Official State of Iowa Website Here is how you know
State Historical Society of Iowa

Step Into History on Opening Day of the Iowa State Fair

Jul 18, 2019

DES MOINES – Iowans are invited to take a step forward for their health by taking a step back into Iowa State Fair history at the 6th Annual Historical Walking Tour hosted by the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and the Healthiest State Initiative on Thursday, Aug. 8, on the fairgrounds.

Join Gov. Kim Reynolds, Lt. Gov. Adam Gregg and leaders from the host organizations at 9:15 a.m. in front of the Administration Building on the Grand Concourse. Following remarks, the 30-minute walking tour will make multiple stops at historic sites throughout the Iowa State Fairgrounds.

“I can’t think of a better way to see the Iowa State Fair than on foot,” said Jami Haberl, executive director of the Healthiest State Initiative. “This walking tour provides a fun and educational way for Iowans to get 30 minutes of physical activity on the fairgrounds.”

With the purchase of fair admission, the Historical Walking Tour will be free and open to the public. Experts from the State Historical Society of Iowa, a division of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, will lead the walking tour.

“Experiencing the history and culture of the Iowa State Fair on opening day is such a treat," said Chris Kramer, director of the Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs, "especially when you walk by the 20 historic buildings on the fairgrounds and hear stories from the last 130 years."

The Historical Walking Tour will end in time for the Opening Ceremonies which are scheduled for 10 a.m. in front of the Administration Building.

Want more history?

Visit the State Historical Society of Iowa's "Iowa History 101" mobile museum at the Iowa State Fair. You can visit it from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. every day of the fair near Gate 12, west of the DNR Building. You can also download the free Iowa Culture app to view all of the historical sites on the fairgrounds, plus see 3,500+ historic and cultural landmarks across the state on an interactive map.

Stick around for Fitness on the Hill

Participants are also encouraged to join the Healthiest State Initiative every morning of the Iowa State Fair, including on Opening Day, at Fitness on the Hill at Expo Hill from 9:30-10 a.m. The 30-minute workout classes are free and open to the public. Workouts range from yoga, Zumba, and family-friendly cardio with Hy-Vee KidsFit. Click here to view a full schedule.

Join the State Fair Step Challenge!

Keep taking steps for your health and touring the fairgrounds by participating in the State Fair Step Challenge, sponsored by the Healthiest State Initiative, Live Healthy Iowa, 4-H and the Iowa Department of Public Health. Each day of the Iowa State Fair, text “StateFairSteps” to 833-369-3542 with a photo or screenshot of your pedometer and the number of steps you took that day for a chance to win prizes.

The Iowa Department of Cultural Affairs and its three divisions – the Iowa Arts Council, Produce Iowa - State Office of Media Production and the State Historical Society of Iowa – empower Iowa to build and sustain culturally vibrant communities by connecting Iowans to the people, places and points of pride that define our state. The department’s work enables Iowa to be recognized as a state that fosters creativity and serves as a catalyst for innovation where the stories of Iowa are preserved and communicated to connect past, present and future generations. 

The Healthiest State Initiative is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization driven by the goal to make Iowa the healthiest state in the nation. By engaging worksites, communities, schools, retail food, organizations, institutions and individuals, we can inspire Iowans and their communities to improve their health and happiness, and ultimately achieve our goal. For more information, visit