Iowa State Fair Overview


Coming from Minnesota, I had only heard stories about the Iowa State Fair throughout my childhood and young adulthood.  I attended a non-fair function on their grounds in 1990 but for some reason found the grounds to be small, even though they are far larger than memory served me attending as an adult.  I had always heard good things about the Iowa State Fair but my perspective was jaded by the 2000 report that police were going to crack down on teen smokers on the fairgrounds, having nonuniformed officers ticket underage smokers.  I was infuriated and feared that it would catch on in the Minnesota State Fair.  Not only did that not happen, but the practice was quickly abandoned in Iowa.

It was likely that reason that kept my confidence and morale low about sightings prospects at the Iowa State Fair when I attended for the first time in 2006, the year I moved to the state.  Within an hour after arrival, a flurry of outstanding sightings quickly erased my preconceived notions about the fair and made clear that previous efforts to crack down on teen smokers were apparently abandoned.  That first day at the ISF was spectacular.  The following three years were all pretty decent, but didn’t quite live up to my Minnesota State Fair adventures, so I always found the venue to be somewhat of a second-tier venue compared to Minnesota.  My theory on this is that the Iowa State Fair is a more agricultural and family-oriented environment than the more cosmopolitan Minnesota State Fair, bringing a somewhat different demographic of fairgoers that was less likely to smoke.

But just when I began to get comfortable with this narrative the 2010 Iowa State Fair would produce one of my best sightings days of all time.  And the 2011 Iowa State Fair, while not quite as Earth-shattering, was still considerably better than my early years in the venue.  Overall, the logistics of the ISF aren’t quite as perfect as Minnesota’s, with steep hills that wear down the feet much earlier in the evening than the MNSF grounds following an intense full day of fetishing.  The ISF’s timing in early-to-mid August tends to produce steamier days than the late August/early September MNSF as well.  Plus, the smaller grounds (less than half of MNSF) tend to mean fewer overall numbers annually than its neighbor to the north.  But all these things are inconsequential when you hit the perfect day or night and nail a number of impressive sightings.  The Iowa State Fair hasn’t lived up to the Minnesota State Fair every year, but it has proven it is capable of doing so.

Number of Sightings Per Year At the ISF

2006–85

2007, Saturday–70

2007, Wednesday evening–50

2008, Saturday–101

2008, Wednesday evening–52

2009, Saturday–107

2009, Tuesday evening–64

2010, Saturday–136

2010, Wednesday evening–83

2011, Saturday–143

2011, Wednesday evening–97

2012, Saturday–109

2012, Wednesday evening–80

2013, Saturday–114

2013, Wednesday evening–61

2014, First Saturday–141

2014, Wednesday evening–68

2014, Second Saturday–111

2015, Saturday–122

2015, Wednesday–89

2016, Saturday–124

2016, Wednesday–51

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