstand. Entertainers who graduated from the free stage to the Grandstand include:
-John Michael Montgomery (free stage in 1993, Grandstand in 1995 and 1997);
-Bryan White (free stage in 1995, Grandstand in 1997 and 1998);
-Trick Pony (free stage 2001, Grandstand in 2002 and 2003);
-Gary Allen (free stage 1999, Grandstand in 2004, 2007, 2009 and 2013);
-Cross Canadian Ragweed (free stage 2004, Grandstand 2005);
-Dierks Bentley (free stage 2004, Grandstand 2007 and 2013);
-Shooter Jennings (free stage 2006, Grandstand 2008);
-Chuck Wicks (free stage 2008, Grandstand 2009);
-Candy Coburn (free stage 2008, Grandstand 2009, 2010);
-The Band Perry (free stage 2011, Grandstand 2012); and
-Tenth Avenue North (free stage 2011, Grandstand 2012).
23. C) During the Iowa State Fair the Des Moines Police Department will dedicate 10 to 14 officers per day to traffic- and parking-related issues for the area surrounding the State Fair Grounds, plus 16 cops assigned to patrol the area, some of whom will be in plain clothes.
24. D) The Des Moines Police Department made 15 arrests in the area surrounding the Iowa State Fair last year, the majority of which were for public intoxication.
25. D) Last year 272 charges were filed on 238 people, and the top three offenses were:
-Minor in possession of alcohol; and
For security reasons, the Department of Public Safety will not release the specific numbers of officers that will be working the Iowa State Fair this year. CV