Nine Things Eastern Des Moines locals go through during the Iowa State Fair

iowa state fair


The state fair is an 11 day annual event that brings great joy to many. But to those who live near the fairgrounds there is a certain dread every year when that first batch of campers comes rolling into town. The following are why those of us who live near the fairgrounds aren’t always thrilled the fair has arrived.

  1. Not everyone profits off of parking like those who live directly in front of the fair. Yes, they get to pay for replacement grass seed  and the hassle of parking cars/cranky people but they’re making money by waving a stick at people all day.

  2. The grocery stores are overrun by people who can be best described as having a “deer in headlights” expression on their faces. These are mainly the campers who have ventured outside of the campgrounds for supplies and appear to have completely forgotten how to grocery shop once they cross the grocery store’s parking lot. One fast way to know their campers versus regular grocery shoppers? They’ll have lengthy conversations right in front of the store entrance and refuse to move for anyone trying to get into the store. Once they’re in the store, they’ll do this again and block any and all aisles you’re trying to get to.

  3. Parking lots of said grocery stores are suddenly filled with mud spattered trucks that somehow cannot be parked within the confines of one parking spot and always manage to take up if not one and a half,  a full 2 parking spots.

  4.  So many men in overalls who are not wearing them to be ironic.

  5. Drunks who have ventured from the fair are especially fighty and should be handled with much care if encountered.

  6. The days leading up to the fair are a small parade of campers driving 10 miles an hour first on the interstate/by-pass and then through the east side.  They’ll easily get lost even though there are a lot of large, bright orange signs saying State Fair this way to the campgrounds. These people will then go through the entire east side and even  Altoona, if they’re especially lost, aimlessly looking for their turn off until they notice other campers and start following them.

  7. Once the fair ends though, said campers will speed through the east side as fast as their 2 ton metal homes will go. Mailboxes better get out of the way because these campers gots to get home, leaving a trail of trash in their wake.

  8.  University Avenue is to be avoided like it is filled with hungry zombies that happen to shoot vampire bees out of their mouths.

  9. We have the consolation of knowing the discomfort will be for about 3 weeks and we’ll have a full year off from the shenanigans.


For ideas of free things to do while you’re in Des Moines, click here. For ideas of where to grab lunch outside of the fair, click here.


Carnival in the Countryside: The History of the Iowa State Fair $27.50 @



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