© 2022 Iowa Public Radio
Play Live Radio
Next Up:
Available On Air Stations

Iowa State Fair Kicks Off After 2020 Cancellation

John Pemble
Iowa State Fair officials cut the ribbon for the opening day of the 2021 Iowa State Fair.

Gov. Kim Reynolds welcomed fairgoers to the opening of the 2021 Iowa State Fair to a round of applause: "Yay welcome back to the Iowa State Fair!”

She said it’s good to be back after 2020’s fair was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic. Although the crowds are coming in slower than usual, it remains steady as people seek the entertainment, exhibits and most importantly, the food.

"I could hardly sleep, I got here at seven o'clock this morning. I've already done two events, I put on 3,400 steps. I am tracking my way so I can eat the rest of the afternoon. It is a strategy that we all should be taking," Reynolds recommended. "You can eat healthy, you can eat bad, as long as you're walking and taking in the exhibits and taking on everything that this fair has to offer."

Organizers and other speakers focused on moving forward from the challenges presented in 2021 and on the new attractions the 2021 fair has to offer.

John Pemble
Iowa Gov. Kim Reynolds speaks during the opening ceremony for the 2021 Iowa State Fair.

Gary Slater, the Iowa State Fair CEO, said more perseverance went into planning for this year.

“I can tell you it was a hard 14 months, but we weren't sure we would be here today. But we are resilient. We are resourceful. And I can confidently say that we are back," Slater said.

The fair is expected to have around one million visitors during its 11-day run. Most people did not wear masks the first day.

This year’s fair has more hand sanitizing stations than in the past and signs that recommend masks while indoors.

Kassidy was a reporter based in Des Moines