Getting ready for the Iowa State Fair

IPTV's Steve Carns getting ready for shot on the east side of the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

One of the cool parts of this job at Iowa Public Television is getting paid to go to the Iowa State Fair.

I’m sure I’m not supposed to say that too loudly (we pay for our tickets like everybody else, but they don’t make us pay for them, that’s part of our cost of doing business) but it is true, I like going to the fair. This year I’ll be out there a few times during the August 12-22 run for some “Non Stop Fun.”

As a producer who’s show has been on a summer vacation the last two years, I’ve been assigned to do stories BEFORE the Iowa State Fair.

Ready for some corndogs?

Last year that meant a look at the Jacobson Exhibition Center under construction and the Blue Ribbon Foundation’s Corn Dog Kickoff.

These are pieces shot before the fair that run during our coverage on IPTV. They help us cover more parts of the fair and get out and travel the state a little bit more.

This year I’m looking for 3 stories to do ahead of the fair. Any ideas?

What have we covered in the past? Click here.
Want to get in the mood for the 2010 Fair by watching some 2009 highlights? Click here. Maybe the Demolition Derby? Or what about the ladies’ nail driving competition? Or how about those bears that can do all the fun tricks?

Noah getting a ride at the Iowa State Fair

I also like going to the fair with my family. I’ve done that for years with my sisters and parents, now I get to take my kids. This year will be Levi’s first Iowa State Fair.

Last year Amy was like 11 months pregnant with Levi (or I think that’s how she felt) so it wasn’t that much fun for her.

But we got to see Clifford and Dan Wardell at the ISF, so all wasn’t lost.

Noah says hello along with Clifford.

If you’ve got any ideas, email me at or drop in the comments below.

If you’ve got ideas for stories during the fair we should cover drop those to me as well.

Otherwise, we’ll see you at the fair.


  1. At almost every show I perform, at least one adult comes up to me after the show and says “Ive never seen a puppet show before. That was wonderful!”
    what are the people in charge of entertainment doing to help aleviate this? Especially as there are 2 sources of puppet show venues available within this state?
    How varied are the arts shown? What Else (besides puppetry) aren’t our citizens being exposed to? And why?

  2. As a second part to my earlier question. I am interested to know what new & interesting arts that ARE showcased at the fair. I am sure that those in charge work hard to bring new art venues here. The central question would be ‘What criteria are used to decide what art (music, dance etc), is showcased at our state fair?

  3. Those are good ideas. I don’t know what the criteria is used to help find new art for the ISF. I know they try new things each year.

    I will look into the criteria.

    About the puppets, I’m not sure. But you can be sure I’ll be asking about that as well.

    Thanks for leaving the comments.

  4. How about reminding folks that the 4-H Exhibits Building is still there (behind the new exhibition/arena building in the SW part of the grounds) and full of all the great 4-H exhibits, ideas, opportunities and people you’ve come to expect?

    The new building effectively hides the 4-H Building from much of the fairgrounds and goers. In fact, last year I overheard someone near the Varied Industries Building ask if the 4-H Building was gone or closed because they couldn’t see it anymore.

    A great video to show on one of the “during the fair” broadcasts would be the speeded-up version of the final pre-fair day of setting up the 4-H building. It’s amazing to see what happens in that initially empty space in just a matter of hours.

    • Sherry—

      I like those ideas. I know we do some 4-H stories, but a timelapse of the final hours would be cool.

      What would be the empty to full timeframe? Like Monday to Wednesday or even just all day Wednesday?

      We are doing something on the Jacobson Building, we can try to wedge in that 4H is still present and accounted for.

      Thanks for taking time to drop me a few ideas.


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