State fairs began in the 18th century to promote agriculture through livestock shows and displays of agricultural products. The first Iowa State Fair in 1854 was held in Fairfield with competitions for the highest grain yields, oat and corn samples, and even a collection of birds from across the state.
Fast forward to today and there have been countless changes to the State Fair with new features, big and small, being introduced regularly. As in so many years past, regular State Fair visitors can still find new things to do aside from trying one of the 53 new foods for 2022, including three vying for best of the year.
Here are five notable additions to this year’s proceedings. While many of the following events are free after admission, keep in mind that admission to the fair is not included in the price of the paid events.
What was new last year?:New at the 2021 Iowa State Fair: Here are the new, expanded items
World record for largest cornhole tournament
This year, the organizers of the Iowa State Fair announced that they will attempt to break a world record for the world’s largest cornhole tournament.
To achieve this, organizers are looking to recruit at least 445 participants to play the Grand Concourse at the Cornhole Fairgrounds on August 20 at 10am.
The current world record was set with 444 players participating in a tournament in San Diego.
Anyone interested in participating in the State Fair tournament can do so through the Scoreholio app for iOS and Android and follow the registration link.
More:Wanted: 445 Iowans to break a Guinness World Record at the Iowa State Fair
Sensory friendly morning at the Iowa State Fair
For the first time ever, the Iowa State Fair plans to offer a sensory-friendly morning for those with autism, PTSD, or sensory processing disorders.
Because the sounds and lights that the State Fair typically produces can be over-stimulating for some, the morning of August 17 will feature features that might be helpful to those who are unable to attend normally. According to a State Fair press release, these implementations include the introduction of a calming room, designated educational areas, and mitigation of noise and movement.
“We have a good understanding of what physical accessibility looks like, and now making spaces more accessible in a broader sense… (is) the next, more inclusive chapter of accessibility,” Daniel Van Sant, director of disability policy at the Harkin Institute – an institute for public policy at Drake University – told the Des Moines Register last year when speaking about adapting to invisible disabilities.
More:As sensory disorders gain recognition, efforts to accommodate them are growing in central Iowa as well
As the state fairs officials say, “There’s nothing like it at the fairgrounds. The renovated, state-of-the-art kitchen is designed around teaching, learning and sharing. Whether you’re just curious about cooking and baking or you’re the envy of your friends and family, you’re invited to stop, sit down for a minute and learn from some amazing Iowans.”
Located at the Maytag Family Theaters, The Kitchen is a place where attendees can learn new hobbies, from mixology to charcuterie to food styling and photography. There are free sessions each day of operation that may include tips on building a wedding cake, making cupcake animals, and even creating a meal plan.
Fair officials have also created some paid courses that require prior registration.
State Fair Cup by Motorsport Racing
For this year’s State Fair, Kruse Motorsports introduces the inaugural Iowa State Fair Short Course UTV & ATV Racing Cup.
The all-ages event will be held August 13 at Elwell Family Park, another relatively new addition to the 6,000-seat State Fair, from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tickets for those ages 12 and up are $15, prices for those ages 2 to 11 are $10, and entry to the pit is $25.
The competition represents the second phase of Elwell Family Park’s launch, which this year includes the addition of grandstands and covered seating. Those interested in competing in this year’s UTV & ATV Racing Cup are encouraged to register online.
Butter Cow Companions
The Iowa State Fair’s butter cow is far from a new face for the year, but – as past fairgoers will know – the butter cow is generally accompanied by an additional sculpture each year.
This year’s buttery beef is accompanied by a tribute to “The Music Man,” the 1957 Broadway musical written by Meredith Williamson of Mason City.
More:The 2022 Iowa State Fair Butter Cow will be joined by the Music Man and Ye Old Mill sculptures
The 600-pound butter cow will also have another companion piece in the form of a relief celebrating the 100th anniversary of the Ye Old Mill, a 1,500-foot canal ride at the Iowa State Fair that was first built in 1921.
For more information on the above events or to register, visit www.iowastatefair.org.
More news for the 2022 Iowa State Fair
Isaac Hamlet covers arts, entertainment and culture in the Des Moines Register. You can reach him at email@example.com or 319-600-2124, follow him on Twitter @IsaacHamlet.
Susan Stapleton is Entertainment Editor at The Des Moines Register. follow her on facebook, Twitter or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.