Within the east side of the Des Moines, Iowa district, you would find a place that offers a vast opportunity to have fun in between your RVing! From Fair festivals to concerts, Iowa State Fairgrounds would never run out of activities they could offer!
The State Fair in Iowa State Fairgrounds is the single largest event in the State. (ISF) is one of the most significant industries and agricultural expositions in the country that annually attracts more than a million people worldwide!
Here in Iowa State Fairgrounds, you could choose from approximately twenty beautiful facilities, and from more or less, 200 events are held on the grounds annually. On top of that, you could enjoy your visit with its 160-acre campground facility, where you could camp out with your RVs just steps away from the Fair!
Here is the preview of necessary details that you must know before traveling to Iowa State Fairgrounds:
Busiest Season date
3000 East Grand Avenue, Des Moines, IA 50317
- Latitude: 39.9432,
- Longitude: -104.7882
- Elevation: 5,052 ft / 1,539 m
The Iowa State Fairgrounds sits at East 30th Street and East University Avenue; It is 10 minutes east of the downtown district of Des Moines. You could take the following routes:
Traveling to Northern Iowa: from I-35, you could take I-235 to Exit 10A, then you could head east on E University Avenue for about four miles towards the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Traveling to Southern Iowa: from I-35, you could take IA 5/US 65 to Exit 79, then you could head west on E University Avenue about four miles towards the Iowa State Fairgrounds.
Traveling to eastern Iowa: from I-80, you could take Exit 141 at Highway 65 Bypass.
You could travel south on Highway 65 to Exit 79.
You could head west on High 163 E University Avenue, for about three miles to the Iowa State Fairgrounds facility.
It is better to enter the Fair garage at E 36th as a left-hand turn might not be allowed into the grounds at E 33rd some times.
Traveling to western Iowa: From I-235, you could take Exit 10A, then you could head east on E University Avenue for about four miles towards the Fairground.
After they established Iowa State Fairgrounds in 1854, they started to host a State Fair every two years as their historic district affair.
The historic district annually attracts more than a million people worldwide. The Fair in Des Moines district is Iowa’s grand celebration, a salute to the national State’s best in agriculture, industry, amusement, and achievement. It is labeled the heartbeat of the Midwest, unequaled and unduplicated.
You could enjoy the eyesight of nature with its 160-acre grassy campground, where you could camp out with your RVs overlooking the affair and facilities.
It is home to many century-old trees, woodland flora, and small wildlife based on other reviews. The Campgrounds are easy to find and conveniently located just off Interstates 80 and 35. The Fair Campgrounds are the perfect place to enjoy the comforts of home and the city’s exciting eyesight. Check out Fair schedule Camping for specifics on encampments during the Fair.
Amenities at Iowa State Fairgrounds facility offer 2,300 areas with water and electrical hookups and 734 suites with sewers. There are also three large bathhouses with showers, toilets, and sinks that accommodate thousands.
There is a unique and safe shelter, an office, and a bathhouse completed in 2003. You could also find five dumping stations that provide convenient waste disposal for RVs and trailers users.
Larger groups could also make use of the Fairground facilities. They could use the exhibit buildings, picnic shelters, meeting rooms, arenas, and colossal car garage.
There’s an expert planning staff that would be glad to help you with all the details that can make your affair extra remarkable, all at a surprisingly low cost.
Fairgrounds facilities and services are available at a surprisingly low cost too. Requirements are simple: a signed contract and a certificate of insurance. You could start planning your Fairgrounds affair today. Here’s the review of each facility and service that the area offers.
Blue Ribbon Kids Club Membership
Yes! They offer Blue Ribbon Kids’ Club membership; It is Fair’s particular club for kids ten years and below; the club allows them to experience the Fair from a different perspective.
Blue Ribbon Kids’ members would get a glimpse of the Iowa State Fairgrounds heart and would become part of kids’ club activities.
Based on Labeled Members’ review, they would get hands-on experiences and receive a virtual birthday card and a monthly newsletter after signing up as a member.
The area offers three-car garages that can accommodate motorcycle and vehicle parking; it would cost $10 per vehicle or per motorcycle.
You could put your motorcycles in any lot. However, the northeast corner of the North parking lot, between the Gate one and Gate two entrances, is roped off for motorcycles.
Based on the review, the bicycle garage is available inside Gate eleven for free.
Besides, The largest garage area is for visitors who need ADA/accessible garage at the North Lot. You could enter this lot through Gate number two at East 33rd Street and East University Avenue.
For vehicles with either a DOT garage permit or a windshield placard, there is a reserved garage area north of Gate number 15. It could cost $10 on a space-available basis.
On Grounds Transportations
They offer courtesy carts; It is a golf cart mini-shuttle service from north garage lots to inner gates. Golf carts are not available for rent for reasons of safety and accountability. However, it is not wheelchair accessible.
They also offer shuttles; Trams provide convenient transportation on the lower Fairground at several spots. The review operates daily from 8 AM; these trams offer a curbside electric and hydraulic lift, making them wheelchair accessible.
Blue Line garage Shuttle is for the Fairgoer’s convenience; the Fair would now provide the Blue Line garage Shuttle; it is a free shuttle that runs daily from 5 AM until 2 AM.
The Blue Line Shuttle has six route stops and would stop at Gates number 13 and 15 to enter passengers to the Fair.
Disability Assistance and Wheelchair Rentals
The Iowa State Fair, America’s classic Fair, welcomes everyone in celebration of pride and achievement held annually in August.
The Fair Board made the grounds, facilities, and services accessible to all. No one based on disability should be left behind from participating in programs and activities hosted at the State Fairground.
And for assistance, they also offer wheelchair and scooter rentals within the grounds. HomeTown Mobility is the provider of exclusive scooter and wheelchair rental. They are accepting reservations online or by calling 1-877-928-5388 from 9 AM to 5 PM Mondays to Fridays.
The Iowa State Fairgrounds are also open seven days a week during peak season when there’s a Fair or event so they could accept call-in reservations and answer customers’ questions.
Take note that for all call-in reservations, there would be an additional $5 processing fee. If you fail to make online or call-in reservations, there are still wheelchairs and scooters available for walk-in customers, limited to a first-come, first-serve basis.
However, they would only accept reservations for full day Scooter and Wheelchair rentals. You must make a reservation within 24 hours in advance, and for cancellations, you must cancel 48 hours in advance to receive a refund with less $5 cancellation fee.
They would also require you to bring or have a driver’s license or a State ID for all rentals and
You could find a rental site at Gate 8, 10, 11, 13, and 15.
It would cost you $65 per full day from 8 AM to 11 PM, and $45 per half-day from 8 AM to 3 PM or 3 PM to 11 PM to renting a scooter. While renting a wheelchair would cost $25 per day.
For further assistance, they also offer assisted listening devices available at places where they use the Fair’s sound system, including the Penningroth Center Cattle Barn.
Also at Pioneer Livestock Pavilion, Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Center, Sheep Barn Sale Ring, and Swine Barn Sale Ring.
You could call 515 262-3111 at a minimum of 72 hours in advance for more information. During the 11 days Fair, a Telecommunications Device for the Deaf (TDD) would be available from 8 AM to 8 PM for outgoing local calls situated in the Administration Building.
Dart State Fair Garage and Ride Buses
You could show your advanced Fair admission ticket at one of DART’s three State Fair Park and Ride locations, and you would receive half off the round-trip fare.
The car garage is free at all DART areas from 8:30 AM to midnight every day of the Fair.
They would drop off and pick up fairgoers at the DART Transit Hub at Gate ten (10) within the Fairground.
Round-trip fares are only available for cash payment, and all buses are wheelchair accessible. For adults ages 11 to 64, they would have to pay $2; for children ages 6 to 10, there’s a $1 fee.
For adults 65 years and older, Medicare cardholders, and people with disabilities, they would pay half-fare, but five years and younger are free of charge for children.
For discounts, you could show your Iowa State Fairgrounds advance admission ticket, or you could use the MyDART app to receive half off the round-trip fare.
For more details, you could call DART at 515-283-8100 or email them at email@example.com.
The area accommodates more than 200 events, and most significant affairs occur in these grandstands, including sports and concerts.
You could find vault toilets around the ground and restrooms within the facilities such as museums, grandstands, and other extensive facilities you could find with the Fairground.
State Fair Museum Complex
Started at the 2005 Fair, the museum sits northeast of Pioneer Hall. This Gallery also offers Fairgoers an opportunity to celebrate Norma “Duffy” Lyon’s 40-year plus butter sculpting career. Look back at amusement found on the midway. You could follow the evolution of the Campgrounds and take in other exhibits on unforgettable Fair legacies.
The original Iowa State Fairgrounds museum, known as Ralph H. Deets Historical Museum, reopened for the 2007 Fair after an extensive renovation and restoration. It sits just beside Pioneer Hall and boasts historical records, antique furniture, and many more.
The Ralph H. Deets Historical Museum, The Richard L Easter Museum Complex featuring the Richard O. Jacobson Hall is open daily but only during the Fair schedule.
Iowa State Fairgrounds has a lot of activities to provide. Aside from an annual summer Fair, they also offer many unique and fun activities and host affairs that you could enjoy.
Regular campers are the people who have a permanent spot yearly during the ISF. These campers have mailed in a form to be on the ground’s waitlist each year, and after years of patiently waiting, they finally have been granted a permanent encamp spot that they would use every day.
Date of Registration opens on May 1, 2021. For more questions, you could contact the Iowa State Fairgrounds office.
Fair time Encamp
Reasonable time encamp is a great way to experience the fun and festivities of Iowa State Fairgrounds’ biggest celebration!
Based on the review, every August, thousands of visitors from the Midwest put their RVs or Trailers and pitch their tents during the Fair schedule.
During the affairs, the Campgrounds usually accommodate more than 2,300 sites that offer full hookups, including 734 suites and three large bathhouses.
Fair schedule encamp is Flexible, Versatile, Affordable. It opens from mid-April to mid-October.
It features 160 acres of gently rolling woodlands, just minutes from city shopping, dining and amusements, Economical rates, 24-hour security.
Iowa State Fairgrounds facilities and planning staff are available for larger groups and affairs, including groups that require a large number of spaces.
Severe weather storm shelter is available in the campgrounds upon entering the grounds, but you must bring a valid confirmation if you have a reservation before arriving.
Unlisted campers are the people who want a permanent spot, but they have not received one yet.
These campers would need to mail in a form yearly to gain seniority. Encamp at the Fair is a favorite tradition for many families.
And based on the review, some have been on the waiting list for over 20 years, so patience is necessary.
Aside from the food and the rides that the Iowa State Fairgrounds could offer, they also host numerous events each year; these affairs are seasonal and depend on the yearly event plans.
It would be helpful for you to check their website or call 800 5143849 for further data.
If you want to receive alerts about upcoming events and other ISF updates, you could text FAIR and send it to 75782.
Take note; they also offer free entertainment during the Fair season; based on reviews, it is the Fair’s highlight every year with approximately a million attendees for 11 days. This time would be the best time to visit Iowa!
Iowa Fair Attractions
By visiting the ISF, you could get plenty of opportunities to experience the fun, thrill, and excitement that this place could offer!
Based on the reviews, they feature Iowa State Fair Thrill parks, where you could ride a jaw-dropping roller coaster ride, share a corn dog and wear a purple ribbon.
They also offer Thriller Ville, where you could enjoy the most thrilling amusement rides; this provides a clean and family-friendly setting but mainly focuses on the jaw-dropping and super-speed rides. You could find this spot between the Grandstand and Ye Old Mill.
Little Fairgoers with their families would find fun in Thrill Tow that offers kid-friendly rides! You could see this spot east of Gate ten, directly north of the Richard O. Jacobson Exhibition Lawn.
Lastly, they offer Thrill zone; it is a spot perfect for fairgoers seeking a breathtaking, heart-stopping, hair-raising adventure. You would love to visit this spot; it is north of Gate eleven on the Fairground.
For event pass, advanced adult admission for 12 years old and up is $9, children Advanced Admission for Ages 6 to 11 years old is $5, and 5 years old below are free of charge.
Vet camp and Advanced Vet Camps
Vet Camp is a fun, hands-on learning program to encourage 4th to 7th graders to learn about the animal’s health and welfare; the program also allows them to experience what it is like to be an animal doctor.
They also offer advanced Vet Camp for 8th to 12th graders who already have an interest in Veterinary Medicine.
It is a two-hour program that focuses on large and small animal veterinary medicine and information about attending vet school.
The Vet Camp and Advanced Vet Camps are free of charge; the Fair admission fee covers this program. However, slots are limited and fill up fast! It is one of the most awaited educational activities here, based on the other reviews.
To sign up, you could email them at firstname.lastname@example.org o call 515.401.1544 for inquiries.
Little Hands on the Farm
Situated in Kids Zone, Little Hands on the Farm educates the children about the importance of agriculture and how it affects their daily lives in a fun, exciting, and interactive way.
Children 2 to 10 years old would become farmers at this free and hands-on exhibit.
Children would have a gathering basket and proceed along a path that includes a garden, grain bin, apple orchard, chicken coop, tractor shed, sheep barn, and dairy barn.
Then, after gathering particular items along the way, they would get the chance to sell these items at the Little Hands on the Farm.
There is a Farmers’ Market for the Little Hands. The dollar is to spend at the Grocery Store for such items as a piece of fruit, a granola bar, or an ice cream sandwich.
Based on some parents’ reviews, this spot is excellent for anyone who wants their kids to learn and have fun at the same time.
Fair Queen Competition
The annual ISF Queen competition happens every the ISF. It is a competition where county queens from all over the State of Iowa come together to vie for the coveted crown.
The judgment is by personality, leadership, attitude, citizenship, contribution to the community, overall appearance, including charm and poise.
Based on the reviews, this competition is also one of the most awaited events in ISF.
The following are the information and encamp rules in ISF. Failure to comply with the laws and regulations could result in eviction from the campgrounds. Read carefully.
- All pre-listed campers would have to bring their trailer by August 12 at 10:00 PM, or they would sell your spot to another camper! If you are late, you must call the grounds office to inform your late arrival.
- Reselling or subletting a campsite is not allowed.
- Each campsite needs to be reserved individually by one party per application.
- If an occupant leaves his campsite unoccupied, and upon returning, he would find the camp filled, the returning occupant would receive the closest available space. It is best to garage something on your spot already to reserve that spot. We ground management would not be held responsible.
- Employees of the ISF need to pay for their area too.
- Campsite fees are not refundable.
- Advance Registrations end on June 14.
- Unlisted campers could come to the grounds and stage for an unlisted space. The daily staging fee is $15 on the first day, then $10 per day until Sunday.
- Campers do not need to keep their tow vehicle connected to their trailer.
- The campgrounds are open for unlisted campers to enter to locate a campsite from 1 PM.
- One should drive vehicles on the Campgrounds after 10:00 PM.
- Excessive noise that would disturb other campers is not allowed.
- On one should operate generators already before 7 AM or after 10 AM in the west overflow. However; Generators within the east overflow are allowed to run 24 hours per day.
- You should not dispose of drainage water or sewage on the surface of the ground. If you get caught, you would be asked to leave the Campgrounds and not return for the following year. The rule includes “GRAY WATER.”
- Violation of any rule might revoke all of your Campgrounds permits on the spot.
- An hour PASS is for those individuals wishing to make deliveries to any camper. The time of admission is on the pass.
- People with a pass that remains in the Campgrounds after the hour limit would have to pay a $10.00 fine plus $2.00 for each hour over the time limit.
Note: The Gate Staff checks the passes upon exiting the Campgrounds.
Visitors could park for an hour for $10.00* per day.
- Bicycles, mopeds, or golf carts are not allowed in the Campgrounds.
- Wood Fires and enclosed smoker is not any kind is not allowed.
- Charcoal fires are the only fire type allowed.
- Not all spots are 20 feet wide; the length varies to the Campgrounds.
- Your listed encamp vehicle assigned to your encamp spot is the only vehicle listed in their system, and it has to be on that spot within the duration of the Fair. If your alternate encamp unit is brought in and placed on your encamp spot, they would add an encamp charge to your remaining days.
- Garage permit stickers would allow you to come in and out of the Campground gate.
- They would place the stickers inside your windshield; your lot number is on it.
- If you would go home and decide to bring a different vehicle back, you must place stickers on the car you drive back into the Campgrounds.
- They will tow any vehicle found in the Campgrounds without this car sticker.
- They are doing this because they had many vehicles in the Campgrounds that did not have stickers. Many of these vehicles were on an encamp spot in which they did not belong.
- Pets must be on a leash 6 feet. Never leave your pets alone or roaming around the ground.
- Except for service animals, pets are not allowed in bathrooms or showers.
- The owner must pick up buildings and pet waste or droppings and be disposed of properly.
- Do not attach pet leashes, ropes, chains, clotheslines, etc., to trees or shrubs.
- Space could only be purchased when you enter the campgrounds with your RV or trailers.
- You could not pay for a site and set up a tent to hold the space for a camper, which will arrive later.
- No building tents, vehicles used to save unlisted areas for later arrivals.
- You can not use Romex wire in place of extension cords. And you must avoid peak cooling times in cooking, if possible.
- The Campgrounds offers a booster station that allows constant pressure in the range of 40-60 psi that the amount of force may cause damage to plumbing fittings on your camper.
- The ISF strongly advises using a pressure regulator for your camper; It is a standard reduction valve available at all camper supply outlets. It would reduce pressure to 40-45 psi.
- The ISF would not assume any responsibility for damage caused to your camper if you opt not to install or use this pressure regulator.
- If you plug into two electrical outlets, you must pay an additional $48.00 fee.
- Anyone caught with a counterfeit car pass would be asked to remove their camper from the campgrounds without a refund and may forfeit their advanced encamp designation.
- All vehicles must have either a 1-hour pass or even a car pass if they will exit the campgrounds. Failure to present one may result in a $35 encamp fee.
- No heavy machinery is allowed into the campgrounds to assist in leveling.
RV Essentials going to Des Moines fairgrounds
The Iowa State Fairgrounds is a famous spot for RVers who love the Fair. And if you plan to visit this place and stay for a couple of days, you must prepare not just your bags but also your camper.
Here we listed some RV gadgets and equipment that you might want to check or change.
RV GPS: To quickly find Iowa State Fairgrounds without wasting time, we recommend choosing the best RV GPS for your camper. A very helpful gadget for your trip.
RV Air conditioner: Since the Fair occurs every summer, you would need an Air conditioner. We recommend acquiring the best RV air conditioner to have a comfortable stay while enjoying the thrill and fun of the Fair.
RV Dehumidifier: To escape humid weather, particularly during summer, we recommend getting the best RV Dehumidifier to keep you and your RV calm and happy.
RV LED Bulb – An source of light is necessary on camp trips, and a LED bulb could be great for your RVs. To get the best-LED Bulb, you could stop by some RV stores in you.
Rv Sofa Bed: To sleep comfortably in your camper, we recommend acquiring the best RV Sofa Bed and mattress for your trailer.
RV Toilet Paper – If you are tired of fixing a clogged plumbing system, then recommend choosing the best Toilet paper that suits your RV.
Camping Essentials at Iowa State Fairgrounds
To help you pack your things quickly but efficiently, we have prepared a detailed list of what you should bring on a camp trip.
Personal, Hygiene, and self-care needs
- Comfortable shoes: You could wear or bring any shoes, but always consider your comfort in choosing footwear. You are going to camp on a campground with an amusement park, so choose wisely.
- Pair of slippers or sandals: If you plan to stay longer, you might want to bring a couple of them.
- Spare clothes: If you are going to stay for days, then you must bring extra clothes.
- Body and Face Towels: To keep yourself clean, you must bring body and face towels that you could use to take a bath in between your camps.
- Sunscreens: The Fair happens every summer, and if you do not want to suffer from sunburns, bringing sunscreen would be a great option.
- Sun sunglasses: If you want to protect your eyes from the brightness of sun rays, you would need some sunglasses.
- Hats: You could also bring a hat to protect your face from sun heat while enjoying the Fair.
- Insect repellent: You would need a bottle of insect repellent, mostly at night.
- Umbrellas: Umbrellas are for either sun protection or rain protection.
- Toothbrushes and toothpaste: Of course, toothbrush and toothpaste is a must-have travel need.
- Shampoo and Hair Conditioners: You must bring your shampoo, conditioners, or other hair care needs.
- Soap or body wash: To keep yourself clean all the time, bring a bar of soap or a body wash is a must.
- Hand sanitizers or rubbing alcohol: To keep your hands free from germs, you must bring a bottle or two of sanitizers or alcohol.
- Other bath and skincare essentials: Skincare needs includes lotions, moisturizers, and other products that you usually use.
- First aid kit: Although there’s always a clinic or emergency care unit in public places such as parks, bringing a first aid kit is still needed.
- Medicines: It would help bring necessary medications; you could get some cough, headache, stomach ache, etc.
- Foldable tables and chairs: Although most of the area offers picnic tables, there are still places with few or even none.
- Portable Stove or grill: Since most campers cook their meals, then a stove or grill is a must-have.
- Fuels, lighters, or matches: You must bring anything to make for fire for cooking.
- Cooler box or storage box: You could get some food storage boxes to organize the food and snacks you would bring.
- Chopping board and a knife: You could use this in cooking meals while tenting.
- Eating utensils: You must bring eating utensils such as spoons, forks, cups, mugs, bowls; you could bring disposable utensils.
- Bring dishcloth and soap: If you opt to bring non-disposable utensils, then getting a dishwashing soap or liquid and a sponge is necessary.
- Can and bottle opener: You must also carry some can or bottle opener for canned goods bottled drinks.
Building Tent and other must-have
- Spare batteries: You must bring extra batteries for torches, lamps, and radios.
- Power banks: Some areas do not offer electrical hookups, so you must get a power bank to charge your mobile phones.
- Cables and charges: There are still areas that provide electricity, mostly in cabins, so you should also bring your chargers not just for your phone but also for other gadgets.
- Tent repair kit: You might need a tent repair kit from time to time, so you must bring one with you during your trips.
- Beddings: For comfortable encampments, get some bedding like sleeping bags, mats or Camp beds, pillows, comforters, and an air pump only if you have an airbed.
Important Documents for Event
- Reservations, bookings: Reservation certificates are sometimes needed to comfort your bookings; you should never forget them.
- Camping permit: Some areas require a camping permit; make sure to bring yours.
- Fishing or Hunting License: If you have plans on fishing or hunting, obtain your licenses; if you don’t have it yet, make sure to get one already before your trip.
- Extra cash: Some areas do not accept cards, so make sure to bring extra money with you.
- Identification Cards: IDs are essential to verify your personal information when you make a reservation in a particular area.
For those who prefer staying in hotels rather than staying in the campgrounds, we have listed some of the nearby hotels you could stay in based on the reviews of other travelers:
Here are the restaurants near the Iowa State Fairgrounds based on the reviews of other travelers:
The following are campground rates during the Fair and the offseason:
Type of site
Rate of site
Advanced Registration with Water, Sewer, and Electric
Advanced Registration with Water and Electric
Advanced Registration without Electric
One Night Basis with Electric
One Night Basis without Electric
Sewer Hook-up (per day if available)
Car Parking (In Campground Lot)
One night basis for tents only
Buy Tickets for Admission
- Admission vouchers are valid for one-time admission to the ISF for any day, from August 12 to 22, 2021.
- It is not valid with any other discount or offer.
- No refunds, no exchanges, no replacement voucher.
- They ship Coupons and vouchers every two weeks.
- Customers may choose to print admission vouchers at home.
Buy Tickets for Grandstand
- Only iowastatefair.org and etix.com merchandise are the legit online vouchers for the ISF Grandstand.
- Other online ticket brokers may imply they are legit; it can’t guarantee vouchers purchased from other sources are legitimate.
- Children 2 years old and below do not need a Grandstand ticket.
- See concert maps for reserved and seated or standing pit areas.
- Convenience charges apply to all merchandise vouchers. Grandstand tickets do not include Fair admission.
Suppose you are up to fun, thrill, and excitement while camping, Yes! This place might be perfect for you. From the campgrounds, museums, grandstand to all the Iowa State Fairgrounds activities, it would help you never run out of things to do.
We hope you found all the information you needed already before traveling to Iowa, and we hope that our reviews would help plan your trip to Iowa thoroughly through our guide.