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 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 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 - WATCH NOW
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 - WATCH NOW
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 - WATCH NOW
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: Blacksmith  — 1978 vs. 2016

Thursday, August 13 - WATCH NOW
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 - WATCH NOW
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 iowapbs.orgYouTube and the PBS Video App. After each night’s premiere, Celebrating the Fair episodes will also be available on demand.

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