Welcome to The World’s Greatest County Fair

The Clay County Fair is “The World’s Greatest County Fair” by presenting blue-ribbon competition, world-class entertainment and innovative exhibits in a safe family atmosphere, while also providing year-round facilities for entertainment and events. 

Sunny skies, smiling faces, and the largest final weekend in Fair history all combined to make a memorable 2015 edition of the Clay County Fair.

Total attendance topped 330,000 for only the second time in Fair history, while two single-day attendance records were set the final weekend (65,468 on Saturday, Sept. 19 and 30,931 on Sunday, Sept. 20).

GoldStar Amusements on the Midway also set records, establishing a Fair record for gross sales for the fifth consecutive year, as well as setting an all-time single-day record on Sept. 19.

“Our goals each year are very simple – provide fairgoers with too much to do, give them unique experiences that can’t be found every day in northwest Iowa, and do it all in a safe, family atmosphere,” said CCF Manager Jeremy Parsons. “When you accomplish those goals and add in beautiful, almost perfect weather, you have a great fair.”

Weather was completely dry throughout the Fair except for rain showers on Friday, Sept. 18, which forced the cancellation of the Arnold Motor Supply Shootout (Word of Outlaws).

Despite the cancellation of the World of Outlaws, 25,295 fairgoers attended events in the U.S. Cellular Grandstand, including a sell-out crowd for Little Big Town on Sept. 20 (the first Grandstand sell-out since Alan Jackson in 2011).

“American Gothic GROWS,” a 10-foot tall replica of the famous Grant Wood artwork that was painted by fairgoers, highlighted the 25th anniversary celebration of the Art Barn at the Fair. Other first-time unique experiences for fairgoers to “take in” included FarmHer, “Iowa Remembering Our Fallen,” and a standing-room-only performance by world renowned opera singer Simon Estes. Fairgoers were also introduced to Cowboy Mounted Shooting in the DIRECTV Outdoor Arena.

Utilizing the Fair as “Northwest Iowa’s Largest Classroom,” a record 1,250 third and fourth graders participated in ISU Extension Clay County’s Ag-Citing and Sci-Citing school field trip program throughout the week. Education about Iowa’s number one industry – agriculture – was center stage at Grandpa’s Barn, where fairgoers were educated through animals, crop plots and the new AgCab tractor and combine simulators.

The addition of a brand-new competition, the farm gadget show, allowed fairgoers to “take in” even more competitive exhibits at the 2015 Fair. Thousands of exhibitors vied for blue ribbons, trophies, and more than $95,000 in premium money. Open-class livestock numbers increased over 2014, highlighted by the introduction of Rambouillet sheep and the North American Classic Series Single-Cart class in the draft horse competition. Other new competitions included fairy gardens, cell phone photography, and 13 new creative culinary classes.

A new mark was also set in 4-H and FFA competitions with exhibitors from 46 counties in three states exhibiting as the Fair welcomed its first 4-H exhibitors from Nebraska. (Those numbers were up from last year’s record of 42 counties in two states).

Fairgoers “took in” several new foods at the 2015 Fair, enjoying glazed donut breakfast sandwiches, baconade, roasted corn and sweet potatoes, deep fried cinnamon rolls, and much more. The food and beverage vendors were just a portion of the more than 500 commercial exhibitors who had displays at the Fair, showcasing the “latest and greatest” products for home and farm. Winners of the commercial exhibits awards for best displays went to Sleepy Hollow Resort (best indoor exhibit), Dave’s Repair (best outdoor exhibit) and Town House Tenderloins (best food/beverage concession).

Packed tents, bleachers and benches were the norm as fairgoers “took in” $140,000 in free entertainment, including Zuzu African Acrobats, Banana Derby, Allen’s Original Redwood Log House, Steve Trash, and Hillbilly Bob. The Farmers Bank Stage, Northwest Bank Stage, Dish Plaza, FCS Terrace, and KICD Courtyard offered a wide variety of entertainment with different shows starting each half hour daily.

To continue the Fair’s focus on customer service and a better experience for fairgoers, the HERO program returned in 2015. The HERO program honors employees who are helpful, enthusiastic, represent the Fair professionally and deliver outstanding service. Thirteen daily winners were selected with an overall “superhero” selected on Sept. 20. Irv Stevenson from the campgrounds was selected as the recipient.

More detailed information on the 2015 Clay County Fair will be made available at the Clay County Fair Association’s annual meeting on October 27. Lifetime memberships to the Fair Association are available for $100. Call (712) 262-4740 for more information.

The 2016 Clay County Fair will be held September 10-18 in Spencer, Iowa.