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Best bets of the week: Aug. 13-19

Iowa State Fair

Thursday through Aug. 23: In case you were unaware, Iowa has a state fair. A big one. Its 11-day run starts Thursday at the Iowa State Fairgrounds, E. 30th Street and University Avenue with music, animal displays, foods on sticks, demonstrations, contests, the Iowa Craft Beer Tent, East-side Night and more. $11. Go to

Des Moines Restaurant Week

Friday-Aug. 23: Want to try some new restaurants without too much financial commitment? Des Moines Restaurant Week has you covered. 38 restaurants, including Cafe di Scala, Eatery A, Louie’s Wine Dive, Proof and others will offer special menus with two lunches for $25 or $25 multi-course dinner entrees. Go to for the full list and menus.

Big Hair Ball

Saturday: Art Noir hosts its biannual Big Hair Ball at 8 p.m. at the Des Moines Art Center, 4700 Grand Ave. Local salons are creating impressively-coiffed looks for models, which you can enjoy while taking in live music and looking at great art. $60. Go to

Def Leppard

Saturday: Def Leppard is the first of several classic rock acts to play the Iowa State Fair Grandstand, taking the stage at 7 p.m. The English hard rockers’ hits include “Pour Some Sugar on Me,” “Armageddon It” and “Animal.” Styx and Tesla open. $53. Go to

Reba McEntire

Sunday: The newly single Queen of Country, Reba McEntire, returns to the Iowa State Fair Grandstand at 8 p.m. Her hits include “How Blue,” “Consider Me Gone,” “For My Broken Heart” and many others. Caroline Kole opens. $45. Go to