The prize for the most popular city in the country today would have to go to Des Moines, Iowa. The city was just named the best place for business and careers by Forbes Magazine, but that’s only half the story – the city is also being inundated by millions of visitors from around the world this week, excited to attend the top-rated Iowa State Fair.
The oldest and largest state fair in the nation, the Iowa State Fair attracts people from all over the world. They come to see the famous Butter Cow, walk the Midway, compete for an illustrious Blue Ribbon, ride the rides, and eat all things fried and on a stick. The fair began in 1854 and is considered one of the top events in the country. The fairgrounds are even listed on the National Register of Historic Places, since most of the buildings were built before World War I. The fair opens today and will stay open for 11 days, ending on August 18.
This year, the fair will feature chainsaw artists, a one-man band, a Lego sculpture, balloon art, a lumberjack show, over 45 competitions, livestock, rides, and live music provided by Cary Rae Jepsen, Train, Toby Keith, Alan Jackson, and others.
And while the fair provides the fun, the businesses in Des Moines apparently provide the work. Des Moines is a powerhouse in the world of finance and insurance. It is also the headquarters for other major corporations ranging from publishing to manufacturing. An impressive 92 percent of the Des Moines population holds a high school diploma and 36 percent has a college degree.
If politics is your thing, then Des Moines is the best place to meet the candidates. Des Moines is home to the Iowa caucuses, a major nominating event for President. The candidates often have headquarters in Des Moines and many political events are held in the city. Des Moines is also the state capitol, so if local politics is more your style, be sure to check out the Iowa State Capitol building – its 23-karat gold-leafed dome is a favorite local landmark.
The best place for business, an iconic state fair, a national political hub – there’s no doubt that Des Moines is a Midwestern star. With its low cost of doing business, the low cost of living, and the availability of higher education – this is the home of Drake University, after all – it’s no wonder Des Moines consistently ranks high on “best” lists. Add in the location along the Des Moines River, amazing Victorian architecture, and a friendly, small-town vibe despite its urban size, and it’s easy to see why Des Moines is a place that attracts attention – and a steady influx of new residents.