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Explore the States Iowa
Photo of girl holding baby pig
Bayley Rustad of Des Moines learns a little about rural Iowa farm life in the Iowa State Fair's Swine Barn, August 17, 1999

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Iowa State Fair
A Local Legacy

Iowa is a state of farms. It is one of the leading producers of food in America, and its annual state fair celebrates Iowa's important contributions to the nation's well being.

Since 1854, people from every corner of the state have flocked to Des Moines for the annual Iowa State Fair every August. The fair is the state's largest event, attracting nearly 1 million visitors a year -- not only from Iowa but also from all over the Midwest. The fair's primary purpose is to celebrate Iowa's livelihood -- farming. There are livestock shows, including exhibitions of dairy and beef cattle, sheep, hogs, horses and poultry. The fair also provides a place for farmers to meet and discuss innovations, equipment, and successes. There is also a place where visitors can hold the baby animals.

In addition to animals there are many other activities at the fair. Some people show off their cooking skills or compete in a talent show. In the cultural center, the fair hosts the state's largest arts show, featuring photography, sculpture, and painting.

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