I'm a little dissapointed that we arent thinking outside the box....
Back in the day...we used to get up about 4 in the morning and drive down and park along the Dean ave fence. Then we'd take a couple of empty 5 gallon buckets and walk into the grounds ...if anyone stopped and asked we were going to do morning chores in the barns. We'd wander around for hours and then would get a hand stamp..go back out to the truck and eat the lunch we packed in a cooler and went back in....
Yeah..wasn't always a completely free day...but it sure was fun!
I went to the fair last year and only spent $40 for two people for the entire day. $20 to get in, and maybe $20 for dinner and supper throughout the day that we were there.
The Iowa State Booth in the Varied Industries Bldg.
The 4-H Exhibits Building (others mentioned earlier) is all ISU. There are 4-H things for sale, but the displays are the best part -- or the shows at noon and 5 on that indoor stage. SW corner of the fairgrounds -- behind that monstrosity of an exhibit hall that's partially constructed.