3 Reasons We Love County Fairs


The unsung heroes of easy, affordable, and fun summer entertainment are local county fairs! While the Iowa State Fair might be the country’s most popular fair (see my satirical post on why you should NOT visit the Iowa State Fair here), I’m here to tell you why you need to add county fairs to your Summer Bucket List, too!

I grew up a 4-Her and avid county-fair-goer, so I was excited to venture out to the Warren County Fair last summer, and it did not disappoint. I was pleasantly surprised by how much bang we got for our buck, how easy it was to explore the fairgrounds, and how enjoyable our day was due to the variety of entertainment options during our visit. 

Add County Fairs to Your Summer Bucket List because…


Most county fairs offer free parking and admission, which is an incredible value in itself compared to state fairs! And because they are smaller-scale events, there are fewer crowds and more convenient parking options. As a SAHM of three, half the battle of getting out with little kids is finding activities that won’t break the bank before you even get in, and not being completely worn out by the time you make it into the venue from the parking lot!

Excellent Free Entertainment

I have been so impressed with the Warren County and Madison County Fairs in the past few years. They have a great variety of entertainment options for visitors during the middle of the day.

We were able to see a cattle and horse show, walk the barns of all livestock, watch a western-themed skit show, immerse ourselves in the Little Farm Hands tent, learn about how dairy cows work in an interactive presentation, watch a live otter show, get balloons made by a balloon artist, and more! And to top it off, we didn’t have to wait in endless lines to get our favorite fair foods and drinks!

Smaller Crowds

One of the biggest advantages of visiting a county fair, especially if you are interested in immersing yourself in the world of agriculture, is the ability to visit one-on-one with exhibitors and learn, on a more intimate level, from experts. Many exhibitors are out with their show animals, sharing information about the breed and offering for people to pet the animals. 

There are also many industry-specific presentations that are valuable for both kids and adults alike to better understand where our food comes from, and how the agriculture industry works on a deeper level. 

It’s also fascinating to take in a livestock show. You can learn a lot about different breeds of animals, what the judge looks for in each breed/type of livestock, and better understand the value of what 4-Her’s, FFA kids, and other exhibitors do to raise and work with their animals to get them “fair-ready”. 

A New Era for County Fairs

I’m seeing many county fairs evolve into a new era of entertainment by bringing in larger-scale artists/bands and a larger variety of entertainment options, which will draw in larger and more diversified crowds. This makes it possible for more families to experience summertime fun on a more local level, which is so great to see! As the cool kids say these days, “Don’t sleep on your local county fairs!” 

I am so excited to get out with my kiddos this summer to enjoy one of my favorite pastimes from my own childhood, and I hope you’ll consider joining me in supporting by adding one of our great local county fairs to your summer bucket list!

Central Iowa County Fair Info

Here are four central Iowa county fairs to check out!

Dallas County Fair

July 12-16, 2023

Location: Adel, Iowa

Highlights: Kids Day is Thursday, July 13; Ian Munsick concert, Friday, July 14

Jasper County Fair

July 14-20, 2023

Location: Colfax, Iowa

Highlights: Children’s Day, Monday, July 18; Impact Pro Wrestling Show, Saturday, July 16th

Madison County Fair

July 19-23, 2023

Location: Winterset, Iowa

Highlights: Day Care Day at the Fair, Thursday, July 20; Hy-Vee & Wyffels Hybrids Rodeo Night, Thursday, July 20

Warren County Fair

July 26-31, 2023

Location: Indianola, Iowa

Highlights: Figure 8 Races, Wednesday, July 26; Easton Corbin Concert, Thursday, July 27; Sawyer Brown Concert, Friday, July 28

MackenzieMackenzy is a SAHM to three and runs Homegrown with Grace, a lifestyle blog. She’s a local adventure enthusiast, outdoor lover, monthly shopper, and house renovation survivor. You can find her on IG and Facebook sharing about her motherhood journey, recent bargains and monthly shopping finds, and many adventures with her kiddos. Mackenzy also runs the Parks + Picnics program throughout the summer!


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