The Strolling Piano Charms Crowds at Iowa State Fair

by Madonna

Amidst the vibrant tapestry of the Iowa State Fair, a captivating sight beckons fairgoers to pause in their tracks—the Strolling Piano, a whimsical fusion of musical artistry and mobile ingenuity.

Winding its way through the fairgrounds, the Strolling Piano stands as an unexpected delight for attendees who find themselves captivated by its charm. A piano on wheels, an embodiment of creative spontaneity, effortlessly captures attention and elicits awe.


While it may not be the first item on the Iowa State Fair itinerary, the Strolling Piano holds a unique allure. Its mobile presence, evoking the joy of both visual and auditory stimuli, ignites curiosity among passersby.


Jim Ripp, the piano player behind this beguiling creation, orchestrates daily performances from 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. With remarkable versatility, Ripp orchestrates melodies ranging from Elton John to Taylor Swift, traversing genres to cater to an eclectic audience.


The Strolling Piano thrives on interaction, with Ripp actively engaging the crowd. Spectators gather in a harmonious circle, drawn to the enchanting blend of music and camaraderie. Singing, dancing, and collective enjoyment become the heartbeat of the experience.

One enthusiast of the Strolling Piano expressed, “The connection with the guy, even though I’ve never met him, is something special. His ability to take my requests and instantly bring the music to life is truly remarkable.”

Each musical set, spanning 45 minutes, weaves a mesmerizing tapestry that attracts both onlookers and participants. Amidst the entrancing melodies, photographs and videos are captured, preserving moments of delight.

The enigma enveloping the Strolling Piano’s operation only deepens the fascination. A well-guarded secret, the mechanics behind its mobile melody remain shrouded in mystery. Ripp teasingly shares, “The secret sauce in this whole strolling piano thing…it’s a thinking process at a level much higher than a normal show.”

Theories abound regarding its operation—foot pedals, concealed cameras, and behind-the-scenes manipulations. Yet, the allure of its unexplained mechanism remains intact, perpetuating an aura of wonder.

For now, the enigmatic Strolling Piano continues to cast its enchantment upon the Iowa State Fair. As attendees continue to partake in this captivating experience, Ripp and his melodic wheels leave an indelible impression, a testimony to the power of artistic ingenuity. Catch this ethereal creation in action until the culmination of the Iowa State Fair.


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