The thing I love most about living in eastern Iowa are all the county fairs and our small town festivals. So much work and dedication make these happen year and after year by people who live here, and their pride shows. I also love summer, family, tractor pulls, country music, camping, and fair food. I adore all things agriculture and always want to show up to support 4H clubs and Future Farmers of America. It’s all my jam!
So here is my list of favorite farm shows, fairs, and festivals! Many of the event schedules are still being updated, so check back often. I’ve highlighted each event’s annual traditions or just-announced 2018 line-ups so you can pick your favorites and fill your calendars. If you’re not a fan of crowds or sweating, I hear ya, so there’s some smaller gems in this list that will be more your style. There’s so much more out there than ferris wheels and corn dogs, mamas!
Summer Farm Toy Show – A great family fun day enjoying toy tractors and learning agricultural technology throughout history!
National Farm Toy Museum
1110 16th Ave Ct. SE
Iowa Renaissance Festival & Gathering o’ Celts – Famous for horseback jousting!? I’m there.
Middle Amana Park
27th Avenue & H Street Amana, IA
Farmington Strawberry Festival – FREE strawberries and ice cream served Sat & Sun from 2-4pm!
101 Olive St.
WMT Eastern Iowa Tractorcade – One of the greatest farm traditions in Iowa. Make sure to check out the map and schedule so you can see them roll on by!
715 D Ave.
Kalona Days – Go down to the “Quilt capital of Iowa” and enjoy some hometown festivities in one of Iowa’s largest Amish settlements.
514 B Ave
Wurst Festival – Sausage makers unite! Plus, the 2nd Annual Dachshund Derby! Bratwurst, beer, and racing wiener dogs… “Is this Heaven?”…”No, it’s Iowa!”
622 46th Ave.
June 19 – July 4
Cedar Rapids Freedom Festival – ‘Merica! Featuring the Army Band Sidewinders concert, and it is pet-friendly with a PAWtriotic Parade. Visit the schedule; it is HUGE!
609 1st Ave. SW
Cedar Rapids, Iowa
June 27 – July 2
Linn County Fair – Rodeo, car show, and country music, baby! All the makings of the good ol’ county fair.
201 Central City Road
Central City, IA 52214
Coralville 4th Fest – Family fun right in the middle of town! Basket auction, food, fireworks and one of the best Independence Day parades around.
S.T. Morrison Park
7th & 8th St & 14th Ave
Salute to Freedom in Williamsburg – Small town 4th of July fun! Featuring a pancake breakfast, bouncy houses, pony rides, parade, and fireworks at dusk.
Williamsburg Town Square
210 W State St.
Mississippi Valley Blues Festival – All the best blues music, and it’s literally right by the river!
400 Beiderbecke Drive
The Iowa County Fair – Just announced that Cody Hicks will be the featured concert!
800 East Marion Street
Marengo, Iowa 52301
Cedar County Fair – Racing! Features a kiddie go-kart race, stock and sprint car races, truck and tractor pull, and a Bill Riley talent show!
1195 220th Street
Tipton, IA 52772
July 12 – 14
Walcott Truckers Jamboree – Free admission and free parking! And it only gets more awesome featuring the Trucker Olympics, Iowa Pork Chop Cookout, semi shows and fireworks. *The Nitty Gritty Dirt Band Concert: July 13th 7 p.m.*
Iowa 80 Truckstop
I-80 Exit 284
755 W Iowa 80 Road
Washington County Fair – Like many of the other local county fairs, it is filled with 4H and FFA project and animal shows throughout the week. The weekend will have the BBQ cook off, kids demo derby, and the main demolition derby at the grandstand with fireworks after!
611 Highway 1 South
Washington, IA 52353
Mount Vernon Heritage Days Festival – Old fashioned carnival games, bingo, bags tournament, and parade! Antique shopping and local vendors are also in full force this weekend.
Uptown Mount Vernon
1st St. and Iowa Hwy. 1
Mount Vernon, Iowa
North Liberty Blues & BBQ – The name basically says it all. It’s a FREE event and a great gathering of awesome food, music, and neighbors. “The Pit” for kids features the giant corn box, petting zoo, and “minute to win it” type games!
1565 St. Andrews Dr.
North Liberty, Iowa
Van Buren County Fair – The weekend features a truck and tractor pull, and Sunday is Kid’s Day, with a baby contest, pedal pull and rodeo.
Van Buren County Fairgrounds
Hwy. 1 N
Muscatine County Fair – The grandstand has a nice line-up of featured events throughout the fair, including pro wrestling, FMX dirt bikes, tractor pull, concert, demo derby and trailer races! If you’ve never witnessed a trailer race… it’s time.
101 North Clay Street
West Liberty, IA
The Great Jones County Fair and Food Fest – Definitely a “level up” from typical county fairs. Some even refer to it as a mini Iowa State Fair and it’s right here in eastern Iowa. The have a huge schedule and an amazing concert line up. Ready? Jason Aldean, Luke Combs, Luke Bryan, Kid Rock, Ted Nugent, and Casting Crowns on Sunday.
700 North Maple
Monticello, IA 52310
Solon Beef Days – Famous for the Friday Night Hay Bale Toss, beer tent, and Beef Days Parade Saturday morning at 10 a.m.! If you’re a Solon alumni like me or dedicated Beef Days supporter, it also doubles as your class and family reunion. Pssst newbies… get a PORK BURGER at Beef Days. You’ll thank me later.
Downtown Solon Midway
Kalona Bluegrass Festival – Bluegrass and gospel music all weekend. Bring your own lawn chairs and you can camp right there! Food and local activities. *Note: No alcoholic beverages in event area.
Windmill Ridge Campground
2114 140th St.
July 22 – 25
Johnson County Fair – By far my favorite animal buildings to walk through! Show your support to our local organizations by visiting their booths and tents at the fair. Chili Cookoff, Hog Calling Contest, Truck and Tractor Pull, BMX Stunt Show, Bill Riley Talent Show, Butterfly release, and fireworks!
Johnson County Fairgrounds
4261 Oak Crest Hill Rd SE
Iowa City, Iowa
Swisher Fun Days – Three words: Human Foosball Tournament! Street dance, live music, and something for everyone!
Tiffun CREEK Fest – This year’s concert is Jake McVey! It’s a one-stop shop for craft shopping, kid’s bouncy houses, 5k and more announcing soon!
Tiffin Soccer Fields
July 31 – August 5
The Great Mississippi Valley Fair – Two words: Chris Young. (swoon) Dog show, arm wrestling contest, carnival rides, and awesome fair food!
Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds
2815 W Locust St.
The Iowa State Fair – “Nothing Compares to the Iowa State Fair!”
Iowa State Fairgrounds
Located at East 30th Street and East University Avenue
Des Moines, Iowa
Lisbon Sauerkraut Days – Bratwurst, sauerkraut, carnival rides, street dances and… BATHTUB RACES!
August 30 – September 3
Midwest Old Threshers Reunion – The best way to end the summer is at Old Threshers. It’s hot, steamy, and each day at noon, all eyes are on the Cavalcade of Power: a historical timeline parade. Shopping and museums galore, plus some good home cooking. I’ve had a turkey leg or two!
Old Threshers Grounds and McMillan Park
405 E Threshers Rd.
Mount Pleasant, Iowa
Boondock Festival – Music, food, and beer. An adult-only event would be a great date night to end your busy family summer! This year’s feature artists are Lee Brice and Tyler Farr! *10% Military Discount
Tiffin Soccer Fields
I can smell the fun and fair food already. Have fun y’all!