Trump and DeSantis Take Center Stage at the 2023 Iowa State Fair: A Political Showdown

The Iowa State Fair is always an exciting event, but this year it has become even more newsworthy with the presence of former President Donald Trump and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis. The fair, which took place on August 14, 2023, saw a flurry of activity and political maneuvering as the two Republican figures vied for attention and support.

The day started early, with events and appearances scheduled throughout the morning. At 6:00 a.m. EDT, the fairgrounds were already bustling with activity. Supporters and attendees eagerly awaited the arrival of the political heavyweights, hoping for a chance to catch a glimpse or even interact with them.

One of the most memorable moments of the day came when a plane flew over the fairgrounds, carrying a banner that read “Be Likable, Ron!” This playful jab at Governor DeSantis caught the attention of both the crowd and the media. Dylan Wells, a campaign reporter for The Washington Post, tweeted about the incident, ensuring that the message reached a wide audience.[0]

Former President Trump arrived at the fair to great fanfare.[1] Supporters lined the pathways, chanting “USA” as he made his way through the crowd. Trump made sure to visit the famous “pork chop on a stick” stand, delighting onlookers and adding to the festive atmosphere of the fair.

Meanwhile, Governor DeSantis also made his presence known. As he arrived at the fair, he was met with a mix of support and opposition. Some attendees held up signs in support of DeSantis, while others booed and displayed signs endorsing Trump.[2] The rivalry between the two Republican figures was palpable, adding an extra layer of excitement to the fair.

The Iowa State Fair has long been a crucial event for presidential candidates, given its status as the first-in-the-nation caucus state. This year was no exception, with the fair serving as a platform for candidates to rally voters and gain support. The fair’s significance in the political landscape was highlighted by the presence of Democratic challengers to President Joe Biden, who also took the stage to make their case to voters.

Republican candidates flocked to the fair, hoping to make a strong impression on voters.[3] The Iowa caucuses are seen as a crucial opportunity for Trump’s rivals to challenge his lead in the polls and gain momentum in the race for the nomination.[4] With the fair drawing significant media attention, candidates had the chance to showcase their policies and connect with voters on a personal level.

Governor Kim Reynolds played a key role in facilitating these interactions between candidates and voters. As part of the fair’s “Fair-Side Chats,” Reynolds provided a laidback platform for Republicans to discuss a range of topics, from energy policy to lighter campaign moments.[5] This format, reminiscent of Franklin Roosevelt’s famous radio addresses, allowed candidates to engage with voters in a more intimate setting.

The Iowa State Fair is not only a political spectacle but also a beloved tradition for Iowans. Attendees enjoyed the various attractions and activities that the fair had to offer, from corn dogs to cattle shows. The fairgrounds were filled with the sounds of laughter and excitement as people of all ages indulged in the festivities.

Overall, the 2023 Iowa State Fair was a memorable event, with both political and entertainment value. The presence of former President Trump and Governor DeSantis added an extra layer of excitement and competition. As the first-in-the-nation caucus state, Iowa continues to play a crucial role in the political landscape, and the fair serves as a platform for candidates to connect with voters and make their case for the presidency.

0. “Ron DeSantis Mocked by Banner Flying Over Him During Speech” Newsweek, 12 Aug. 2023,

1. “Trump dominates Iowa State Fair while flouting traditions and awaiting another possible indictment” Yahoo News, 14 Aug. 2023,

2. “Trump’s Iowa State Fair free-for-all packs in crowd, trolls Ron DeSantis” Des Moines Register, 13 Aug. 2023,

3. “Iowa serves as first chance for GOP candidates to stop Trump in 2024 race” MSNBC, 13 Aug. 2023,

4. “The political atmosphere of this year’s state fair in Iowa” NPR, 11 Aug. 2023,

5. “At Iowa’s state fair, presidential hopefuls make a bid for the US heartland” Al Jazeera English, 11 Aug. 2023,

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