The 2021 Mississippi Valley Fair kicks off next week on Tuesday and everyone is excited for the fair to return this year after being canceled in 2021. Fun Cards are still on sale and a daily admission is an option, but did you know that you can actually get into the Mississippi Valley Fair for free? The only thing is you can't stay too terribly long.

Tuesday, August 3, is the start of this year's Mississippi Valley Fair. The fair goes until Sunday, August 8, at the Mississippi Valley Fairgrounds. For 6 days, you'll be hearing live music from local artists and national acts, smelling that delicious fair food, seeing the lights of the carnival, watching livestock walk around, and so much more.

To get into the grandstands to see Jason Aldean, LOCASH, Shinedown, Old Dominion, Pitbull, and Craig Morgan, you'll need a Fun Card which costs $90. If you don't want to pay for a Fun Card and just go into the fair, admission is just $10, kids that are between 4 and 12 years old are $5, and kids 3 and under are free.

But did you know that you can get into the Mississippi Fair for free?! I would call it a hack because I feel like a lot of people don't know about this.

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On Monday, Mississippi Valley Fair officials reminded everyone about the daily fair admissions and how to get into the grandstands. But the comments showed me a way you can get in and not pay a dime.

Someone in the comments asked a question that really piqued my interest. They asked,

"Still allowing folks to come in to get food and get a refund as long as they leave within 30 minutes?"

The commenter thought 30 minutes was the allotted time, but when fair officials commented back, I had to share it with you.

Mississippi Valley Fair officials said that to get into the fair and not pay an admission price, you need to follow these instructions:

  • Pay the $10 admission fee
  • Request your $10 back
  • Return within the hour they will refund it.

That's so awesome! This allows you to go in and get fair food for lunch, take a walk around the fairgrounds for some exercise and check things out, maybe grab a cold beverage, whatever you want to do.

If you don't return within the hour, you won't get your $10 back. But hey, it's only $10 and you mine as well come see us and get some free swag!

Iowa's Island City

There is something unique about every town, but there is really something special about Sabula, IA. Known as "Iowa's Island City," Sabula is the only town in the state of Iowa that is entirely on an island. While not a lot of people have been to, or live in Sabula, it is a quaint little town nestled right on the Mississippi River.

Before we show you around "Iowa's Island City," let me give you the history of Sabula. Sabula was established in 1835, according History of Jackson County, Iowa, Volume 1 by James Whitcomb Ellis. Isaac Dorman and a man named Hinkley crossed the river from the Illinois side on a log and decided to settle on what is now Sabula. An Ohio couple, James and Margaret Woods would settle on Sabula about a year later in April of 1836. Their son, Dr. E. A. Woods would purchase Hinkley's interest in the claim. Charles Swan and W. H. Brown would soon purchase Dorman's interest. The three men, Woods, Swan and Brown later had the land plotted in 1837.

The idea behind plotting the land was because there was no town between Lyons (north Clinton) and Bellevue. The plot of the new town was recorded in Dubuque as this area was part of Dubuque county at the time, according History of Jackson County, Iowa, Volume 1 by James Whitcomb Ellis.

According to Island City Harbor's website, Sabula went through a few names before landing on the official town name. In 1837, Sabula was first called Carrollport. Residents of the town didn't like the name because there was a man's name who was Carroll who had a bad reputation. The town changed its name to Charleston, after early settler Charles Swan. The only issue was that there was already a town called Charleston in Iowa which caused much confusion.

In 1846 the settler’s decided to find a name. Island City Harbor's website says that because of it’s sandy soil, William Hubble suggested the town be called "Sabulum" which is Latin for sand. A party was being held around the time the town name was being discussed, when a woman, supposed to be Miss Harriet Hudson, suggested the town be called Sabula as it was easier to pronounce and sounded more elegant, according History of Jackson County, Iowa, Volume 1 by James Whitcomb Ellis.

Sabula did not actually become an island until 1939. According to Wikipedia, in the 1930's, the Army Corps of Engineers constructed the lock and dam system. In 1939, Lock and Dam No. 13 between Clinton, IA and Fulton, IL was built which caused the bottomlands west of the town permanently flooded. With the Mississippi River east of the town, this created the "Island City." A levee was built around Sabula in 1957 for protection, according to Island City Harbor's website. This also allowed for the south sand pit to be turned into a boat harbor.

I would like to thank my mom Beth, her fiancé Matt, my brother Nolan and my wife Ellie for accompanying me to Sabula. We always have a blast on our trips and this one was no exception.

It's now time to introduce you to Sabula, Iowa, Iowa's Island City.

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