The Texas, Iowa and North Dakota State Fairs

Fun and Safe Family Vacations to be had at State Fairs
The Texas, Iowa and North Dakota State Fairs

We highlight the Texas, Iowa and North Dakota State Fairs below but before we indulge you, first a bit about how to keep your family vacations safe and fun at a State Fair.

A safe and ultimately fun family vacation begins through planning. Plan Ahead. When visiting a State Fair, be cognizant of the safety risks. Plan for them and you’ll end up having a better time.

Some suggestions to preserve the safety of your family vacation at a State Fair or other large venue

Have all family members wear like clothing so you are all easily identifiable in large crowds. State Fairs attract millions of people. Once you enter a State Fair grounds or other venue, designate a landmark as a meeting place in case family members become separated. If you’ve got younger kids, meet them every hour. Everyone carries cell phones these days. Make sure that if you’re family or group plans to head in different directions that at least one member of each party carries a cell phone. Before you split up, make sure you all get service. All cell phones mark the same time which makes making planned get-togethers easy. Although security guards and first aid rooms are present at State Fairs, do not ever let young children out of your sight. Some families even go so far as to embed tracking devices in pants, belts or shoes.

Fun Facts about the Texas, Iowa and North Dakota State Fairs:

  • The State Fair of Texas has 370,000 sq. ft. of exhibitor space spread over 6 buildings. The first State Fair of Texas was held in Dallas in 1886. Grover Cleveland was President of the United States;
  • The first Iowa State Fair was held in Fairfield in 1854 and cost $323 to run. Franklin Pierce was President;
  • The North Dakota State Fair was first held in Minot in 1922. Warren Harding was President.

Bigger, better and More Butter: The Best State Fairs Guide Provides Travel Ideas Your Kids will Love.

No matter what you’re looking for in a state fair, you’ll find it in these three states. Anthony Pierpont of St. Paul, Minnesota talks about his visit to Texas and the country’s largest fair. Cissy Petty of New Orleans, Louisiana describes one of the best state fairs to visit when you travel with kids, featuring a cow handcrafted of solid butter in Iowa. And Joe Mackie of Fargo talks about North Dakota, the fair that takes its cue from a nostalgic look at days gone by.

The State Fair of Texas: As Bad As They Want to Be by Anthony Pierpont.

The State Fair of Texas is aptly representative of Texans themselves. It prides itself on being unlike any other state fair. So, from new cars to the best state fair ride, here’s what The State Fair of Texas has to offer that we think is worthwhile:

  • Started in 1886, the State Fair of Texas is held at Fair Park in Dallas, where it’s been located since the fair’s first year. 3 million fairgoers will visit in just over three weeks’ time making it one of the largest attended state fairs in the country;
  • In 2007, Bryan Berg, the Guinness World Record-holder for stacking cards, returns to the fair to go for the world’s record for the tallest building ever constructed of cards;
  • Traveling with kids? They’ll love how they can easily spot the best state fair ride almost anywhere in the city- Texas has the biggest Ferris wheel in North America;
  • The State Fair of Texas Auto Show showcases the newest cars- exclusively- with over 300,000 square feet of new vehicles on display;
  • The State Fair of Texas is held in Dallas over 24 days and runs from the end of September through the third week of October.

Cissy Petty’s Best Trips for Families: It’s Like Butter at the Iowa State Fair.

“The fair gives me the chance to learn more about the rural areas of Iowa, to learn about agriculture and farming techniques. However, Iowa’s rich farming history of the early 1900’s is of prime interest. It’s interesting to understand why Swedes, Norwegians, Danes and Dutch went into farming there while Italians and Croats opted for coal mining” says Petty. The Iowa State Fair is high on the list of best trips for families during summer vacation and for good reason:

  • The Iowa State Fair features an exclusive celebrity appearance: the Butter Cow. The Butter Cow, a wire frame sculpture covered with 600 lbs of butter, has been a fixture at every Iowa State Fair for almost 100 years;
  • Steeped in history, the fair boasts a museum complex that houses the rich history of the fair, with nostalgic mementoes including old blue ribbons, trophies, postcards and historic records;
  • Well known for its talent search, the fair started letting kids perform onstage in 1957- long before American Idol made its debut;
  • You can camp at the Iowa State Fair making it one of the best pit stops when you travel with family and kids;
  • The Iowa State Fair in Des Moines begins the second week of August and continues for 10 days. Well over 1 million people attend each year.

Best Trips for Families: The Rootin’ Tootin’ North Dakota State Fair by Joe Mackie.

“The North Dakota State Fair offers a taste of the Wild, Wild West,” says Joe. The best trips for families include regional customs and traditions that let you learn a little more about the state. This fun-filled fair features events and competitions geared towards the cowboys and cowgirls who attend the fair each year:

  • The famed pony pull and draft horse pull are feats of strength that draw huge crowds;
  • The North Dakota State Fair Miss Rodeo must demonstrate pageant-quality skills and horsemanship, too;
  • A clown contest, a variety of kid’s rides and games, dodge ball and the Kids Showdeo (mini-rodeo) are almost eclipsed by another wildly popular annual event: arm wrestling;
  • Best of all, the fair has a special day where you can help celebrate Pride in North Dakota: Goods made in North Dakota are available for sale at the fair so that consumers are educated about the many great products produced locally and statewide;
  • The North Dakota State Fair in Minot begins the third week of July. About 250,000 people attend each year.

We thank our contributors:

  • Anthony Pierpont St. Paul, Minnesota
  • Cissy Petty, New Orleans, Louisiana
  • Joe Mackie Fargo, North Dakota

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