The first Iowa State Fair held in Fairfield, Iowa Oct. 25-27, 1854. The fair moved between various cities before settling in Des Moines in 1879. Fairs were held in West Des Moines in an area known as Brown's Park until 1886, when the General Assembly bought 266 acres for the fairgrounds for $50,000. The fair has only been cancelled twice - in 1898 because of the World's Fair in Omaha and the Spanish-American War and in 1942 when the State Fair Board loaned its buildings to the Army Air Corp for a supply depot. The fairgorunds are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
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