Visit Us at the Iowa State Fair!

By Kelly Visser, Iowa Food & Family Project


The Iowa State Fair is the ultimate intersection of food, family and agriculture, which exemplifies the mission of the Iowa Food & Family Project (Iowa FFP)! Whether it’s meeting 4-H kids, learning about animals, enjoying a fair food made from Iowa grown and raised products, or floating high above crowds on the sky glider, fairgoers make lifelong memories during the iconic 11-day event.

If you’ve ever stopped by the Iowa FFP exhibt, you’ve likely seen imaginative “canstruction,” Lego artwork, sand creations or balloon sculptures! This year, we’re mixing things up with an entirely new display that offers fairgoers a unique perspective about agriculture, farm families, food and food retailers. You can find us in the South Atrium of the Varied Industries Building from 9 a.m. to 9 p.m.

More than 40,000 fairgoers are expected to “follow a farmer” through our one-of-a-kind combination barn-and-home, complete a short quiz and enter to win several fabulous prizes including a $500 meat and dairy bundle, $500 Hy-Vee Gift Card, $500 Earl May Dream Garden and Casey’s Pizza for a Year!



Visitors can take their turn at the Food and Farm Trivia Wheel and meet celebrity artists as they paint a larger-than-life mural celebrating Iowa and the families and food that grow here. Our celebrity guest painters, include:

  • Chuck Long | Thursday, August 9 at 1 p.m.
  •  Mike Naig | Saturday, August 11 at 1:30 p.m.
  • Cy and the Iowa State University Cheer Squad | Wednesday, August 15 at 1 p.m.
  • Herky | Wednesday, August 15 at 2 p.m.
  • Governor Kim Reynolds | Thursday, August 16 at 1 p.m.

Follow the along with us on Facebook for live updates from the fair.

Iowa State Fair by the Numbers

It takes a lot of volunteers, food and fuel to power the fair each year, and Iowa’s farm groups play a huge part in making it happen! Here are a few fair food fun facts:

  • Approximately 160,000 eggs on a stick are handed out each year.
  •  The Iowa Cattlemen's Beef Quarters serves 28,000 pounds of beef each year.
  • On average, more than 7,100 gallons of ice cream are served at the Dairy Barn.
  • Each year, 75,000 pork chops are served.
  • Beer and hot dogs are fair favorites that are made with corn.
  • The turkey grill opened in 1983.
  • The fair spans 400 acres. A farmer can grow 94,000 bushels of corn or 26,000 bushels of soybeans on 400 acres.
  • A world record for the most people simultaneously eating corn dogs was set at the fair in 2008, with 8,400 corn dogs consumed!


Iowa State “Fare” Cookbook

You can continue enjoying fair food all year long with recipes from Iowa Food & Family Project’s Iowa State “Fare” Cookbook. The cookbook serves up tried and true recipes created by Cristen Clark, a farmer, award winning-cook and fair aficionado. Click here to download a copy of the cookbook.

Beef & Noodle Sundaes

Prep Time: 45 minutes
Cook Time: 8 hours
Servings: 8




  • 1 – 3 lb. beef chuck roast
  •  2 teaspoons Lawry’s seasoned salt
  • 1 teaspoon cracked black pepper
  • 2 bay leaves
  • 4 cups beef stock
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • Salt and pepper
  • Mashed potatoes, 4-6 cups prepared (two packets of instant mashed potatoes)
  • Sweet corn, 3 cups prepared
  • One, 1 lb. package of egg noodles cooked to package directions, drained
  • One bunch green onions, chopped finely
  • One small container of cherry tomatoes

Cook roast, salt, pepper, bay leaves and 1 ½ cups of beef stock on low in the slow cooker for 8 hours. Remove meat from pan, shred and discard excess fat. Set aside.

With remaining juices, strain 3 tablespoons fat off and place in large skillet over medium heat. Add 3 tablespoons of flour and whisk together, cook for one minute. Add remaining liquids that have been strained of excess fat, whisk well. Add remaining beef stock and continue whisking while gravy comes to a simmer. Simmer gravy for a couple of minutes until thick. Season with salt and pepper to taste.

Remove from heat. Fold in cooked egg noodles and shredded beef.

In serving vessels (bowls, ice cream glasses or layer in a large casserole dish and serve family style) add a generous amount of mashed potatoes, a layer of corn, layer beef and noodles with gravy, and a cherry tomato or two on top. Garnish with chopped green onions. Serve warm.

Nutrition per serving: 517 Calories, 13.1 Total Fat, 85.8 Cholesterol, 1021.0mg Sodium, 75.6g Carbohydrate, 6.5g Fiber, 27.3g Protein

Watch a video tutorial here.