Iowa PBS presents Celebrating the Fair

The midway at the Iowa State Fairgrounds may be quiet and there may not be any shrieks coming from the Big Slide, but Iowa PBS’s annual Iowa State Fair highlights continue this year with Celebrating the Fair, a special series of programs featuring fair fun from the network’s 49 years of coverage. Programs will air Monday, August 10 through Friday, August 14 at 9 p.m. and repeat at 10 p.m. All five episodes will also air back-to-back on Sunday, August 16 beginning at 2 p.m. The first broadcast of each episode will be livestreamed on, Facebook and YouTube. Host Bill Riley will join viewers on Facebook, responding to comments and questions in the livestream chats.

Each episode of Celebrating the Fair will include a variety of highlights from previous years — from a chuckwagon race in 1978 and a combine demolition derby in 1984, to bungee jumping in 1992 and the butter cow’s 100th anniversary in 2011. To add some modern-day fun to the programs, Iowa PBS has asked Iowans to submit photos and videos of themselves participating in a variety of Fair-related contests such as joke telling, ugly cake decorating and, of course, butter sculpting. Some of these submissions will be featured each night during the Fair Fun at Home segment, and more will be shared online at, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

Below is a list of topics scheduled for each episode of Celebrating the Fair. Please note, topics are subject to change. Visit for the latest updates.

Monday, August 10 1983 Put on a Happy Face 2016 The Gantry Show New Fair Foods compilation 2015 Mutton Bustin’ Fast-Forward Flashback: Fashions 1978 Chuckwagon Races Fair Fun at Home 1983 Live Butter Cow Interview With Norma “Duffy” Lyon 2014 Bandaloni 2017 Tall Corn Contest 1978 Morgan Mini Mules 2013 Young Farmers’ Challenge 2014 Spider Scaring History Comparison: 1982 Bathtub Race vs. 2015 Outhouse Race

Tuesday, August 11  1985 Livestock Grooming 2013 Beard Growing Contest 2016 Camping Traditions 2017 Cookout Contest 1994 Big Animals Fast-Forward Flashback: Midway 2001 Tractor Promenade Fair Fun at Home 2019 Decorated Cakes Calling All Poultry Calling All Husbands 2002 Household Cat Show 2015 Speed Chess 2012 Sheep Shearing History Comparison: Rolling Pin and Rubber Chicken Throwing

Wednesday, August 12  1971 Square Dancing 2018 Cowboy Mounted Shooting 2003 Yodeling Contest 2007 Buttons the Clown 1984 Pig Racing Fast-Forward Flashback: Quirky Races State Fair Singers 2013 Ferris Wheel Fun Fair Fun at Home 1985 Iowa Boy Best Cinnamon Roll 2016 Egg Rolling Contest 2015 Ye Old Mill 2015 Pedal, Power and Pull 1984 Combine Demo Derby 1987 Ladies Nail Driving History Comparison: 1978 Blacksmith  — 1978 vs. 2016

Thursday, August 13  1972 Competition Montage 2012 Kid Joke Telling 2016 Manual Timber Sports Iowa State Fair Queens 2014 Miniature Horses Fast-Forward Flashback: Politics 1992 Bungee Jumping Fair Fun at Home 2017 Most Unusual Vegetables 2013 Stock Dog Trials 2011 Pie Eating Contest 2013 Discovery Gardens 1996 Cow Chip Throw History Comparison: Food Competitions

Friday, August 14 1978 Chet Randolph’s Reflection 2016 Chicken Washing and Blow Drying 2012 Giant Pumpkin Contest Chainsaw Carving Compilation 2015 Little Hands on the Farm Fast-Forward Flashback: Grand Champion Slaps 1990 Great Truck Jump Fair Fun at Home 2013 Horseshoe Pitching 1999 Spelling Bee 2016 Henna Tattoo Artist 2011 The Butter Cow’s 100th Anniversary 2012 Food Judging History Comparison: Monster Arm Wrestling — 1978 vs. 2019 1974 IPBN Behind the Scenes 

For viewers who can’t get enough of the Iowa State Fair, an archive of Iowa PBS’s coverage from recent years is available to stream on demand on, YouTube and the PBS Video App. After each night’s premiere, Celebrating the Fair episodes will also be available on demand.